Friday, January 30, 2009

Reign of turkey terror continues in Massachusetts

Turkeys interfere with delivery of US Mail

ROCKPORT - Nearly every day over the last five months, an average of 10 turkeys — led by a pair of male "ring leaders" — have been chasing and attempting to peck a postal worker on his route along Marmion Way and South Street...

The local post office stopped delivering mail to several South Street homes after an incident Jan. 15 when a number of passers-by stopped to help the postal worker as he was being chased by the quick-trotting turkeys.

"Last week, people had to intervene so (the mail carrier) could get back to his truck," Russell said yesterday. "He was trying to wave a bag full of mail at the turkeys as he ran when some folks pulled over to shoo the turkeys away."

Turkeys have been similarly harassing innocent citizens in the Boston area since at least 2007, as reported by NPR and the Boston Globe.

(Threatening turkey from photo from Globe.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goat REALLY behaving badly

Goats start house fire

DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Firefighters say a cat is the hero and a goat is the goat in a house fire that destroyed an Iowa home this week.

The blaze in Warren County was believed to have been started by a goat that knocked over a space heater in an attached shed Tuesday and it might have proved deadly had the family cat not awakened the sleeping residents.

"My cat woke me up and I saw smoke coming out of my fan," John

Hadley told KCCI-TV, Des Moines. I made sure I got her (Hadley's mother) out and then I know she loves her animals, so I rounded all her animals up, and by that point, flames and smoke were everywhere."

Hadley and the other two people in the house had to wait in freezing cold for firefighters to arrive from several miles away. Officials told KCCI there wasn't much they could do by the time they were on scene.

Local coverage and news video here.

(Goat with evil eyes from photo by Flickr user Mofute)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Goat behaving badly?

Goat detained in armed robbery

LAGOS (Reuters) - Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.

Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

"We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat," he said.

Fuller coverage at the BBC.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hooligan cow harrasses polite citizens of Colorado

Woman yields right of way; bovine returns favor with violence.

BOULDER, Colo. — A cow charged a woman on the South Boulder Creek Trail on Monday afternoon, knocking her down, officials said.

The woman was riding her bike on the trail when she encountered the cow, and she stopped to let the animal pass, said Pete Taylor, a ranger for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks. The cow knocked the woman over and walked on her legs, he said...

She didn’t appear to do anything to provoke the animal, which witnesses said appeared to have an injured leg, he said. The cow had left the scene by the time rangers arrived, but hikers coming down the trail were warning others about the rogue bovine...

Jason Vogel, vice president of the Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance, called Monday's attack "odd, rare and random" and said he hasn’t heard of any other cows going after cyclists. It’s not even common to come across cows on the trails, he said, though they often can be seen nearby.

"It’s not something people should be concerned about," he said.

Huh. Easy for Mr Vogel to say. (Should we think twice about taking cow advice from someone whose name means 'bird'?)

(Ominous-looking gang of cows from Flickr user Mark Bridge.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Attack at Desert Museum; CSI-Piglike Mammal Team absolves resident swine of crime

Javelina prompts $400,000 lawsuit, first class plane flight.

TUCSON, Arizona - A Dutch tourist who was attacked by a javelina at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has taken the first step to filing a lawsuit against the Tucson facility and Pima County.

Rene Zegerius has filed a claim for $400,000 over the incident in June, when he was standing along a path inside the museum grounds when a javelina attacked him. The pig-like animal, a member of the peccary family, tore muscle and nerves and severed veins and arteries in his right calf and left hand.

Zegerius spent eight days in a hospital, and says he lost money on hotel and travel reservations. Medical expenses came to $70,000, and a last-minute ticket back to the Netherlands cost more than $15,000. He had to buy a first-class ticket because doctors told him he needed to stay horizontal....

Robert Edison, the museum's executive director, said he is certain the javelina that attacked Zegerius did not belong to the museum.

He said officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department checked every animal for blood or other evidence and found nothing. The javelina that attacked Zegerius was never found.

(toothy display from photo by Flickr user Lachlan Hardy.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Poopy Pawprint Predicament

When I first read that Dooce had betrayed Chuck, one of my favorite dogs I'd never met, by getting a second dog, I was outraged. No worries - it turned out that she'd more than pay for it.

There was this one time, I think I was reading a website or a book, I can't remember, but it said that Australian Shepherds are smart animals, or I guess as smart as one can be when one's main goal in life is to research the smell of someone else's butt so that one can file it away in the scent cabinet of one's brain. Very Important Work.

Read more about her life of torment here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You don't need a backbone to behave badly

Octopus juggles roommates, redecorates, turns off the lights.

THE TELEGRAPH (UK): A octopus has caused havoc in his aquarium by performing juggling tricks using his fellow occupants, smashing rocks against the glass and turning off the power by shortcircuiting a lamp...

The short-circuit had baffled electricians as well as staff at the Sea Star Aquarium in Coburg, Germany, who decided to take shifts sleeping on the floor to find out what caused the mysterious blackouts.

A spokesman said: "It was a serious matter because it shorted the electricity supply to the whole aquarium that threatened the lives of the other animals when water pumps ceased to work.

"It was on the third night that we found out that the octopus Otto was responsible for the chaos... At two feet, seven inches Otto had discovered he was big enough to swing onto the edge of his tank and shoot out the 2000 Watt spot light above him with a carefully directed jet of water."

Director Elfriede Kummer said: "Once we saw him juggling the hermit crabs in his tank, another time he threw stones against the glass damaging it. And from time to time he completely re-arranges his tank to make it suit his own taste better - much to the distress of his fellow tank inhabitants."

Speaking as someone who's known one octopus personally, this story is no surprise. They're nothing but trouble - like keeping a monkey with eight arms, and you have to keep all that filtration equipment working for them, to boot. I think they're best with rice and wasabi.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Using our own biology against us

Japanese scientists uncover the trick behind "puppy-dog eyes."

From World Science:

If you’ve ever wondered how just one doleful look from your dog always makes you forgive that chewed-up shoe—or almost anything else—scientists may have an an­swer.

A dog’s gaze triggers release of the so-called “trust hormone” oxytocin in owners, according to Japanese researchers. Oxytocin, produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, is implicated in bonding behaviors in animals including humans...

The investigators found in­creases in the hormone level that were highly correlated to “the frequency of behavioral exchanges initiated by the dog’s gaze,” they reported, writing in the Dec. 14 issue of the research journal Hormones and Behavior.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Give us a break, Pandas

Repeat offender panda Gu Gu of the Beijing Zoo is at it again, biting a man who climbed into this exhibit to retrieve a dropped toy.
OK, maybe you can't blame him for taking offense at that, but what about the guy who just wanted a hug? And he's not the only panda to take offense at a visitor's desire to cuddle. Pandas will also bite the hand, or even the leg that feeds them.

Sure, all of those humans are complete idiots, but come on, pandas, cut us a little slack. We're just doing what comes naturally. How else do you expect people to act, if you're going to be so damn cute?

(Panda teeth from photo by Flickr user diskychick.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hoofstock conspiracy

Giraffe leads breakout.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage.

Police spokesman Arnout Aben says the animals wandered in a group through a nearby neighborhood for several hours after their 5:30 a.m. breakout.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bad birds bad birds, whatcha gonna do...

Cops taser escaped emu in southwest Washington city

CAMAS, Wash. (AP) - Of all the drunk, belligerent or otherwise threatening subjects to meet the wrong end of a police Taser, the one stunned Tuesday in Camas stands out for his name alone.

There it is, on the front page of Clark County sheriff's office report 08-14151:




Deputy Gregory Chaney Tasered the emu, while Garrison bound the bird's feet.

Sergeant James Eastman kept his rifle on the bird, just in case.

Garrison took his emu home. He understands why people were afraid of his emu's feet, and said he was fine with the use of the Taser.

"They are dangerous (birds)," he said. "They've ripped three pairs of jeans right off my body."

(Emu foot photo from Flickr user Terwilliger911.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pooping for Company

And peeing too.

When it rains, they will not go outside. Not even when it stops raining, because the grass is still wet. They will get all excited about going outside,and will be all, “OOOUTSIDE!” and then they will take great, tremendous dachshund leaps off of the back step, realize midair that the GROUND IS WET, REPEAT, THE GROUND IS WET, ABORT MISSION ABORT!and they will somehow contort their strange little bodies midair, in such a way that they completely turn and end up behind me, probably somewhere on the sofa, while I stand in the doorway and stare, blankly, at where they used to be.

Click here to read the rest of an oldie-but-goodie from Miss Doxie, or here to hope she's updated lately.