Honey Badger (Ratel)

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This little gadabout really really likes to eat honey, a bit like Winnie the Pooh! The difference between this cutey and Winnie the Pooh of course is that Tigger’s best mate won’t attempt to bite off your tallywhacker.

If you ever see a honey badger on the loose run … run for all you bally well have. This chap, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the World’s most fearless animal. What’s more, rumour has it, that its favoured method of attack is straight for the family jewels.

Another favoured snack is a cobra and other poisonous snakes. If it just so happens that it gets bitten by one of its deadly meals, and yes we are talking about the sort of slithery customer that could take down a rhino, the honey badger collapses on the spot, has a bit of a snooze and wakes up a couple of hours later, none worse for wear.

If a lion is daft enough to get a honey badger in its jaws, the badger can spin around inside it loose skin and start biting and tearing at the Lion’s face. Not surprisingly lions rarely attack honey badgers more than once.

Humans for the most part don’t fair too well either. African bushmen say if a honey badger moves in to your village… it’s time to move.

Sadly though other some rather unsporting practices of trapping then killing and also poisoning ratels is having a real impact on their population, which they find really annoying… and the last thing you want to do is annoy a honey badger.

White Faced Scops Owl

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An owl with a severe case of the heebie-jeebies!

The white faced scops owl is not playing the bally fool he’s actually displaying some rather clever defensive behaviour to get himself out of a spot of bother. When presented with a small owl up close the white faced scops owl makes itself looks as big as possible in a bid to scare away the intruder so there is no need for fisticuffs.

When presented with another owl further away it tries to hide by reducing his size and turning his darker coloured back to the other feathered foe in a bid to reduce the size of his silhouette. Clever chap!

Bullet Ant

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The bullet ant is so named as the power of its sting is said to be as painful as having a lump of searing hot lead travelling at a couple of hundred miles an hour puncture your buttocks, the scary thing is whoever was unlucky enough to name it is probably right. Local tribes also call the ant the ‘twenty four hour ant’ and the ‘AANJEEESSSSUSSFECCCKINGHHAITCHHHHFARRRRK’.

or you could just call me Stevesy?

In fact the bullet ant is said to have the most painful sting in the world according to the Schmidt Sting index. This Schmidt chap was a bally legend who circumnavigated the planet getting smarted by all the creepy crawlies he could. He described the pain of a bullet ant sting as ‘Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over charcoal with a three inch rusty nail in your heel’. Just in case you lovely readers have never had the pleasure of fire-walking-with-a-three-inch-rusty-nail-in-your-heel, Schmidt went on to describe pretty much every stinger you can imagine. He described a paperwasp sting as ‘Caustic and burning… like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut’. Wasp stings get a mention as ‘Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W. C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.’ Schmidt described being stung by a sweat bee as ‘light, ephemeral, almost fruity. A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm.’ As you can imagine there was very little that was fruity about Schmidt chap, though he was rather odd.

It’s fair to say that the sting of the bullet ant really really hurts. Not only that, it can bite… hard. In fact it bites so hard that if it doesn’t break whatever it bites the force catapults the ant into the air.

The Satere-Mawe people of Brazil use these formidable buggers as an initiation into manhood. They take the ants, put them to sleep with a natural chloroform, then weave them into gloves, with the stinger facing inwards. Its fair to say that wearing the gloves really really hurts. Thankfully the hapless Satere-Mawe boys only have to go through the initiation twenty times. Explaining why, at least part way, Satere Mawe teenage boys are rather sullen and covered in red spots.

... sewing this chap into warm weather attire is not reccomended...

Jewel Beetle

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These smashing chaps really like the hot stuff. In fact they’ve evolved a magnificent array of senses to make sure they can fly right into a blazing inferno. That’s right they actually fly straight for forest fires.

This may all sound like some beetloid hara kiri and a rather swift move out of the gene pool, but this behaviour is not as downright daft as one would first think. The jewel beetles are heading to the forest fire as it’s somewhat of a blank canvas, the heat destroys all the enemies of this rather wonderful chap. All the birds and what not that think of the jewel beetle as a rather fine brunch, all the other beastly creatures that compete to be at the front of the dinner queue, even the little rapscallions and gadabouts that wouldn’t think twice at gobbling up the jewel beetle’s young. So what better than the scene of a recent toasting for a bit of rumpy-pumpy and given time to hear the pitter-patter of weeny beetle feet.

Remarkable footage of the splendid Jewel Beetle

What is truly splendid is the jewel beetle’s ability to find fire. Their senses must crackle and blaze more than the fire itself when there a forest is torched, they can smell the charring of the forest like a shark sniffs out miniscule amounts of blood, they have an eerie knack of hearing the crackling of wood of a flame on a twig, they even have an extra sense that spots the infra red what-nots emitted by a forest fire. Indeed the jewel beetle can spot a fire from fifty miles away. Rather smashing hot stuff isn’t he!

Naked Mole Rat

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This isn’t part of an old man, this is the naked mole rat! A sort of shaved rat, actually not so much shaved it does have a few whiskers, a sort of badly shaved rat. To be fair he’s not shaved at all, nor indeed is he a rat, he certainly looks like he’s lost his towel though…

Naked mole rat: not an old man's tallywhacker

These short-sighted rodents live underground and are radiciovores, meaning they survive by nibbling on the roots of plants. Though once in a while they turn coprophagic, you really don’t want to know what this means… oh ok, you want a clue, copro means poo – phage to eat … told you.

... a delightful brunch

Though it’s not just the good looks and poo-eating that get these chaps into the Proceedings of the Ever so Strange.

The naked mole rat is one of the only animals to feel absolutely no pain. What’s more they can run just as fast backwards as they can forwards. They are the world’s longest living rodent, and one of the only cold-blooded mammals. This is all terribly terribly bizarre stuff but it’s still not the strangest thing about this guinea pig in the buff.

What is oddest about this decidedly odd chaps is that they behave like ants. Like ants, the naked mole rat lives in a big nest who all work together as a community. What’s more at the centre of that community is a big fat blobby queen that has all the babies.

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