Black Swallower


The Black Swallower isn’t a title of one of the Major’s more esoteric collections of etchings. It’s actually a little fish with quite a claim to fame, how so? I’ll give you a clue; it’s not because of its dark colouration.

This little fish is an astonishing eater, it can eat another fish more than three times its own size. Much like you or I eating an entire deer in one gulp. Of course it has evolved a simple survival technique, there is not much food around, so eat loads when you can get it. We at The Proceedings are of course big fans of a hearty meal, it helps sober one up, prepares one for an evening drinking and is a wonderful accompaniment to lunch.

anyone got a rennie?

anyone got a rennie?

Though it has never been seen alive it’s been hypothesized that the little rapscallion grabs its prey by the tail and then slowly ‘walks’ its jaws up the still wriggling prey, much like a boa constrictor eating some big rainforest furry. Of course no one having seen this take place we haven’t the faintest idea how it manages to turn the tables on the ferocious predators it calls elevenses, like the snake mackerel above. Presumably the fish that’s being chomped on goes particularly bananas too, so how the black swallower isn’t thrown off perhaps we’ll never know.

In fact black swallowers are such greedy buggers they will take prey far too large for their distended stoumachs to digest. The hapless prey will end up rotting in the over optimistic fishes belly and the resultant gasses will take it up to the sea’s surface like a balloon… death by indigestion. It doesn’t even appear to be an isolated incident as this is in fact how the few specimens of the black swallower have been found.


Slow Loris


They’re known as simpletons, have the fastest snatch in the west and were nearly wiped out by the Vietnam war.

Oh he may look cute and cuddly but he’s a vicious brute … not really … he’s utterly useless apart from being adorable.

Known in Indonesia as Malu Malu, the shy one. The Loris got their European name from the Dutch for sluggish, or possibly from the older Dutch word for clown or simpleton.

The adorable dullards slowly bimble through the treetops at night moving one limb at a time, presumably so as to not to clamber on to an unsuitable branch. They wander up to any prey they can and with a lightning quick snatch grab it with both hands.

Sadly the little fellow is hunted for his eyes as they are used in traditional medicines… which simply proves what remarkably intuitive and imaginative people traditional medicine makers can be. The Pygmy Slow Loris was nearly wiped out by in the Vietnam war due to the utter annihilation of the rainforest.

The Slow Loris has a veritable arsenal of defences just in case it gets in to a spot of bother. If it’s attacked it will not hesitate for a moment to lick its attacker, a dastardly and evil thing to do I know, but it’s spit contains a venomous liquid, venom so powerful that it may cause slight swelling, terrifying stuff for any would be marauding teeth filled ball of nasty. Probably its best defence is that it is just sooo adorable, rumour has it that Pol Pot squealed like a little schoolgirl when he first saw one … thankfully it has one final defence, if it is in mortal peril it will pull out the big guns and for want of a better word … squeak.

Mimic Octopus


Animal impersonator can turn into a snake, crab, jellyfish, starfish, stingray, shrimp… …

Only recently discovered in 1998 this little Octopus has caused quite the stir down at the Proceedings of the Ever So Strange.

Quite simply it’s able to mimic an array of other animals to put the heebie jeebies up anything that might want to eat the little chap. Or it can pretend to be something nice and friendly, like a mate for a crab, only to gobble up some hapless creature. Here’s just a few nuggets of the Mimic Octopuses repertoire;

Bally marvellous is its ability not only to take on the shape, colour and texture of other animals it is also able to copy their movement. This is an extreme example of Batesian Mimicry, you know the thing you learnt at school, flies that look like wasps, snakes that are harmless that look like evil snakes. That sort of thing.

While most animal mimics only look like one creature that looks a bit shifty, the Mimic Octopus is able to imitate more than fifteen different species including Mantis Shrimp, Stingrays, Sea Snakes, Poisonous Lionfish, Crabs, Flatfish, Brittle Stars, Shells and Jellyfish. Flexibility is one key to this ability as Octopuses are amazingly malleable. They are so good at squidging themselves around that they can pass through the tiniest of holes, in fact its only obstacle is its rather solid eye, so they can get through a hole as small as their eye. It’s not advisable of course to try this yourself. Octopoids are also incredibly dextrous and can easily do a number of tasks, I gave this one to the Wifey to open jars when I’m not around.

Back to the little Mimic Octopus as this multi-talented chap has another trick up its sleeve. You see they are very clever. These Molluscs may be in the same phylum as the shellfish, but they are definitely not in the same class at school. Octopoids are really rather bright. They have been shown to have personalities, they exhibit tool use, and one researcher even reported that they like to play – pop a ball in a tank with an Octopus and they like to bounce it. So what our little friend the Mimic Octopus is able to do is pick which animal to impersonate to scare which type of animal away … a snake for a fish … and what not … really rather splendid little thing isn’t it.

One final note should be given to another Indonesian resident; the Coconut Octopus who not surprisingly imitates a Coconut and uses two of its tentacles to walk / float away.

I think you’ll agree that though his repertoire is small the Coconut Octopus really does appear to have his turn down to a tee. The Mimic Octopus however, while having a great repertoire, is said to do a truly dreadful impression of a Pineapple.



Good grief! It’s not a Dog and the ladies have todgers!

Hyenas rather surprisingly aren’t actually related to dogs, they are in fact more closely related to the Mongoose and Civets. There are four species of Hyena; the Spotted, the Striped, the Brown and the Aardwolf.

The Hyaenidae (literally – the gluttinous) will bally well eat anything … fast. In fact they will eat a third of their own body weight in half an hour… much like a Scot.

They are organized hunters who are built for endurance and scavenging. Hyenas will chase a prey for miles until it simply gives up. They are also excellent scavengers who are more than happy to eat rotten meat and crunch their way through bones. The concentrated hydrochloric acid in their stoumach kills off any bacteria, and even breaks down bones – making their droppings white.

The Spotted Hyena is in fact the top predator in Africa. Surprisingly it is more often than not Lions who scavenge from Hyena kills rather than the other way round. Incredibly aggressive, even as pups the dominant will attempt to kill the weaker twin. Though they were kept as pets in ancient Egypt and still are in modern day Nigeria. It would still probably be unwise to let the nanny leave them in the same room as Junior.

A council estate in Nigeria

A council estate in Nigeria


In Harar, Ethiopia some silly buggers actually feed the Hyena from their own mouth.

pfthat's myyy lipth

pfthat's myyy lipth

Hyena are renowned and reviled for their habit of digging up human graves to chomp on the skeleton and rotten flesh, while its bite can crush bone it is actually a Myth that the Hyena have the World’s most powerful bite. The Aardwolf is somewhat the odd man out, it’s a specialized bug-muncher – though it can still be considered a glutton as it slurps its way through in excess of 200,000 insects a night – he lacks the ability to crunch bones but is said to give a nasty lick.

Though possibly the strangest thing about the Hyena, and the Spotted Hyena in particular is that the female … well she has a man-thing … between her legs… reminds me of a filly I met in the Orient.

Just for the records yes everything does happen through said todger; urinating, copulating … giving birth. Of course the passing of a young Hyena through an enlarged clitoris often results in tearing, and as her hampton is so long it often results in the first pup being suffocated inside.

The reason for this physiological anomaly is well … dick swinging. Hyena society is run on aggression, and it’s the women who are on top, and what better to say I’m the boss than ‘I’ve got a massive … ‘.