It seems like 2016 was a year marked by an unusually high number of celebrity deaths. And among those who passed away was Perky, the duck who wouldn't die, who did, in fact, finally kick the bucket.
Perky was a one-pound, female, ring-neck duck who gained international fame in January 2007 after she survived being shot three times by a hunter, retrieved by a dog, and then stored in the hunter's refrigerator for two days.
By chance, the hunter's wife happened to open the refrigerator (she reportedly rarely looked in it because it was the spare fridge her husband used to store game), at which point Perky lifted her head to say hello. The wife took compassion on Perky and rushed her to a vet.
What makes Mary Krupa and her squirrels slightly different is that during her time as a student at Penn State she's managed to make the wild squirrels on the campus act like tame squirrels — wearing hats, holding props, posing for photos, etc. This has earned her the title of "Squirrel Whisperer" as well as "Squirrel Girl."
I'm quite impressed by what she's been able to achieve since I can't even get my cat to wear a collar, let alone a hat.
It was actually an interactive exhibit at the I.Q. Zoo, the famous animal training facility and tourist attraction in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Founded in 1955 by Marian and Keller Breland (students of the psychologist B.F. Skinner), it stayed open until 1990.
Developed in the 1980s, when smaller computers were becoming popular, Compu-Chick "appeared" to answer questions typed by the visitor. A small keyboard in front of the chicken, containing small lights that were invisible to the visitor, "cued" the chicken as to which letters on the keyboard to type.
I'm not sure, but maybe Google's "PigeonRank" technology, which the company revealed on April 1, 2002 to be the secret behind their search results, could have been inspired by Compu-Chick.
These were among the items recently discovered by Swedish police when they raided the home of a property owner in Hudiksvall municipality. The man was suspected of running an illegal, unlicensed abattoir from his home. The article notes, "Dried bull penises are often used to make bully sticks for dogs (a fact that completely passes by a surprising number of dog owners)." [TheLocal.se]
In the latest issue of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Olle Terenius of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences reports observing swans windsurfing (i.e. "using tailwind as a support for high-speed water transportation"). This is something that bird experts were apparently unaware that swans could do.
Terenius hopes to spread awareness of the phenomenon of windsurfing swans, although he notes that the general public may have been more aware that swans can do this than bird experts were. He says, "I think the reason that this is missing in the literature is that ornithologists who are out in the field only quickly note that they see a Mute swan and write it down on the list of bird observations, while the general public has observed windsurfing swans thinking that this is already a well-known phenomenon." (Science Daily)
Below are his field observations of windsurfing swans.
Bettie Phillips' fifteen minutes of fame involved her decision to put earrings on a baby deer. It happened back in 1997 when she found a two-month-old deer stranded by the side of a road and "thought it would be pretty" if it had earrings. So she pierced its ears by hand, pushing the posts of two earrings through its ears.
Police later found the deer in her truck and charged her with animal cruelty.
The charge was eventually suspended, but she had to pay the $250 veterinary bill for treating its infected ears.
I'm not quite sure what's going on here. This photo (sourced to AP Wirephoto) ran in various papers (such as here) on June 26, 1963. It had the following caption:
The inmates watch curiously as a Ueno Zoo employee tries a cagey experiment in the lions' den in Tokyo. Completely guarded by iron framework for his physical well-being, the man rides a gasoline-driven engine in an experiment to study the reaction of the lions.
And that's it. I've been unable to find out anything else about this strange experiment. But I'd like to know why exactly the zoo was curious about how lions would react to a guy driving around in a motorized cage?
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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
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