Category Archives: Animals

Could Piranha Really Turn You Into a Skeleton in a Matter of Minutes?

Piranha

Rondon B. asks: How long would it take piranhas to turn an adult human into nothing but bones? Asking for a friend… Alongside sharks, crocodiles and that fish people incorrectly believe can swim up a stream of urine if you pee in the Amazon, piranhas are amongst the most feared aquatic creatures on Earth. This is mostly due to the […]

Read more

What are Sea-Monkeys?

SeaMonkies

Karen C. asks: What exactly were sea monkey creatures and how did they survive in their packaging for so long? The product of a collaboration between a marketer and inventor and a marine biologist, Sea-Monkeys are a hybrid of several species of brine shrimp (Artemia), bred to have a particularly long dormant period, as well as to foster a large […]

Read more

The Life of Larry the Cat- Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom

larry-cat

A while ago we shared the story of F.D.C. Willard, an ordinary housecat who through a confluence of mistakes and errors, ended up being listed as the co-author of a widely cited science paper on low temperature physics. Today we’re telling a similar story about an equally impressive Tabby called Larry who is, believe it or not, an official employee […]

Read more

Why a Final Performance is Called a “Swan Song”

swan-song

Gideon S. asks: Why is a final performance called a swansong? When someone performs for the last time, we often refer to it as a “swan song” which seems odd given that swans aren’t particularly known for their stage presence… So where exactly did this phrase come from? This expression is generally thought to have its genesis in the over […]

Read more

Why Poison Dart Frogs Raised in Captivity Lose Their Toxicity

poison-dart-frog

Of the 300-plus species in the frog family Dendrobatidae, only three members of the Phyllobates genus have been documented as having their poison used for hunting darts: Phyllobates aurotaenia (a.k.a. Kokoe), Phyllobates bicolor (a.k.a. Black-Legged) and Phyllobates terribilis (a.k.a. Golden). While in the wild these frogs harbor poison sufficient to kill a grown man, after they have been held captive […]

Read more

The Weird World of the Octopus

octopus

There are 289 different species in the Octopoda order, each of them just as strange as the last. With eight (or so) wriggly appendages, a bulbous mantle, homicidal tendencies and high intelligence, even a mid-sized octopus can be intimidating. And the more you get to know about them, the more you realize just how extraordinary these cephalopods are. Their best […]

Read more

The Life Saving Animal Blood Worth $60,000 Per Gallon and the Truth About the Colour of Spider Blood

horseshoe-crab-blood

Kay P. asks: Is spider blood really blue? When it comes to spiders, people generally know two facts about them- that you swallow around eight of them per year and that their blood is bright blue. Fortunately, the former is absolutely not true at all, the latter, on the other hand, is mostly correct. While it’s certainly true that spiders […]

Read more

Working for Figurative Peanuts and Literal Beer, the Fascinating Story of Jack the Signal”man”

jack-the-signalman4

For most people, saying  “a monkey could do my job” is a roundabout way of saying that their current position of employment isn’t exactly that mentally taxing. For James Wide though, it was more of a statement of fact because for 9 years in the late 19th century, his job of railroad signalman at Uitenhage station in South Africa was literally done […]

Read more
1 2 3 10