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The world’s spider population could eat every human being in a year
03.28.2017
03:17 pm

Topics:
Animals
Science/Tech

Tags:
spiders


 
If you’re scared of spiders, don’t read this post.

Seriously, don’t read this.

The great evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane once wrote of “our Creator” that he “would appear as endowed with a passion ... for beetles ... for the simple reason that there are nearly 300,000 species of beetle known ... as compared with somewhat less than 9,000 species of birds and a little over 10,000 species of mammals.”

Well, God may like beetles, he also has an inordinate fondness for spiders, for there are very, very many of them.

A pair of biological researchers, Martin Nyffeler at the University of Basel in Switzerland and Klaus Birkhofer of Lund University in Sweden, recently published some fascinating findings involving the biomass of spiders in The Science of Nature earlier this month.

If you were to add up all the spiders in the world, they would collectively weigh 29 million tons. Nyffeler and Birkhofer attempted to measure the amount of food spiders consume in a given year. As you know, spiders subsist largely on insects, but it does happen sometimes that spiders eat lizards, birds, and even small mammals.

According to the two biologists, all of the spiders on the earth consume somewhere between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey in any 12-month period. Just in case you’re insufficiently impressed by the big numbers being thrown around, the quantity of meat and fish that humans consume every year is around 400 million tons. Therefore, it’s quite possible that the world’s spiders are eating more animal biomass than humans are.

It gets worse.

How much do you think that all human biomass weighs? According to estimates, the total weight of all human adults is 287 million tons, and even if you add in all of the children in the world, you still don’t reach 400 million tons, which is the low end of the estimate for how much spiders eat in a year.

Is there a spider in your house? Is he watching you? If so, what is he thinking about?

If spiders ever get their act together, we’re fuuuucked.
 
via Wonkblog

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
3D animal print underwear with EARS!
03.13.2017
12:59 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Fashion

Tags:
underwear


 
Boing Boing just hipped me to these unusual women’s animal-themed underwear with ears! They’re adorable in an odd sort of way. I’m not sure they’d be everyday underwear.

They come in a variety of different animals such as cats, foxes, pigs (my personal favorite), raccoons and squirrels.

You can get them here for around $8.99 each. It looks like there’s limited stock on a few of these, so you may want to hurry if you just gotta have ‘em!


 

 

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
This national park in India protects rhinos—by killing the poachers
02.15.2017
11:55 am

Topics:
Animals
Crime

Tags:
poachers
rhinos


 
The recovery of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros since its near-extinction in the early 20th century has been a remarkable boon for our planet’s ecosystem—even as it has generated considerable financial opportunities in a part of the world where most of the people have very little. Certain parts of Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, has somehow come to believe that the rhino horn has almost magical curative properties, and that has driven the price of the commodity sky-high on the black market—as much as $6,000 for 100 grams. One-horned rhinos have smaller horns than most rhinos, but their horns are especially prized as being extraordinarily potent.

With about 2,400 one-horned rhinos, Kaziranga National Park in the state of Assam in northeastern India is home to a majority of the world’s one-horned rhino population, about two-thirds of the total. The inflated prices for rhino horn have created an incentive for the population of Assam that is all but impossible to ignore. This means that Kaziranga has a serious poaching problem—one that more than doubled in 2013. After several years in which the average number of rhino killings was in single digits, in 2013 and 2014 the number suddenly skyrocketed to more than 25 per year.

As a response to the problem, officials at Kaziranga National Park have adopted an almost unthinkable measure—they permit their park’s security guards to shoot poachers on sight. Such killings of poachers was an uncommon occurrence before 2013—22 documented kills in the eight years before 2014—but it’s spiraled totally out of control, with 22 poachers killed in 2014 and another 23 in 2015. Last year the trend seems to have ebbed, with “only” five poachers meeting their untimely demise at the hands of park security. If you’re keeping track, that’s 72 dead poachers in the span of eleven years.


 
Everybody thinks that rhinos should be protected from poachers, but this seems seriously out of control.

On top of everything else, not all of the casualties were actually guilty of doing anything wrong.

Justin Rowlatt, South Asia correspondent for the BBC, has done some excellent reporting to shine a light on this shocking situation. He asked Avdesh, a guard at Kaziranga, what he is supposed to do if he spots a poacher off in the distance going after a rhino. “The instruction is whenever you see the poachers or hunters, we should start our guns and hunt them,” he said instantly.

“You shoot them?”

“Yah, yah. Fully ordered to shoot them. Whenever you see the poachers or any people during night-time we are ordered to shoot them.”

Avdesh says that he has never been involved in an incident in which anybody was killed, but he has taken stray shots at poachers twice.

Dr. Satyendra Singh, the director of the park, concedes the basic situation as described above but demurs that the phrase “shoot on sight” is perhaps an exaggeration. Guards are supposed to call out and make inquiries as to who the people are before taking that step. According to Singh, the guards only shoot after they have been fired upon themselves. He says that the goal of any encounter is to achieve an arrest because that is the only way to get further information on the identity of the gangs who undertake poaching.

On one occasion last summer, guards shot a seven-year-old boy named Akash Orang was making his way home along the main track through the village, which borders the park—the blast seriously compromised much of the calf muscle of his right leg.
 
via Bored Panda

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Woman gets pet snake stuck in her stretched earlobe
02.03.2017
09:18 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals

Tags:
snakes


 
Oregon-based Ashley Glawe gained steam on social media over the past few days when photos of her pet Ball Python snake—who goes by the name of Bart—got stuck in her stretched earlobe. According to Ashley, she was playing with her snake and it poked its head through her stretched earlobe and became stuck.

She was unable to get Bart out on her own and had to go to the emergency room to “extract” him. Apparently a doctor made a slight incision near the hole in her earlobe and used some Vaseline so Bart could wiggle himself out.

I have to agree with Geekologie’s assessment of this snakey ordeal. I bet this was a party trick gone very, very, very wrong.

All’s well that ends well, I guess. I’m just glad Ashley and Bart came out of this okay.


 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Catnip is one hell of a drug
01.27.2017
09:19 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Drugs

Tags:
catnip


 
As the story goes, this cat (name unknown) supposedly got away from its owner and entered a pet store unwittingly. Apparently the cat then made an immediate beeline for the catnip section and got high as a kite on copious amounts of feline “entertainment insurance.” The rest is history as you’ll see in these two short videos, below.

This cat entered the pet store by accident and had the time of his life rolling around in catnip toys! Pure kitty bliss :D Oh, and his owner came to pick him up, so all’s well that ends well!

I highly doubt the cat “accidentally” entered the pet store. It had to have known what it was doing. It could probably smell that catnip from a mile away. I’d do the same exact thing too if I were that cat. He was probably trying to drug himself silly to escape all the political arguments on Facebook. It’s heavy out there, folks!

 

 
via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Abattoir Blues: In ‘Blood of the Beasts’ death has a cruel beauty
01.19.2017
04:07 pm

Topics:
Animals
Movies

Tags:
George Franju


 
George Franju’s 1949 film Le Sang Des Bêtes (“Blood of the beasts”) is one of the most beautiful and horrifying movies ever made. Filmed in the backstreets of Paris, Franju contrasts bucolic scenes of fog-shrouded streets, canals, deserted junkyards and children playing, with the nightmarish events taking place within two slaughterhouses. Marcel Fradetal’s stunning black and white cinematography turns the horrific into a brutal kind of poetry that if it had been shot in color would be unbearable.
 

 
Observing the workers going about their gruesome work with emotionless efficiency is the most disturbing aspect of the film for me. How much of our humanity is sacrificed for a plate of meat? Franju’s intent may have been no more than to compose a work of visual art, but as I watched Le Sang Des Bêtes I couldn’t help but be reminded of the fact that France was still reeling from the effects of years of savage warfare.

In these images of animals being murdered I am aware of the thin line between man and beast, killing one is not so very much different from killing the other. Is not the abattoir a concentration camp for animals? Is the flesh of the beasts any less sacred than our own? Or have we arrived at the place where nothing is sacred? And if so, isn’t that Hell?

Outside the walls of the abattoir we watch life go on, while inside we watch it come to a cruel and bloody end in Le Sang Des Bêtes.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sharks, stingrays, snakes & other nasty beasts, all made from hubcaps
01.04.2017
08:58 am

Topics:
Animals
Art

Tags:
Ptolemy Elrington


 
An Englishman with the excellent fortune to bear the wonderful name Ptolemy Elrington has hit upon an idea that’s far from new—he makes sculptures out of found materials. Since the novelty value of that method hovers closely around zero, such work succeeds or fails on the work’s merit, and Elrington succeeds wildly. His M.O. / gimmick / hook / whatever is that he sculpts animal forms from hubcaps, and they’re quite remarkable.

Hubcap creatures are made entirely from recycled materials. All the hubcaps are found, usually on the side of the road, and therefore bear the scars of their previous lives in the form of scratches and abrasions. I believe these marks add texture and history to the creatures they decorate.

Elrington keeps his web site and Facebook page constantly updated with new work, and his Instagram is heavily laden with extremely cool work.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Strange Japanese illustrations of dogs with huge balls

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Tanuki are Japanese racoon dogs. Mischievous looking critters with a dog-like face and the body of a racoon. In ancient Japanese folklore these mammals were viewed as either gods of nature or troublesome yōkai. From the twelfth century on, tanuki were seen as humorous characters on account of their rather large testicles which artists grossly exaggerated for comic effect.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) was one of the last great masters of the ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings. He was famous for his pictures of samurai, animals and mythical creatures. He also created a sideline series of comic pictures depicting tanuki and their giant space hopper-sized gonads.
 
003bawbags.jpg
An ever-expanding nut sack will help you catch fish.
 
004bawbags.jpg
Stay dry in the heaviest of downpours with your scrot-umbrella.
 
002bawbgas.jpg
Catch birds in flight with one toss of your ‘tanuki’ scrotum.
 
More racoon dogs and their monstrous testicles, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Cthulhu’s Twitter: Deep sea fisherman discovers terrifyingly freaky Lovecraftian entities
12.20.2016
02:25 pm

Topics:
Animals
Environment

Tags:
deep sea


 
Gizmodo hipped me to this deep sea fisherman in Russia named, Roman Fedortsov. He posts his deep sea discoveries on Twitter and they’re pure nightmare fuel. I know “nightmare fuel” is wayyyyy overused in the blogosphere world, but I couldn’t think of any other way to describe these alien-like creatures. Oh my fucking God, what are these things?!

I have a huge fear of deep sea creatures to begin with—I can’t watch an underwater nature documentary without heavy sedatives—so it totally didn’t help when I checked out Fedortsov’s Twitter account. It’s like I couldn’t help myself. I just clicked on it and BAM! I felt queasy in my stomach. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Terrifying, terrifying stuff.

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Natural History Surrealist Sculpture: Exquisite dreamlike plant-animal hybrids
12.20.2016
10:39 am

Topics:
Animals
Art

Tags:
sculpture
Ellen Jewett


An intriguing sculpture by Ellen Jewett.
 
Based in Ontario, Canada, sculptor Ellen Jewett has done her best to support the rumor that she was raised alongside “newts and snails.” After spending time working as an artist contributing to medical journals and textbooks she soon turned to sculpture as a means to express her deep interest in biology and animals.

Jewett’s sculptures are incredibly intricate and woven together in such a way as to appear inseparable or unified despite their opposing origins. The artist has been quoted calling her work “natural history surrealist sculpture.” Her animal and plant subjects are so lifelike they resemble exhibits shown at natural history museums featuring once living animals in settings made to resemble their former habitat. Jewett’s whimsical sculptures sell for many thousands of dollars when they become available, though you can also purchase stunning prints of her unique animal and plant hybrids at her Etsy shop. I’ve included images of a large number of Jewett’s beautiful works of art below.
 

‘A feral antiquity.’
 

‘The complexity of our task at hand.’
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
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