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What is the difference between venomous and poisonous animals?


Earlier today, I posted about a "poisonous" cobra. Boing Boing reader cryoutlaughin corrected me in the comments. Snakes are venomous, not poisonous. As Jolene Creighton in Quarks to Quasars puts it, "The quick and dirty way to separate venomous creatures from poisonous ones is by thinking about bites: If you bite it and die, it is poisonous; if it bites you and you die, it is venomous." So a cobra is venomous and a poison dart frog is poisonous. (I guess if you want to be picky, a snake could be considered poisonous if you eat it and ingest its venom.)


From the article:

  • Poisons are any chemical substances that impact biological functions in other organisms.
  • Toxins are biologically produced chemical substances that impact biological functions in other organisms.
  • Toxicants are synthesized chemical substances that impact biological functions in other organisms.
  • Poisonous organisms secrete chemical substances that impact biological functions in other organisms.
  • Venomous creatures inject chemical substances that impact biological functions in other organisms.

Images: Shutterstock

Family upset that someone keeps shaving a "perfect square" patch in their pet cat's fur

Since January, Tabby the cat has returned to her family's home in Canada five times with a square patch of fur shaved from her body. The family is mystified, and when they told neighbors about it, one of the neighbors reported that his four-year-old cat Twilight has received similar treatment.

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Gentleman offers tongue to crab, crab accepts

Lesson learned! Or perhaps not.


Mother raccoon teaches her baby how to climb a tree

A baby raccoon is called a kit. [via]


Dolphin jumps aboard small family boat, breaks mother’s ankles

“It hit my wife and knocked her over, and punched my daughter,” said Dirk Frickman. He was referring to a 350-pound dolphin that jumped aboard the family boat in Dana Point Harbor, California in June. The deck of the boat was covered in dolphin blood, and Chrissie Frickman was sent to the emergency room to treat two broken ankles

The Orange Country Register has the story:

Chrissie Frickman was screaming in pain as the dolphin flopped on her legs. Her husband pulled her out from beneath it, and the family scurried around the center console toward the bow as the gravity of the boat pulled the frantic dolphin toward the back.

Dirk Frickman called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol on the radio. He told them he was coming in fast and to look for his boat at the mouth of the harbor.

The officer “came zipping out,” Frickman said. “ He looked at the boat and said, ‘Oh, my God. I’ve never seen this before.’”

Butterfly pupa looks like a scary snake

pupaThe Flying Spaghetti monster crafted this wicked Dynastor darius darius pupa with its own tentacles. See Andreas Kay's photos here.

Scientists are thinking of calling this cute octopus "adorabilis"


What Latin species designation do you give an orange-pink octopus that resembles a Pac-Man ghost or Pearl from Finding Nemo? Why, adorabilis of course!

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This bored cat effortlessly balances any object you place on its foot

kittyGaigai Wuwu the cat is a such a boss, he can balance things in his sleep.

Our friends at Laughing Squid have many more photos of Gaigai Wuwu showing off.

Suspected animal abuser in Brooklyn park was just man roasting guinea pig at barbecue area


Police responding to a report of a man abusing a guinea pig in Brookyln's Prospect Park were met by a friendly man from Ecuador who was roasting the animal for breakfast on a 4-foot skewer in a designated public barbecue grill. Roasted guinea pig is a popular dish in parts of Central and South America.


Image: "I left my heart, and several other internal organs, in Park Slope." Shutterstock

The largest worm in the world is as tall as an elephant, and many other wormy facts in We Dig Worms

Three fun facts about worms:

1. The largest worms in the world are 10 feet long (that's feet, not inches!).
2. Worms move with the help of tiny bristles.
3. A million worms can live in one small park.

A lot more facts can be found in We Dig Worms, an adorable and interesting picture book for ages 4-8 that turns the worm “eww” factor into a sense of awe and respect for the hard-working cold-blooded creatures. As a fun side note, Author Kevin McCloskey, an illustration professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, used paper bags as his canvas for the book’s charming paintings, “because, just like worms, he believes in recycling.”

We Dig Worms
by Kevin McCloskey
2015, 40 pages, 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
$11 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Dogs do not like people who snub their owners


If a person who snubbed you offers food to your dog, your dog will refuse to eat it. Or so say Japanese researchers who studied social cooperation in canines. They set up a test in which a dog's owner asked another person for help opening a box. The dog was able to see whether or not the person helped its owner.

Dogs that saw their owner being rebuffed were far more likely to choose food from the neutral observer, and to ignore the offer from the person who had refused to help, Fujita said on Friday.

Dogs whose owners were helped and dogs whose owners did not interact with either person showed no marked preference for accepting snacks from the strangers.

“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” [Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University] said.

Image: "Don't make fun of my slobber. It's a medical condition." Shutterstock

First amphibious baseball player stuns scientists

"Wearing a specially designed water suit, Oakland Athletics pitcher Pat Venditte threw warmup pitches with his right flipper then caught a fly ball with his 12-foot long tongue." -- East Oregonian newspaper

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WHO asks people to stop drinking camel urine until MERS is contained


Responding to a deadly outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea, the World Health Organization (WHO) is asking people to resist the temptation to drink camel urine. The beverage could be playing a roll in spreading the infection, which has killed 6 people and sickened 87 others.

[I]n parts of the Middle East, drinking camel urine is not as uncommon as one might think. In parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the liquid is consumed for its allegedly palliative properties. The Prophet Mohammed is said to have informed his followers to drink camel urine to cure them of disease.

In 2013, an intrepid reporter for Vice sampled the substance while in Yemen. “The taste of warm piss is, as you would expect, disgusting,” he wrote. “But when it’s mixed with camel milk, as it traditionally is, it’s even worse.

Image: "At your service!" Shutterstock

Add to bucket list: run with baby goats

I think Sunflower Farms could make a lot of money charging people to run with their baby goats.

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Four dogs, one tennis ball

doagsSee video here.

There's some kind of geopolitical lesson to be learned here.

Incredible human-like animal portraits


12_Animal_Portraits__vincent_Lagrange_yatzerAnyone who has tried to take a good shot of their pet will understand how amazing these animal portraits are by Belgian photographer Vincent Legrange. With expressions that mimic human worry, contemplation, surprise, and the whole gamut of other human emotions, Legrange photographs both wild and domestic animals "in a sombre way."  You can see all of his animal portraits, which are part of an ongoing series called Human Animal, here at his site.


Police say snapping turtle used to guard drug stash was "aggressive"


"Officers and Troopers searched the car, after finding drugs in the vehicle, and slammed the trunk in fear when this little guy aggressively jumped at them! Oklahoma Game Warden Carlos Gomez (Tulsa Co.) was called to the scene to remove the dangerous snapper, so the vehicle could be inventoried for impound." - Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Game Wardens Facebook page