Award-winning duck eats yeast, explodes, and blinds a man

On January 4, 1910, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a wildly tragic incident that had occurred in Des Moines, Iowa.

The strangest accident recorded in local history occurred here when Rhadamanthus, a duck which had taken prizes at the recent Iowa poultry show, exploded into several hundred pieces, one of which struck Silas Perkins in the eye, destroying his sight.

The cause of Rhadamanthus' untimely explosion was a pan of yeast. This, standing upon Perkins' back porch, tempted the duck, which gobbled it all up. Upon returning from church, Mr. Perkins discovered his prize duck in a loggy condition. Tell-tale marks around the pan of yeast gave him a clew [sic] to the trouble.

He was about to pick up the bird when it exploded with a loud report, and Perkins ran into the house, holding both hands over one eye. A surgeon was called, and it was found that the eyeball had been penetrated by a fragment of flying duck. He gave no hope that the sight could be saved.

The Washington Post also reported on the incident several months earlier, noting that "A stiff northerly gale was blowing at the time and give dark brown duck feathers were wafted so far as Great Notch and fluttered into the open window of the smoker of that admirable Erie Railroad train." The Post also has a bit more detail on the late Rhadamanthus, who, they note, "was no ordinary or ornery duck." Rhadamanthus's grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar, was also renowned for this fortune-telling prowess. Read the rest

Penguins tour an art museum in Kansas City

From the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum on Facebook:

Quarantine has caused everyone to go a little stir-crazy, even the residents of the Kansas City Zoo. So several of the penguins decided to go on a field trip to the Nelson-Atkins, which is still closed, to get a little culture.

This isn't the only group of zoo penguins to enjoy an extra-special social excursion while the rest of us are quarantined. But they're certainly the first penguins to prefer the work of Caravaggio to Monet.

The Kansas City Zoo also has a penguin cam so you can keep on eye on your favorite tuxedo'd friend when they're not enjoying an afternoon of high culture. Read the rest

Pretty sure this bird just discovered that the Earth is a simulation

Don't let the Flat-Earthers find out that our world is just an unrendered level in a video game.

Image via NeedPix / Public Domain

  Read the rest

Mountain Goats have taken over a small Welsh town while humans are in quarantine

Not to be confused with the band the Mountain Goats (who should also take over more small Welsh towns), these hoofed mammals stormed the streets of Llandudno. While the 20,000 people in this seaside town stayed indoors to avoid the coronavirus, the goats saw an opportunity to reclaim the land as their own — to which I say, frolic, you glorious beasts, and may you continue to reign long after this is over.

Mountain goats of Great Orme hit Llandudno – in pictures [Peter Byrne / The Guardian] Read the rest

The penguins at the Chicago Aquarium are not practicing social distancing

With no visitors coming into Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, some of the rockhopper penguins have been given free reign to roam and explore. While Wellington seems really into the Amazon fish tank, Edward and Annie have been using the opportunity to bond together more in anticipation of mating season, according to the Shedd's Facebook page.

Whatever they choose to do with their time, I say: fly free, my tuxedo'd comrades.

Penguins openly explore Chicago aquarium closed due to Covid-19 [The Guardian] Read the rest

Michael Bublé performed a private concert of Christmas songs for a trio of gorillas

The lucky apes — Ganyeka, Yakini and Motaba — currently live at the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne, Australia. According to PRI, one of the zookeepers discovered that the silverback gorillas responded quite positively to Bublé's dulcet tones:

When we play Michael Bublé's CDs, the boys will instantly start pleasure grumbling and sit nice and calm and relaxed. Our theory is it’s the beautiful low tones that he sings with kind of mimics their pleasure grumble. And they’ve even been shown to hum little food songs when they eat, and we think [Bublé] must really resonate with that sound.

So as long as Bublé was in Australia anyway, they got him to stop by the zoo and surprise the silverbacks with a little private croon.

Canadian singer delights his gorilla superfans with Christmas songs [María Elena Romero / PRI]

Image via NeedPix (Public Domain) and Eva Rinaldi / Flickr (CC 2.) Read the rest

Quadruplet human kids get quadruplet lamb kids for their birthday

At least some things in the world are still adorable. From RTÉ:

The Kelly's have four boys who are just one day shy of their fifth birthday.

Now they have been gifted an early birthday present of quad lambs.

Honestly the whole video is worth it just for the lambs running off at the end.

Quads on the double for Offaly farming family [Teresa Mannion / RTÉ]

Image: Public Domain via PxHere Read the rest

This 'foster mom' bear is raising a cub saved by a dog

An orphaned black bear cub has been placed with a substitute bear mom this week after the little baby bear was saved by a family dog, and tenderly brought to safety. Read the rest

A police dog is running against the goat incumbent mayor of a small Vermont town

In 2019, a 3-year-old Nubian goat named Lincoln was officially inaugurated as the first mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. And then she pooped. As Town Manager Joe Gunter explained at the time, "Originally we did it as a fundraiser to replace the playground behind the school, but it really turned into a small civic lesson for the children. 'Come out and vote. Get involved in the town.'"

But that election only guaranteed a one-year term, and Lincoln only narrowly defeated Sammy, a K-9 cop. And now Sammy's taking another shot at the top seat in town. If elected, Sammy has promised to release her tax returns and recuse herself from all police business that might come before the town to avoid any conflicts of interest, according to her representative, Police Chief Bill Humphries. Humphries has also tried to soothe the concerns of Fair Haven's feline population, which has a long history of hostile relations with canine police officers.

In response to Sammy's campaign, Lincoln has released a budget proposal that includes $0 spending on grain, $0 spending on hay, and a promise that there will be no tax increases to fund the playground that formed the foundation of her historic run for the town's inaugural mayorship.

Fair Haven will hold the contentious election at their Town Meeting on March 3, 2020. And while I don't want to be partisan, I think it's only fair to point out that one candidate is literally a cop, and the other one is literally the GOAT, so I think we all know who deserves to be in charge. Read the rest

Enjoy these unsolicited dik-dik pics

Dik-diks are basically tiny African deer whose name comes from the chirping sounds they make. And if that's not adorable enough, then just wait until learn that they mark their territory with their tears (okay technically it's a secretion from the preobital gland but still).

So here are some completely unsolicited dik-dik picks, courtesy of the UnsolicitedDiks Twitter page.

Top image via Sharp Photography / Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

Australia is only a horrifying natural death trap so it can balance out the adorableness of the quokka

I've always understood Australia to be a nightmare hellscape full of crazy killer creatures. But that's only because I hadn't heard about the quokka. This teddy bear-sized marsupial lives on the islands off the mainland of Australia, and they're just — I mean — look at this thing!

It's basically a non-cannibalistic Ewok, and apparently they're known for being friendly as hell (also exceptionally horny), earning them the distinction of the "happiest animal in the world." Though it's illegal to touch one, they're allegedly super-down with selfies, too.

I would brave any Australian beast just to be best friends with one of these lil' fellas.

Image via Wikimedia Commons Read the rest

The Irish language has the best weird translations of common animal names

There's a popular saying in the Gaeilgeoir, or Irish Speaker, community: "Is fearr linn Gaeilge briste, ná Béarla cliste," which basically means "Broken Irish is better than clever English."

I'm American, but I heard this refrain many times when I had the privilege of curating an Irish language Twitter account one week. I was nervous, as I've been learning the language as a casual hobby over the last few years. But the native speakers were remarkably encouraging—they were just happy to use the language at all, and to share its musicality with others. (I think the language is having a bit of a renaissance right now, as people in their 20s-40s feel a longing for a cultural connection that their Boomer parents neglected in their eagerness to assimilate).

This is all to say that: I can assure you that these Irish translations of common animal names are absolutely real. And while they're not broken Irish, they're still far more clever than anything our bastard mutt English tongue could ever come up with:

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Posted @withrepost • Thank you @gaeilge_vibes Is aoibhinn liom Gaeilge 💚🤣 #gaeilge #irish #vocabulary #languages #lol #irishblog #tgif #ireland #éire

A post shared by Emha na Réaltaí (@emasolasnarealtaiimochroi) on Nov 11, 2019 at 7:29am PST

This isn't like in English, where we giggle about "titmice" and "cocks" because of the unintended double entendre. "Cíoch" is actually breast. "Bod" is in fact a penis. These are pretty literal translations; no hidden suggestive meanings about it. Read the rest

Animal BFFs: Cheetah cub snuggles with puppy friend

You need this. Read the rest

Watch how this adorable hummingbird makes friends with a human

Not only is this the calmest hummingbird I've ever seen, but the bravest as well. Read the rest