Traveling Companions

Birds Down Your Pants
& the Frozen Armadillo

Don’t ask us why, but people have been stuffing all sorts of small animals down their pants for years now. They get caught all the time with hairy spiders, rare scorpions, slithering snakes, even live lobsters moving down their legs. Not even airport screeners want to know why.
Some kind of genetic freak calling the shots on this one, that’s what we say. But when they start beating each other up with frozen armadillos, well, that’s when we step in and draw the line, for crying out loud.
So smugglers do that for a living. Low-lifes. Two-time crooks do it on a dare, or for dope money. So what? Even if these bottom feeders show more nerve than noodles, we’re not about to give them a free pass for making their business to traffic on the defenseless.
It doesn’t matter that these critters fetch a lot of dough in the black market, i.e., people even worse than, well. There’s never shortage of grifters out for a quick buck. What gets to us, though, is when it’s personal and, rather than throwing iPhones, as any past-their-prime supermodels would, they toss a pet at their foes.
That really gets our blood boiling. Ok, so it was not a pet, it was an armadillo, and it was frozen, and no one we know raises one of them as a pet, although they might. Still.
So this Texas woman planned to dine on an armadillo’s carcass some guy just happened to be selling out of the back of his car. One should never trust a story that starts with that kind of intro, by the way.
Apparently, she didn’t know or care that you’re not supposed to sell these endangered animals anywhere in the U.S. Actually, to be perfectly truthful, you can sell and buy them, but not live ones or them whole, you got that? Soup, anyone?
Again, as we said, do you really think she cared? Anyway, an argument over the price ensued right there, at the busy parking lot the man had turned into his private marketplace. They disagreed, their voices were raised and, Kaboom!, and then, Kaboom! again.
The police said the man hit the woman twice with the frozen mammal, a species with more about it than meets an untrained eye. Apparently, after all these years, he’s still on the run.

In one of those completely unrelated news about the same animal, it turns out that armadillos are very well endowed. How well? The male organ is two thirds its length, that’s how well. But since we’re down this path anyway, they’re nowhere near barnacles.
The hermaphrodite sea creature is so well hung that it doesn’t even need to move to mate: ‘it’ can be 10 times the length of its body. That’s convenient, because they’s spend their entire lives attached to a rock. Unless of course, they’re found wrapping a Citi Bike.
Besides, being hermaphrodites and all, they really can self-reproduce, so we have no idea why nature even bothered giving them such a ‘reach.’ There, now you know more than you ever wanted to about barnacles. How come we’re talking about barnacles now?

As we were saying, people are used to carry all sorts of scary things in their pants. Take this Alberta man, for example. He was caught trying to cross the U.S. border into Canada with a loaded handgun in his pants and tarantulas, snakes and scorpions in his truck.
Yes, it’s not completely to the point, but still. Want another one? What about Johan Adolfsson, a Swede traveling from Thailand to Australia, who was found to be carrying four king cobras and four (more)
Read Also:
* New Critters on the Block
* Bugs Dummy
* Crusty Catch

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Finger Picking

When Nature Deals
A Sleight of Hands

Not to point any fingers, but when it comes to physically identifying someone, it’s no longer safe to rely on memory or anatomy alone. The issue is naturally crucial for law enforcement, and police departments all over have alreadyrevised old guidelines for fingerprinting and lining up suspects, so to adapt to more scientific methods of identification.
Memory does play tricks and someone’s recollection of an event is conditioned by subjective factors and plagued by all sorts of potential distortions. So is the analysis of someone’s marks and crevices at the tip of their fingers, long considered gospel in police work.
At the end of the day, suspects should be positively identified based on a comprehensive set of parameters, rather than how they look to someone, or whether they’re born with more digits or have no fingerprints at all.
Speaking of which, meet Yoandri Garrido, a Cuban who has two extra fingers and two extra toes. In itself, the condition, polydactyly, is not extremely rare neither in humans nor animals. But it is in the case of Garrido, because his extensions are perfect and functional.
You may go out of your mind, thinking about what you would do with them, and why you should be so lucky. But for him, the freak of nature is a bliss, making him a superior coconut picker and a favorite of tourists, who’d pay up to $10 for his picture. So, stop whining, will ya?
Of course, unlike you, there’re some who may think they’re lucky exactly for not having any distinguished anatomical feature, easy to be picked up by the accusatory finger of a witnesses.
Now, you may go ahead and congratulate yourself for not being someone who needs to be concerned about other people’s testimony against them.
Adermatoglyphia is an even more unusual condition: lack of fingertips. It’s thought that it can have several different causes, but the main one is a genetic mutation. It’s been recently found in nine members of a Swiss family of 16 (don’t ask), who could easily slip through a crime scene undetected, but who’d also have a hard time crossing country borders.
As it turns out, immigration officials of all nationalities have little patience with those who lack fingertips, but we won’t get into that just yet. Suffice to say that scientists are learning a thing or two about genetic mutation of the kind that caused this family of Robinsons (so to speak) to have the majority but not all of its members sharing the condition.
Again, you may envy their predicament for a second (more)
Read Also:
* A Farewell to Furs

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