Archive for the ‘animal oddities’ category

The Saga of Miracle Mike, the Headless Chicken…

March 25, 2022

Warning: this post may not be suitable for some of our more sensitive viewers. Well, you’ve already seen the headless chicken photo, so what remains are the gory details…

In September of 1945, a farmer who lived in Fruita, Colorado by the name of Lloyd Olsen who raised chickens was killing large numbers of them to take to town for market, and using a hatchet for the fowl task. Most of the chickens obligingly died as expected, although chickens beheaded will sometimes kick and run about for several minutes before succumbing. One chicken, however, had his jugular spared and retained most of his brain stem, and was able to develop a blood clot to prevent bleeding out, and so remained ambulatory. The brain stem which remained controlled his breathing, digestion, and heart rate. The fowl also retained an ear. After his decapitation, the headless chicken got up, and began to strut around the farm.

The farmer took this curiosity and kept it in an apple box overnight, the next morning describing that “The damn thing was still alive.” The event then took on a life of its own, so to speak. As the rooster survived, Olsen let him continue to roam around. He would sleep with his neck stub tucked under his feathers, tried to peck for food with his neck stub, and even gained weight due to the chicken being fed milk and water directly into his esophagus with a dropper. He could even so digest small pieces of corn…

Recognizing how unique a living headless chicken was, his owner made a cash cow out of him, taking him on the road where he became a sideshow sensation, and earning 25 cents per head (so to speak) for people to gawk at him. At the height of his fame, Mike made his owners $4,500 per month...not exactly chicken feed, in the 1940’s.

Sadly while on road tour in Phoenix, Arizona his owners awoke to the sounds of Mike choking. As they had to suction mucus from his throat throughout the day, they would usually keep a syringe nearby, but had forgotten this equipment at a previous sideshow event. Mike couldn’t dislodge the mucus himself, and so suffocated in March of 1947, about 18 months after his decapitation. From the sideshow profits, however, his owners were able to buy a horse, mule, hay baler, two tractors, and a Chevrolet pickup truck.

A statue of Mike was erected, and Mike the Headless Chicken was awarded his own special festival day, celebrated annually in Fruita, Colorado with a chicken lunch, an egg toss, a chicken dance, a race, and even chicken bingo, which is chosen by chicken droppings that land on a bingo board! Mike would have liked that. Only in America…is this a great country, or what?!

“Emotional Support” Blobfish…

January 8, 2019

I’m not unsympathetic to the idea of Emotional Support Animals, although some people have pressed the limits of what may be considered such an animal, and where it may be appropriate to take them.  As a case in point we have a Credit Karma commercial where a female passenger on an airline notices a male in the same seat row sporting a blobfish on his lap, who he introduces as Harold, an emotional support animal that he enlisted when his credit rating caused damage to his self-concept.  The woman advises the man that he can gain tips on improving his credit rating from Credit Karma, a thought which so excites the man that he accidentally drops Harold on the aircraft floor.  “He’ll be all right,” reassures the man.  “He’s a bottom feeder!

Now blobfish are real, a deep sea creature found in waters 2,000 to 3,900 feet deep off mainland Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.  A few years back, they were voted “the Ugliest Animal in the World.”  Blobfish are easier on the eyes if you see them in their natural habitat, since the appearance that people associate with them is caused by decompression damage as the specimens are brought to the surface.  So be kind to the blobfish, as you’re not seeing them at their best.  Harold could certainly not live out of water, even while he appears to move slightly during the commercial.

Sadly, no one claims blobfish as their spirit animal.  These guys just can’t seem to get a break.  And when it comes to emotional support animals, I’m inseparable from my inner fox

Mysterious Wolf-Like Creature Identified!

June 19, 2018


Well, campers, we had earlier reported how a large, wolf-like creature was shot and killed by a rancher in Montana, with its identity puzzling local wildlife experts, and causing a social media tizzy around the nation.– Was this creature a dire wolf?– –  An unusual bear? – – A hybrid?- – Bigfoot?  Following DNA testing at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensic laboratory In Ashland, Oregon the results are finally in, and our mystery wolf-like creature is…(drum roll, please)...a wolf!

Hah! – – Bet you never saw that coming!  Confusion over the animal’s identity may have been caused by it’s external appearance, with the creature appearing to have short legs and big ears, but otherwise found to be a gray wolf from the northern Rocky Mountains.  According to a geneticist for the U.S. Wildlife Service, physical variations aren’t unusual for animals.  As with humans, we tend to have unrealistic expectations about animal appearances.  

So move along, folks…nothing to see here!  And there are still around 900 wolves roaming Montana…

Death of an Unknown Montana Furry…

May 26, 2018


A rancher recently shot and killed an unknown wolf-like animal on his property near the town of Denton, Montana.  The animal was a young canid female, although it did not fit the profile of either a wolf or a domestic dog.  The presently unidentified canine differs from a wolf in having longer claws, shorter canine teeth, large ears, short legs, and unusual fur.

No, it’s not a dire wolf!  Some animal experts have suggested that the creature could be a wolf-dog hybrid.  The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department has sent DNA samples out for testing at an Oregon Lab, but it could be weeks to months before the results come back…

The Feline Avenger…

January 3, 2013

Batcat – – If Batman and Catwoman had a child, the offspring might look something like this magnificent creature whose image originally came from Reddit and was popularized by the Huffington Post before spreading like wildfire throughout the Internet.  Thought by a number of commentators to be a Maine Coon cat, this Batcat might not have a Robin, but could probably bring you one…Meow!



Leggiest Creature!

November 16, 2012

– – When something has more than four legs, it generally tends to inspire a cringe factor.  Something with 750 legs would definitely then register high on the creepy and gross-out scale, and this little beauty is so compact as well; a white millipede named Illacme plenipes, which is Latin for “the pinnacle plentiful feet,” and measures a mere 1 – 3 centimeters long.

Found only in a small area of Northern California and looking like a thread, the millipede also boasts a rudimentary fused mouth with no known function, and hairs on its back that produce a silk-like product.

A useless mouth, and 750 legs (at least in the females)!  A related species in Puerto Rico only has 742.  I thought you’d get a kick out of that…

Giant Mystery Eyeball Discovered!

October 15, 2012

– – I’m always glad when giant eyeballs wash up on beaches, bringing to mind as they do such vintage sci-fi classics as 1958’s The Crawling Eye.  Eyeballs by nature tend to make people squeamish, especially disembodied ones…and in time for Halloween, too!- -What a gift from the sea!

Anyways, this treasure was found Wednesday by a beachcomber on Pompano Beach, Florida.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is preserving the eyeball, termed the “mystery eyeball,” which is slightly larger than a baseball.  Speculations as to what kind of species the orb hails from include a bigeye thresher shark, a whale, and of course, a giant squid. 

It will be several days before a precise identification is made by the agency’s research lab in St. Petersburg, so we’ll just have to wait and see…ahahahahaha!

UpdateIt would now appear that experts are tending to believe that the eyeball was hacked out of a swordfish by an angler.  This determination was made based on a consideration of the eye’s size, color, and structure…

Vampire Squid from Hell!

September 27, 2012

– – They sound like the perfect subject for a Saturday night original movie on the Syfy Channel:  The Vampire Squid from Hell (Vampyroteuthis infernalis).  They rather look like a bad movie monster, too, having a type of cloak-like  webbing, unusually large deep blue or red eyes, and light-producing organs covering its entire body which it can flash

A kind of living fossil originally discovered in 1903, the vampire squid lives at a depth of about 3,000 feet and feeds on “marine snow,” a mixture of dead organic material and feces that floats down from above, often embedded in a mucus matrix, yum!  The cephalopod grows to only about a foot long, and can survive in minimal oceanic oxygen zones, a fact which possibly enabled it to survive major extinction events in the evolutionary past.  Feeding rather passively, the vampire squid is the only cephalopod in the world that’s not a predatory carnivore…

…and wouldn’t Vampire Squid from Hell be a great name for a metal band?!

The “Real” Naked Mole Rat…

July 5, 2012

– – The real naked mole rat is even less attractive than the CG one featured in a recent MiO commercial, featuring wrinkled skin, stubby legs, and poor eyesight.  This rat native to East Africa is however a longevity champ, living 10 to 30 years as opposed to the three year life span of the common rat.  Although not  pretty, the rat also ages well, showing little of the slow decline in mental and physical health commonly associated with aging.  “Senior” naked mole rats maintain high levels of physical activity, strong bones, and can even continue to reproduce in their golden years!

The reason for this according to new research conducted in the U.S. and Israel seems to be unusually high levels of the NRG-1 protein, which is thought to protect the integrity of the body’s nerve cells.  This research could lead to new insights about human aging, and lest we feel too superior to them, rodents’ genes are 85% similar to humans!

Attack of the Killer Shrimp!

May 2, 2012

– – Some people have bucket lists of things that they want to do before they “kick the bucket,” that is, die…but I have a list of things to be worried about or afraid of, and I’ve just added something to that list…Run, ’cause there’s an invasion of Asian Tiger Shrimp!  I can see a Saturday night movie on the SciFy channel coming out of this, folks…

Now Asian Tiger Shrimp are not hideous mutants or skilled in the martial arts, although I could see them developed as potential adversaries for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They are, however,  jumbo shrimp, which as George Carlin pointed out was an oxymoron.  These are big suckers, measuring up to thirteen inches long and weighing up to a quarter pound, and they are cannibalistic…that’s right, shrimp that eat other shrimp.- -Isn’t that redundant?

Also known as tiger prawn, the black-and-white striped creatures are showing up in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast coast, and are preying on smaller, native sea life as well as competing for resources and carrying  diseases…a triple threat, if you will.  Scientists don’t know exactly how the Asian variety got to the Gulf Coast, but marine ecologists are looking into the shrimp’s DNA for clues, with breeding in the local waters or conveyance by ocean currents possibilities.

And if Asian Tiger Shrimp team up with Asian Carp, we could have seafood that would eat you…or at least take your computers for their young!  I’m paying protection money while I still can…

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