Beautiful, Interesting and Ooo Shiny! Images From Various Places

Animals

The 12 Odd Facts of Christmas

Cardinal Eating

Location: USA
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
ISO 200 • f 2.8 • 1/800 sec

Ok, folks, I give up! I was trying to work on our 2nd annual Christmas video for your viewing pleasure, but it’s taking longer than expected this year. Instead of keeping you waiting, here’s some fun Christmas trivia! Maybe if you act smart at your family Christmas party this year, your aunt Betty won’t be so tempted to pinch your cheeks and tell you she can’t believe how much you’ve grown… or something like that. 😉

  • According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there are 2,106 million children under age 18 in the world. If there are on average 2.5 children per household, Santa would have to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles. To get there in 24 hours, Santa would need to travel between houses in 2/10,000 second (for the “not-so-nerdy”, that’s about 4 million mph, or 3000 times the speed of sound). At that speed, Santa and his reindeer would burst into flames instantaneously. (Reindeer steaks, anyone?)
  • Of the presents received by kids worldwide, one in 10 will be broken by the New Year, only 40% will make it to March and just a quarter will be intact by next Christmas.
  • From the UK: Three people die each year testing if a 9v battery works on their tongue. (WHY???)
  • Mistletoe (Viscum album) is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads though bird droppings. (And that’s EXACTLY what I’d like to be kissing under! ‘~’ )
  • UK: Since 1997, 101 people have had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet. (I wonder how many were Legos? Ow!)
  • In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. (I don’t care if they made him a yert! Spiders are still evil, in my opinion.)
  • According to Facebook data, most breakups occur two weeks before Christmas. Yet Christmas Day is the least popular day for breakups.
  • UK: 19 people have died in the last 3 years believing that Christmas decorations were chocolate. (Wait… what?)
  • The traditional three colors of Christmas are green, red, and gold. Green has long been a symbol of life and rebirth; red symbolizes the blood of Christ, and gold represents light as well as wealth and royalty.
  • “Jingle Bells” was originally written in 1857 for a Thanksgiving celebration. (Seems legit.)
  • Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. (I don’t even want to imagine how that one works!)
  • In Canada, Santa Claus has his own personal zip code, H0H 0H0. Each letter that includes a return address receives a reply from Santa in the language the letter was written in, including Braille (with help from some 11,000 “Postal Elves”)!

Rather than link every fact on the list, I’ll just give you my sources here: Random History, Venere, Chicago Now, We Interrupt, Nice Fun, Guy Sports (Christmas Safety Warnings).

Bring on the knowledge junkies! What other fun Christmas trivia do you know? Let’s hear it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving & see you next week!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?


Getting Your Lion to Purr

Location: Thailand
Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 7.1 • 1/640 sec

“Nice kitty… good kitty… just don’t take my arm off, kitty.”

It amazes me to see full-grown lions and tigers acting like housecats, but they are related, after all! When they have spent their whole life around kind people, they also can learn “humans are friends, not food.” It still is wise to treat them with respect, as they will still play like cats and don’t realize their own strength.

So it was pretty funny in my mind to see this young lion (probably less than a year old, since his mane hadn’t grown in yet). He was just chillin’ on a rock in his pen, when one of the trainers walked by who obviously knew him well. When called, the lion jumped up, ran up to the fence, and started purring and rubbing his face on it just like an overaffectionate kitty. In return, he got his desired scritch behind the ears.

It kind of reminds me of an old video I saw once, of a guy with a lionness & cubs. A little kindness can go a long way!

Did you ever see a wild animal not acting like you expected?


Fuzzy Little Beasts

Location: Thailand
Camera Info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 1600 • f 7.1 • 1/1600 sec

“Let’s go pet the babies! They’re so cute & sweet!” we thought. Even though we were intimidated by the thought of petting the adult tigers at the Tiger Kingdom, our group was excited to see the cubs. What we didn’t think about, however, was that the adults were trained – cubs aren’t!

When we walked into the enclosure, three cubs were sleeping. Cute. Two others were awake and wrestling, with little squeaks and roars (sort-of) as they tried to pounce and pin each other. Epi-cute. Suddenly, one of them noticed us and decided he wanted a better challenge. With a tiny growl, he started stalking towards us. The trainer shooed him off and distracted him easily, but it was a little unnerving. They are still wild, after all.

We went to hold one of the cubs that was sleeping, and he didn’t seem to mind too much, besides a few big yawns. He had huge paws for such a tiny critter, and I was surprised to feel how coarse his fur was. I expected tiger cubs to be soft! The little guy was pretty well-behaved, except for when he decided to get a taste of my friend’s shirt and started licking him. That’s a big no-no here, as the trainers don’t want the tigers to develop a taste for people. So we had to distract the cub and get him to stop licking. Pretty soon, he joined the other cubs in the wrestling match, and our group moved on to see the bigger cats. That was a different experience than I expected, but still fun!

When were you surprised by an experience that wasn’t exactly what you expected?


Strange & Crazy Animals!


Location: Indonesia
Camera Info: Fuji Finepix A303 • Automatic Point & Shoot
ISO 100 • f 2.8 • 1/680 sec

“Is that a purple crab?” my friend asked, looking over our balcony. Sure enough, a solid purple crab was clinging to the side of the building near the water. Indonesia is one of several countries that sports these colorful critters. The babies (pictured above) start with some orange on them as well before they turn all purple. So it made me wonder, what other fun animal species can I find around the world that would deserve a second glance?

We’ve probably all heard of the platypus, sloth, alpaca, angora rabbit, komondor dog, and red panda, creatures that have ended up on pretty much every list of odd animals. But here’s some more:

  • More crabs! The white & hairy yeti crab (South Pacific) & ginormous giant coconut crab (Guam) are good examples.
  • The Mexican axoloxl salamander (Wooper Rooper) is so weird it’s kind of cute, so many people keep them as pets.
  • The aye-aye is a type of lemur from Madagascar.
  • If I ever met a star-nosed mole, I don’t know if I’d laugh of be creeped out. They live in Canada and the NE United States.
  • The leafy sea dragon lives up to its name by looking just like seaweed. Good luck telling it apart!
  • What can I say about the tapir? It’s just weird-looking, and inhabits jungles on three continents.
  • The hagfish is pretty much disgusting. It escapes predators by oozing goo (which can even kill itself sometimes).
  • The dumbo octopus got its name due to the “ears” (fins) hanging off what looks like its head. Unlike Dumbo, however, it’s very tiny.
  • The frill-necked lizard looks like it came straight out of Jurassic Park, but it’s actually from Australia.
  • Here’s a blobfish. They pretty much look like their name, and they hang out in very deep water around Australia & Tasmania, so you probably won’t see one while taking a dip in the lake.
  • I can’t think of the African shoebill without thinking about this video. You’re welcome.
  • And last but not least, NARWHALS!!!!! Yes, they’re real.

What’s the strangest animal you’ve ever seen?