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Wildlife

Lists of the “Odd and Unusual” are common and usually consist of folk wisdom, old wives tales, and common knowledge which is neither common nor knowledge.  Trivial as the following may be, it is intended to be fun and I’ve researched all of it.  Enjoy

George Washington’s service to his country didn’t end when he retired from the Presidency. After retiring to Mount Vernon, Washington was again called to public duty  when his former Vice President and successor, President Adams, named him commander of the American Army in mid-1799, responding to threatening noises from our former ally, France which was threatening to invade the new nation.  On learning the great Washington was back the French learned some manners.

Elephants pick up large sticks or small branches in order to scratch their behinds.

Elephants are the only animals with four knees;

Elephants always wake up in a bad mood

Giraffes also are known for being short tempered but it isn’t hard to understand why:  birth trauma.  Giraffe cows – if that is the proper term – always give birth standing up and the newborn calf is always a breech birth (tail end first).

Think about it.  Prior to birth, the calf has spent however many months in an ideal environment where it is always dark and  warm and and all its needs are met.  They have no knowledge of anything else.  All of a sudden, with no warning of any sort, they are summarily ejected from the womb into an extremely cold (for them) world of blinding light and go rocketing 10 feet to earth at 32 ft.per second /  per second before slamming into the ground butt first.

Only one mammal can’t jump — the elephant

Prior to painting the Sistine Chapel the only painting Michelangelo had done was during a brief stint as a student..

Gorillas were thought to be local tribal legends, much like Bigfoot is today, until explorer Paul du Chaillu became the first Westerner to see a live gorilla in equatorial Africa from 1856 to 1859. He brought dead specimens to the UK in 1861

The oldest known bottle of wine was buried with a Roman noble near the German city of Speyer 1,650 years ago and discovered in 1867. German wine expert Monika Christmann says: “It’s probably not spoiled, but it would not bring joy to the palate.”

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Something strange started happening in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in South Africa in 1992.  Dead rhinoceroses – a lot of dead rhinoceroses – were being found.  By 1997 more than 40 had been killed.  Wildlife authorities were completely stumped as to the cause.

Clearly, humans weren’t responsible; the rhinos had been brutally mauled to death and their ivory tusks were intact.

Neither could the deaths be attributed to predatory animals; adult rhinoceros have no real natural enemies other than humans although young rhinos can fall prey to predators such as big cats, crocodiles, wild dogs, and hyenas.

After much head scratching somebody had a thought, a thought that proved out but one that also raised some troubling questions: elephants were behind the killings.  But why? Elephants and rhinos aren’t enemies and both are herbivores.

Not for the first time, the answer lay in horribly imperfect human understanding and actions.

Many years prior to the rhino killings South Africa found itself facing a serious elephant overpopulation problem.  Not only was sufficient grazing land rapidly dwindling, people (or rather their farms and gardens, and even their newly constructed tasty grass huts) were being threatened, sometimes fatally.

At the time, the accepted solution was to cull the herd of breeding adults, both male and female.  Grotesquely, the process included young calves often left tied to a dead parent, usually for an extended time, until a team returned to gather them up for transport to another elephant range.

An elephant never forgetsRead More