Sunday, July 02, 2006

Humans In Peril!

I'm sure you've heard all the old midwives' tales about the dangerous animals that surround us on all sides every day in this world in which we all live and breathe. But even the most outlandish tales contain a grain of truth. So we here at Very Little Known Facts have taken it upon ourselves yet again to separate Fact from Myth. Remember: more humans die from animal attacks each year than any other source of violent death except for hurricanes, the silent killers.

MYTH: It is bad luck to kill a spider in your home.
FACT: All spiders can inflict bites. Although the bites are only lethal ninety percent of the time, you don’t want to "press your luck!" The other ten percent cause ulcerative boils.

MYTH: Rattlesnakes are nature's killers.
FACT: Rattlesnakes are in no way poisonous although their bite can be quite painful. Their built-in "alarm" allows ample time for you to get out of the way!

MYTH: There is no antidote for the bite of the deadly Komodo Dragon, largest and deadliest of all lizards.
FACT: No human being has ever seen a Komodo Dragon in the wild.

MYTH: Cats can suck the breath out of a newborn baby.
FACT: Since it is illegal in most countries to experiment with the life of infants, science has not been able to prove or disprove this theory. If you have a newborn and a cat, allow several years of "progressive" introduction before they meet face to face.

MYTH: Elephants are afraid of mice.
FACT: Elephants fear nothing, but they are allergic to the fleas commonly found on small rodents. Since elephants are social animals, they are prone to "group frenzy" if a member of the pride is irritated by flea bites. So the number one cause of elephant stampedes--you guessed it--mice!

MYTH: Snakes can roll themselves into a hoop shape to roll down a hill.
FACT: Snakes of all kinds are extremely dangerous and should be killed on site.

MYTH: Dogs can sense fear.
FACT: There are two important things to remember when approaching any dog:

  1. The best way to approach a dog is to immediately put the dog in a Full Nelson, also known as a headlock. This not only comforts the dog, but it also lets the dog know you are in control.
  2. Be sure to get your face as close to the dog’s as soon as possible. They may not "sense fear," but they can see a coward! (See below.)


Anonymous said...

I heard that the whippet got its name from 18th century dog races on the Orkney Islands. Apparently Scottish toddlers were actually trained to ride small-frame greyhounds around a full-sized dog track. The toddlers were equipped with a miniature riding crop, which they used to "whip" the hounds... The toddlers, with their rudimentary language skills, were repeatedly told by their trainers to "whip it!" so that they would use their crops to whip the dogs (as a jockey would whip a horse), all in an attempt to get the dogs running as fast as possible. Later these hounds were intentionally bred to be as small and wiry as possible. Hence the name "whippet." Can you confirm or refute this "fact"? Thanks.

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear anonymous,

Thanks for your comment! Beware of so-called "little known facts" with no provenance or sources cited. The United Kingdom has very strict labor laws, or as they call them "labour lawes." And jockeys are not actually small children but small people--midgets, although some prefer the less offensive term "dwarf." But those dogs sure are cute! Thanks again for your comment!