So my grandmother just had bowel surgery, and is recovering in the hospital, and I’ve been visiting her two hours a day. I never realized until now how incredibly physically and mentally draining it is to spend time with a sick person in the hospital – just two hours with her (plus the total three hours of travel time there and back) has left me totally drained, hence no blog entries in a week. I guess it’s having to be positive and cheerful and not show any sadness (even when your gran is sitting there with tubes coming out of her arms every which way, plus one coming out her nose… poor girl), in order to be supportive, that is so draining.

Anyways, I’d love to be able to write something right now about the importance of getting regular colon checks, or the state of public health care in the UK, or about the physiological changes that occur in someone who is sick when a loved one is nearby – but I’m just too tired. And I need a chuckle.

So instead, I’m going to post a smattering of some fun facts I read about recently and a few fun videos. I don’t have the energy to offer some witty, insightful commentary on each one – but all these things are neat/funny so I guess that should be entertaining enough.

Here are some short and sweet offerings from Zoetic:

1. Here’s a video of an African battle: Lions Vs. Water buffalo Vs. Crocodiles.

(You may want to put it on mute to block out the annoying commentary of the American tourists, repeatedly pointing out the obvious, as American tourists tend to do.)

2. A hammerhead shark in Nebraska has become the first shark to have a “virgin” birth, a phenomenon known as parthenogenesis. This has been seen before in reptiles, amphibians, and bony fishes (plus it’s fairly routine in all sorts of invertebrates), but this is the first confirmed case of a shark fertilizing her own eggs.

By the by, if you haven’t heard of whiptail lizards, you want to: some species of these plain-looking lizards live in all-female colonies (no doubt, reptilian utopias), with no males whatsoever – each female produces offspring that are clones of herself. What’s more, females will copulate with each other (they switch the role of bottom and top position the next time they mate), which it seems triggers the production of fertilized eggs.

3. Here’s a Discovery Channel segment on drunk monkeys, who were brought to the Caribbean from Africa and developed a taste for fermented sugar cane. Now they steal booze from tourists:

And here’s another great drunken animal video, featuring African beasties feasting on the fruit of the famous amarula tree (clearly narrated by the guy who narrates The Gods Must Be Crazy):

4.  There is a fish called the black arse cod.

I wish there were more fish with the word ‘arse’ in the name.

You’d think a cod with the word arse in the name would hail from the waters near Newfoundland, but alas, this one comes from Australia.

5.  German police are collecting smell samples from lefty activists, in the lead-up to the big smash-up that the G8 summit promises to be.

(I can’t find a photo of a smell sample… but we all know what we think of when we hear the word “G8” – masked riot police beating the shit out of students.)

Apparently the East German Stasi collected thousands of smell samples (each one of us has a unique smell, don’tcha know) from suspect citizens, so that the sample could at some point be used with a keen-nosed sniffer dog to find the suspect individual in a crowd.

6. Like me, you probably had a very sweet, sentimental story emailed to you about a mother tiger whose cubs died being given piglets (clad in tiger skin spandex) to raise instead.

Hopefully you found a bit more information about the supposed angelic tiger mum, or had a correction emailed to you. The union of tigers and pigs is apparently just one of many weird zoological stunts they perform for crowds at a Thai zoo, including basketball-playing elephants and “lady crocodile wrestling.” The tiger was actually suckled herself by a pig as a cub, like these kitties here.

The whole zoo is run on interspecies experiments to draw in alcohol-fueled, short attention-spanned, and no-doubt ketamine-riddled tourists. Good little summary of the zoo – and with the text from the saccharine email – here.

… I hate to admit it, this still is pretty f’in cute: