In this episode, Randi regains control of the podcast and Nathaniel returns to his lowly co-hosting duties. Oh, and also they talk about toucans.
Toucans! Can’t live with them (they’re terrible pets) and can’t live without them (their poop builds forests!). They are also one of the more delightful animals Randi and Nathaniel have talked about to date: they playfight with their bills, they grace the boxes of some of our favorite cereal, and they have feather-esque tongues. Tune in to find out if toucans are great, or just okay.
In this episode, Nathaniel and Randi discuss the adorable aye-aye. Nathaniel takes over hosting duties, so you know what? No show notes this week. ‘Cause Randi ain’t gonna write nothin’ if she ain’t in charge. ‘Cause Randi ain’t gonna write nothin’ if she ain’t in charge.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Nathaniel has a natural phobia of microphones. When called upon to host this episode, he agreed to do so only on condition that he be allowed to perform his lines from an adjoining room, with the result that portions of his performance are nearly inaudible, while Randi’s voice remains a model of crystalline perfection throughout. Please consider this a blessing in disguise rather than the unfortunate technical error it technically is.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the mighty mongoose. You know, like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi!
Let’s just get to the good part: mongooses are resistant to the neurotoxins in snake venom. That means if they were a comic book character, they would be Anti-Venom (or possessed by the Anti-Venom symbiote, if you’re a pedant). Like all delightful animals, mongooses have an anal scent gland. They use this gland to mark territory and indicate receptiveness to mating. Mating must be fun, since mongooses giggle during it. Mongooses also feature prominently in some folklore and mythology–for instance, the Egyptian god Ra would transform into a giant mongoose in order to fight the evil god Apopis (why wasn’t that in Gods of Egypt?!). Many ancient cultures also revered mongooses as protectors due to their resistance to snake venom. Tune in to find out if mongooses are great, or just okay.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the peerless sea wasp. Sea wasps have been described as “the most lethal jellyfish in the world,” which seems super-duper fun.
Sea wasps are a type of box jellyfish. They are also incredibly venomous, and have been responsible for about 63 deaths in Australia since 1884. Adult jellies are known as medusas, which is pretty rad. Join us for a romp of an episode in which Nathaniel has a hard time feigning enthusiasm and Randi has a hard time justifying the existence of such a beast. We also take the houseboat out from the Thames for the day, and interview two sea creatures with privileged upbringings and noticeably inconsistent accents. Tune in to find out if sea wasps are great, or just okay.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the mighty bull shark. The bull sharks are unique since they can survive–and thrive–in both freshwater and saltwater. Tune in to find out if bull sharks are great, or just okay.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss Praying Mantises. You know, those super cute critters that featured heavily in a season one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
There are so many interesting things about praying mantises: their hunting tactics (they have surprisingly good eyesight), their anatomy (their heads can rotate 180 degrees!), and their cultural significance (many ancient civilizations believed them to be powerful). Of course, our super mature hosts focus on how they do it. So much so, in fact, that this episode features a new song and segment: “How Do You Think They Do It?” Seriously, praying mantises occasionally (not always) practice sexual cannibalism. How can that be ignored?? Join Randi and Nathaniel as they marvel over this insect, debase themselves with tomfoolery, and interview a plucky young mantis by the name of Smoochy P. Tune in to find out if praying mantises are great, or just okay.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the cunning cassowary–that’s right, that awful flightless bird that lives in the land down under. Cassowaries have the reputation of being quite dangerous, although a human hasn’t been killed by a cassowary since 1926. The fear of cassowaries probably comes from their horrific, Uma Thurman-esque feet, which include “a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease.” Join Randi and Nathaniel as they marvel over this horrible reminder of the tyranny of dinosaurs.
Guys, cassowaries are terrifying. They can run over 30 mph (that’s around 50 km/h for those of you who live in a country that’s never been to the moon), they have a vertical jump of almost five feet (1.5 m), and they can swim so you can’t count on jumping into water to escape them. That said, the majority of cassowary attacks are on dumb-dumbs that try to feed them. So don’t do that, you dumb-dumbs, okay? Cassowaries are mostly frugivorous, and they swallow fruit (including bananas) whole. Their poop spreads the seeds of these fruits, so cassowaries are kind of like terrible, loud Johnny Appleseeds. There are three species of cassowary; of them, only one is endangered: the southern cassowary. Vehicles are the largest threat to cassowaries, which–to be honest–kinda diminishes their intimidating nature. Tune in to find out if cassowaries are great, or just okay.
This episode includes the following segments:
“I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel believes he’s finally hit pay dirt when he’s hired by vintner Cassius the Cassowary to work at an Australian vineyard.
“What Do You Think it Tastes Like?” — Randi shares a recipe for Cassowary Stone Soup.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel explore the enchanting world of pangolins. That’s right, pangolins–that adorable animal that looks like a mixture of an armadillo and an anteater, though in fact they’re only very, very, VERY distantly related to them
Guys, this is it–the episode in which our intrepid hosts get serious. Pangolins are adorable, but they’re also incredibly endangered. There are a few factors that lead to this: First, pangolins are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a host of ailments. As a result, they are one of the most highly trafficked animals in the world. Second, pangolins are also eaten as bushmeat in parts of Africa. Third, pangolins are very difficult to breed (or even keep alive) in captivity. They are insectivorous, or more specifically myrmecophagous, meaning they only eat ants and termites. To compound this limited diet, they are prone to stenophagy, meaning they will only eat certain species of prey (kind of like how Nathaniel’s diet, or a small child’s, is limited to chicken nuggets and pizza). Sir David Attenborough listed pangolins as one of the ten species he’d like to save from extinction. Join Randi and Nathaniel as the discuss why this animal is–without question–great, and not okay.
This episode includes the following segments:
- “I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel tries to outwit a couple of circus pangolins.
- “Don’t Eat This Bird; Don’t Eat This Best” — Randi discusses the impact of consumption on pangolins. She references two accounts of people eating pangolins: a Vice article, and a travel blog.
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the marine iguana. And no, marine iguanas are NOT reptilian service members–they’re sea foraging lizards.
Marine iguanas occupy an ecological niche in the Galápagos Islands, and boy are they uggos. Marine iguanas forage for food largely in the water, with some larger males diving for up to an hour at a time. This behavior lends to their ugly appearance: they have flat noses to help with swimming and sharp teeth to graze for algae and other foods. They also tend to have white crust around their faces–this is sea salt they expel from their nose via sneezing. Join Randi and Nathaniel as they mercilessly mock this animal. Learn about their predators (which include racer snakes), their diet (sometimes they eat sea lion afterbirth), and Charles Darwin’s sick burns on the poor things (he called marine iguanas “disgusting clumsy lizards”). Tune in to find out if marine iguanas are GREAT, or just okay.
This episode contains the following segments:
- “I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel gets into a pickle after hitting on a former marine marine iguana’s girlfriend.
- “What Do You Think It Tastes Like”– I mean… really, what do you think they taste like?
In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the common hippopotamus. In the process, Nathaniel reveals his deep, deep fear of hippos.
In this episode, Nathaniel and Randi decide to try improv, but demonstrate remarkable incompetence. We also remember to talk about hippos. Hippos are megafauna, just like the extinct giant sloths our intrepid hosts discussed in the previous podcast. Although they’re herbivores, hippos are aggressive and very territorial. That’s okay, they only live in certain areas of Africa, right? WRONG. There are also hippos in South America. But how?? Listen to the episode to find out if they’re GREAT, or just okay.
This episode includes the following segments:
- “I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel takes a job at a hippo nursery. What could possibly go wrong?
- “What Do You Think It Tastes Like?” — Randi delves into the history behind hippo meat, and one plucky U.S. Senator’s attempt to import hippos to Louisiana.
- Special Guest Interview — Tune in for an exclusive interview with Ammit, the Egyptian goddess and eater of the dead.