Episode 032: Hyena, Warrior Princess

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel attempt some image rehabilitation on hyenas, those perennial underdogs. They’re such underdogs, in fact, that they’re technically more closely related to cats.  We present a remarkably tight analysis of these remarkably tight mammals. Stick with us, and you’ll never go hangry again!

 

Episode 013: Aye-Aye Carumba

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.

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.

Episode 012: This Man…This Mongoose!!!

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the mighty mongoose. You know, like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi!

Show Notes

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.

Episode 007: Breaking Badgers

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel explore the wonderful, funderful world of European badgers. European badgers are native to most of Europe, as well as parts of Asia (which is why they are sometimes referred to as the Eurasian badgers). They are also notorious homebodies, which is why the European badger can only teach our plucky hosts two things: “to dig, and love your home” (per The Once and Future King).

Show Notes

European badgers are the most social animals we’ve discussed so far. They live in clans (groups of up to 23), and their homes (known as setts) are often passed down from generation to generation. They also occasionally share their setts with rabbits and foxes. European badgers are exceptionally fastidious, and will frequently clean out the bedding of their setts. European badgers are not just on the crest of Hufflepuff–they are also present in Irish mythology, in which badgers are shapeshifters, as well as German folklore, in which the badger is a peaceful Philistine. Despite their overwhelming charm, European badgers are considered dangerous pests by many, which is why the have been the subject of culls. Many notable Brits, including Brian May and Sir David Attenborough, have spoken out against badger culls. This, of course, only serves to multiply the ethos of European badgers. Tune in to find out whether European badgers are great, or just okay.

This episode includes the following segments:

“What Do You Think It Tastes Like?” — Randi shares a post-World War II recipe for badger, which calls for three pounds of flour and eight pounds of badger meat. Yeah. Sounds delicious.

“I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel finds himself in a pickle–a badger baiting pickle!

Episode 005: A Flash in the Pangolin

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

Show Notes

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.