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 006: Live Nude Nudibranchs

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel lose their damn minds over one of the coolest animals ever: the nudibranch. Nudibranchs are commonly called sea slugs, but they are actually gastropod molluscs. While they are born with shells, they shed them after their larval stage. More importantly, nudibranchs are the Kirby of the animal kingdom.

Show Notes

Nudibranchs are some of the brighter citizens of our oceans. I mean, they’re not smart–they’re just really colorful. Furthermore, there are over 2300 known species distributed throughout warmer parts of the ocean. Most species of nudibranchs are benthic, meaning they live on the ocean floor. There are a few species that swim in the water column, and then there are the glaucus nudibranchs, which swim upside down below the waterline. The most obvious feature of the nudibranch is the cerata, which are the rubbery looking appendages that grow out of the back of the nudibranch (the nudiback?). Join Randi and Nathaniel as they marvel over nudibranchs: their cerata (which in some species can store the venomous nematocysts from their prey), their ‘speech’  (there are some records of captive nudibranchs making clicking noises), and their sexual habits (google pictures plz). Tune in to find out if nudibranchs are great, or just okay.

This episode includes the following segments:

“I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel finds himself dueling a nudibranch.

Special Guest Interview — Randi interviews Dudibranch the nudibranch, an unaccountably lovable spokes-mollusc.

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.

Episode 004: A Few Good Marine Iguanas

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the marine iguana. And no, marine iguanas are NOT reptilian service members–they’re sea foraging lizards.

Show Notes

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?

Episode 003: The Hippopotamus Oath

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss the common hippopotamus. In the process, Nathaniel reveals his deep, deep fear of hippos.

Show Notes

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.

Episode 002: Sloth-y Seconds

In this episode, Randi and Nathaniel discuss sloths, both two and three-toed varieties. Fun fact: all sloths have three toes. Two-toed sloths have two “fingers” on each forelimb instead of three. The more you know!

Show Notes

This episode covers the six extant species of sloths: the four species of three-toed sloths, and the two species of two-toed sloths. We also discuss the extinct giant sloth and its likely reign of terror. Nathaniel tries to distract Randi with tomfoolery and puns. But a large amount of this episode is dedicated to sloth moths (aka, the moths that live on sloths and breed in their poop), sloth algae (sloths have their own ecosystem in their fur, which includes algae! That’s why their fur has a green-ish tinge), sloth mating habits (spoiler: the ladies initiate it), and how sloths drink water (through their skin, it seems). Some time is also spent on bashing Vice Documentaries and wondering if Jose Cuervo is beer or tequila. Listen to the whole episode to find out if sloths are GREAT, or just okay.

This episode includes the following segments:

  • “I Think I Could Take It” — Nathaniel challenges a three-toed sloth to combat. The sloth–a true gentleman–accepts a duel. Do you think Nathaniel will win?
  • “What Do You Think It Tastes Like” — Randi shares advice for cooking and eating sloth, which is “Don’t do it. It’s apparently terrible. Also, sloths are friends, not food.” Sloth apparently does not taste like chicken, which is the metric for this show.