Image by Esther Samuels-Davis
The animal world is a special world.
A version of this episode was originally produced for the upcoming comedy/documentary podcast Hot Lunch. Keep an eye out for more Hot Lunch in the very near future.TRANSCRIPT
Charlie: Oh look at this. Iguanas. What do you think about the iguanas? I mean, we’ve got small ones. We got big ones there.
Hi, my name is Charlie. I am the owner of Julie’s Pets in Chicago.
Isn’t that awesome?
You’re listening to a podcast that’s a little bit for everybody. This episode’s about animals. Little furry creatures, animals with fur, animals with fins, animals with tails. How about quails? Look we have quails. Animals that are scared of you, animals that are aroused.
Oh, baby chameleons. Animals that hate me. Look at these little guys. Animals in your house. See him right on the leaf. Animals in your yard. You’re very, very skittish. Animals in your heart. They do make a squawking sound, but they’re not doing it right now. Some of the things you’re going to hear are real.
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands customer service. We’re sorry we can’t take your call at this time as we are on the phone with another customer, or away from our desk at this time. Please leave your name, address, city, state and zip and telephone number with area code where you can be reached and a brief description of your problem. We will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.
Megan Henricks: Well, I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like much of his story really, but he’s looking at me now. I feel like I’m, I don’t know. Disclosing private information.
Speaker 6: He does have to go outside.
Megan: We’ll make the scripts. The story is my mom came downtown for my birthday and she brought gifts for me, and Birdie, and my cat. Birdies treats were these little bone, like chew bones, but they’re, bacon flavored and they’re like three inches long I guess. So he takes the bone and goes and sits over on the rug and then all of a sudden I look over and I’m like, “Oh my God, my dog has a boner.”
We are in my living room about to feed my dog one of these American Kennel Club Chewing Bones bacon flavor dog treats.
Birdie! Come here! Come here!
Speaker 6: For the control groups chewing on a plastic bone right now and does not have a boner.
Megan: Wait Bird. Ready. Okay.
Now we wait.
Speaker 6: Oh my God, he has a boner.
Megan: I told you.
That was so fast.
Megan: I know. Not like a small one either.
Megan: I feel better now that it wasn’t just like a stupid theory. It’s still a stupid theory, but I feel vindicated.
It’s a stupid fact.
Megan: It’s a stupid fact, yes. Thank you.
Speaker 8: Birth confronts every baby animal with a strange new universe. Unfamiliar, disorienting.
Speaker 8: But nature provides a strategy to give order to this confusion. Within these infants there is the strong impulse to bond through the mysterious and powerful process of imprinting.
Speaker 9: Hi baby, I’m home.
What have you been doing? You having a party without me?
You have the kids over? Did you have a little party?
Speaker 6: Whoa! Damn baby, he’s cruising!
Speaker 8: There are all kinds of animals, all over the world. Some you’ve probably never seen before, others you may not see in the future. The world of animals is an incredible world. Animal world.
Speaker 10: They’re super, super gross looking. They have them at zoos and people just walk past them. They’re like, “Oh, gross, fucking gross, nasty”. Hairless and super wrinkly, and they have the huge buck teeth. However, naked mole rats, you know, they’re laughing way all the way to the fucking bank.
They don’t care. They have evolutionary adaptations that we as humans can’t even begin to understand. In fact, scientists now are beginning to study them because they’re the only creatures on the planets that don’t visibly age. They aren’t effected by aging related diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s and things like that. It just doesn’t happen. You know they’re going to die eventually, but their chances of dying don’t go up as they get older.
Like you know, as we get older, shit starts to break down. It’s like every year we’re mounting towards death, and they do that, but they don’t really show it at all. And then they live the longest life of any rodents, so into like their thirties. They’re cold blooded, which for mammals is also almost unheard of. They don’t have to drink water, they can just take any of the nutrients they need from like the plants and roots that they eat.
They don’t feel pain from like inflammation or physical kinds of pain. They just don’t feel it. They actually operate into hives. So there’s a queen, and a lot of like vicious fights to see who, A, becomes queen and, B who gets to breed with the queen. Pretty brutal fights. Like it can be to the death. But then after that calms down like everyone’s good.
Well she’s the queen so everyone go about your business and this is something to, because naked mole rats, they have no way of warming themselves. So when they’re not like tearing each other to fucking bits over who will be the queen, they actually spend a lot of their time snuggling.
They have to get the warmth somehow. They’re cold blooded so they all sleep on top of each other. And the queen, and this is just a great example of how they really don’t age at all. She can breed right after she’s born until when she dies. Her reproductive organs, totally fine. Totally chill.
Oh, another sweet fact about them. They’re huge, front Beaver-like teeth. They’re actually bipedal. So they move front and back independently. Yes. And there’s no other animals that can do that. And can bite through concrete, essentially. Like that’s how powerful their teeth are. Absolutely brutal. Brutal little dudes.
Oh, and they eat their own poop.
Speaker 8: I stumbled on something that I could not believe at first, but soon realized it had significance on me and everyone around me, which could not be ignored or underestimated. The Eskimos called the subject of my story, Bushman. The [inaudible] of Northern California called him O-Ma. But right now, let’s just call him Big Foot.
Speaker 10: Hey.
Speaker 6: What’s up?
Speaker 10: If you love me-
Speaker 6: What?
Speaker 10: … you know what I need you to do.
Speaker 6: What?
Speaker 10: I need you to kill that monster up there. It’s so huge.
Speaker 6: Why do you care?
Speaker 10: It’s freaky.
Speaker 6: It’s really not that big.
Speaker 10: It’s huge. It has girth.
Speaker 6: How would I ever reach that?
Speaker 10: I’ll bring you a chair and a shoe.
Speaker 6: Calm down. Why does it have to die?
Speaker 10: It does. It just does. It’s not my decision. Did you get it?
Speaker 6: No, it fell down in the closet.
Speaker 10: No. So it was just in the bedroom somewhere.
Speaker 6: Yeah.
Speaker 10: Great.
Megan: On the back of this Chewing Bones bacon flavored dog treats bag, there’s a number for Pet Brands, which is located in Dublin, Ohio and I guess they make the treats. So I’m going to call them right now and see if they have an explanation.
It is ringing.
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands customer service. We’re sorry we can’t take your call at this time. Please leave your name and telephone number with area code where you can be reached. We will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.
Megan: Hi, my name is Megan Henricks. I bought your Chewing Bones bacon flavored dog treats for my-
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands customer service.
Megan: … And I’ve given him five of them. So every time I give him one gets a raging boner every single time.
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands customer service.
Megan: And it’s really hard to get it to go away. I just want to know if that’s normal, if that’s okay, if that’s the intended effect.
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands customer service.
Megan: Should this be happening? I am like worried and I don’t want to call my vet with this problem. Is it the moisture? It says there’s 18% moisture in here.
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands customer service.
Megan: If I give them to a human will the human also get a boner? So anyways, please call me back. Bye. I don’t know if they’re dodging my calls or if they just don’t want to call me back. So we’re going to try calling again.
Speaker 3: Thank you for calling Pet Brands. For customer service, press eight. To hear a dog bark, press six. To hear a cat meow.
Megan: I press six to hear a dog bark, but I’m not hearing one.
Speaker 10: What the fuck?
Speaker 10: So I guess we have to email them.
Megan: I have to email them. Wait I have to pee first.
So Larry, how do you name your dogs?
Larry: Well a long time ago Pat was a little kid. I worked for this guy that was just not a good person at all. And when I came home and complained, Pat used to say he’s a dog, Pete’s a dog. And then one day we got a dog with [inaudible 00:12:19], since Pete was a dog, we named him Pete. So since then any dog we had after that, we named after my boss, whoever it may be. We only really named two dogs after my bosses. And that was Pete and Lenny. Pete was a dog. Then he was a good guy.
Were the dogs similar to the bosses?
You know, maybe Lenny more than Pete. My boss Lenny and my dog Lenny were both pretty lazy. They didn’t move around a lot, but Pete was different. Pete was, he was almost a feral dog.
We were sitting in our back of our house one day looking out in the yard, beautiful summer day. And this bird would come flying over, maybe six, seven feet off of the ground. And Pete was sitting in the yard in the middle of the yard, like a Sphinx. And when a bird flew above me, leap straight up in the air and snatched it, about six or seven feet out of the air. Me and Kate freaked. We were like, “Drop the bird! Drop the bird!” He was a tough old dog.
So’s Lenny though in his own way. In his own way. Lenny jumped into the river down there one time when I was taking him for a walk and near the seawall down there, it’s like six foot some spots. So I said, “You dumb shit, how are you going to get back up now?” I ain’t walking way down there with you.
So he jumped [inaudible]. Didn’t even touch the wall, didn’t scramble. Just from the ground, up on top of the wall. He was the most leaping dog I ever seen my life.
Lenny was a great dog.
Yeah, it’s a shame they can’t live forever you know.
So one dog was named after a bad boss. One dog was named after a good boss and people will ask me why I would do that. And I always would say, “Well this way if I get pissed off at work and come home and I can kick my boss”, which I’ve never done. That was the idea for [inaudible]. But anyway, that’s how we name our dogs.
Speaker 13: The English countryside in the height of summer, all the trees in full leaf. The corn stands by. How rich and full of plenty at old seat. Wild creatures [inaudible] by appearances. All know that the time of plenty will not last forever. The squirrel is collecting acorns. The squirrel at it’s playing on the branches has a larder of nuts and acorns. Dormice are gathering hips and hulls. Hips and hauls in the nest of the dormouse on the hill. Here’s an ordinary honeybee, famous busy bee, a symbol of energy. Below the countryside in the gardens are full of flowers. The wise bee isn’t led away into believing that because of the seat has plenty of food, you should eat the lot. In the winter of war, the government is playing its part for us. Like the bees, Ministry of Food is collecting food. Planning it’s youth. It’s daunting it for the whole community. Human beings are supposed to be intelligent, but when it comes to the wise use of food, are they as wise as these animals, these birds, these insects. Well, are they?
Speaker 14: I like all the time we’ve been spending together. It’s really nice. Oh big yawn. (singing) I just love my cat.
Speaker 15: I finally found someone I could talk to. I met a rancher. He said, “It ain’t Kodiak killing my cattle.” He said, “Big Foot’s been killing my cattle.
Big Foot? What a bunch of hogwash. So I soon forgot about him until I was up tracking a mountain lion and I found these tracks.
So last night I got up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water from the sink and how centipedes scurried out from underneath our blender. Goddammit. So I just got a high heel shoe that belongs to my girlfriend and a can of Raid, whatever it takes. I’m going to try to confront and kill or capture this house centipede. Here we go.
So for those of you listening at home, I am going around the area around my sink and just prodding things up gently. It’s not under the blender anymore. Dish mats, dishes in the sink. Are you really alarmed if I can’t find this? So I’m going to start running some water and see if that flushes them out.
I don’t know what it is about centipedes. I really don’t like them. They’re long and they have these really thin legs that shoot out like three or four inches long and they move really fast and they kind of look like a disembodied mustache of an adolescent teenager or something. It just crawled off some boy’s face who wasn’t able to fully grow a mustache. No house centipede.
Speaker 10: My top lady animal of all time is the female Angler fish. I think most people know them best as the scary fish from Finding Nemo. So you can picture their gigantic teeth and terrifying spine like protrusion that comes out of their head on the end of which there is a worm-like piece of flesh that has a bunch of glowing bacteria inside of it and essentially they use that in the deep dark sea to lure in prey.
Speaker 6: Fishing for other fish.
Speaker 10: And they’re able to distend their jaws and stomach twice the size of their body, like malt, so that it can keep these larger creatures in and their teeth can also act like the bars of a prison to keep their prey while alive still inside their stomach.
The tail of the Angler fish kind of spans over centuries. They’re pretty mysterious. It’s been very difficult to actually go down into their habitat to get any information about them. It was kind of a mystery for a long time why there were no males of this fish. They knew that there had to be male Angler fish. It was just like, “Where are they? What do they look like?” And it wasn’t until the 1920s a scientist in Iceland found an example of the species that had two tiny fish attached by its snouts to the bottom of a female Angler fish stomach. And he at that time assume that those words babies. Later in the 1920s a scientist was able to determine that those were not in fact its babies, but its mates.
So what do they look like?
Speaker 10: They’re just kind of cute actually.
They don’t have the giant teeth, they don’t have a lure and they’re about an inch or less in size. They’re like, they’re just little fish. They look like little minnows with like a little bit of a larger mouth and they use that mouth to attach themselves to the bottom of the female Angler fish. And the reason they don’t have the teeth or the lures is because they have the females. They attach themselves to their bottom like a parasites. Their snouts kind of suction in the stomach and eventually over time they lose the entire mass of their body and they basically dissolve. Losing their eyes and their internal organs basically becoming just like a small testicles sac. Yeah. And the females, they’re able to carry not only just one on their body at a time, but six or more. And the more the better. They just discard the rest and just take the testicles.
Speaker 9: Hey gal. It’s been a while since we’ve had a visitor. Six surely in the house. You know, I just haven’t had so many, like really smacked me in my face in a minute, which we can get into the politics of kink later Pearl and it’s okay, but you just got to know there was a time when I would get smacked in my face. It was pretty fun for me. It’ll be a day when it all happens and if I had some money it might speed that way again.
I the meant time I got you for the rest of it. I love you so much. I’m so thankful.
Speaker 8: My head was reeling with Big Foot. I plotted all the reliable reports. There actually seemed to be a migratory pattern extended over thousands of miles. If this were true I’d have some means of predicting the creatures movements and a good chance to find some answers to my questions. The greatest number of sightings and the only ones that the Big Foot young were in summer above the Arctic circle. Could that be where Big Foot migrated to breed? If I move rapidly, I might find a clue before seasons end.
Speaker 10: Here it goes. I got it. I made a mark on the ceiling though. I’m going to wipe it off my flip flop now.
There’s a lot of things that upset me about how centipedes but worse. I think the thing that upsets me most is just the hatred I feel towards them every time I see one.
And when I raised my flip flop, it raised a couple feelers in the air, like it sensed what was about to happen. Pure hatred and then I killed the shit out of it.
It just fills my heart and you know, I have to kill them.
Come out to play.
I can’t stop, I can’t stop.
There’s a baby house centipede on the floor. Bey baby house centipede. It bothers me that I can feel that level of hatred towards anything. It makes me think like maybe I could kill a person.
Two, three, ah! All right then.
And I think about that every time I see a house centipede.
One, two, three.
So that’s why they bother me.
Randy Jackson: Hello Megan. This is Randy from over at Pet Brands. I’m calling to follow up on your inquiry regarding the Chewing Bones bacon flavored dog treats.
Megan: Yeah, wow. It’s been so long. I kind of thought you guys were not going to get back to me.
Randy: Yeah, well it’s been a while. I realize that and I do apologize it’s taken so long. Things have actually been really quite hectic here, but we take this matter very seriously and I want to help you out today insofar as I am able.
Megan: Great. So I guess just like what is the deal with these bones?
Randy: Okay, well I can tell you and well you probably should not give your dog any more of these of the dog bones. There’s no evidence it will lead us to conclude that there’s anything harmful in them at all. But out of an abundance of caution, we would say, okay, no longer giving the dog treats. Dog bones will have some flavoring in it. Some of it is natural, some of it is artificial. We’ve used them in dog food and cat food and with food for heirs with the nursing foals. If you can feed certain kind of a food to a lactating mare that has a really finicky digestive system and you know that you have a really solid food that is really beyond reproach. And that is what we thought we had with these dog bones. We thought, “No problem.”
Megan: Wait so you test dog treats on horses as well.
Randy: Oh yeah. We have a full lab. We have horses, and dogs, and cats and everything like that. But it’s more like a family type thing. I bring my little dog dachshund in with me. You know, she runs around, around and plays with all the animals and stuff like that.
Megan: Oh my God. What’s your dachshunds name?
Randy: Kirby. Yeah. Her name is Kirby. Kirby sounds like a guy’s name, but it’s a girl dog. But anyway. So the thing is, is you know, we’ve tested all of these things and observed them and there’s nothing hazardous in them.
Megan: Okay. So like I could eat him and I would be fine.
Randy: Oh yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yes you can. I have eaten them too.
Randy: It’s true. Yeah. I was involved in product development for several years and I’ve eaten all of the animal food.
Megan: Do you have a favorite?
Randy: Yeah, I like the dog foods. The dry dog foods, I mix it up with some milk, you know, and microwave it and crunch it up a little bit. That actually isn’t bad and I know that sounds funny, but yes, I’ve eaten all of the dog food and it had no effect like that on me.
Megan: Well, I guess I’m happy to hear that.
Randy: I mean I wouldn’t want them to eat something I wouldn’t eat anyway.
Megan: No, that’s actually a really great, great policy.
Okay. Well thank you for calling me back. I really appreciate how thorough you’ve been.
Randy: Oh, well I’m glad to help and as I say, don’t hesitate to call back if something comes up.
Megan: Okay. I definitely will. Thank you so much.
Randy: All right, bye.
Nick van der Kolk, Host and Director
Phil Dmochowski, Managing Producer
John Fecile, Producer
Megan Henricks, Producer
Steven Jackson, Producer
Original score by Steven Jackson