Thursday, January 12, 2006

animal vengeance

My father-in-law introduced me to this remarkable fly catcher. It’s the most effective thing I’ve ever seen. It’s basically just a jar with a couple of small holes in the top and a cover sitting about a half inch above the holes. Then you put some of the liquid attractant in the jar and watch it fill up with flies. The flies crawl in there and can’t get out, so they eventually drown in the liquid. In this way, in a mere two weeks, I have caught and killed hundreds and hundreds of flies; in fact, the jar is almost full. Here’s a picture of it:

fly catcher

You might not realise this but with the dry weather over the last couple of years, flies have bred in much greater numbers than usual so we are experiencing a massive overdose of them, even more than usual. Killing a female saves 500 of them being born. So I have no moral compunctions about removing a few from circulation, especially in my backyard.

Anyway, the upshot of all this was that a couple of days ago, as I stood ankle deep in the Edward River in Deniliquin, I accidentally swallowed a fly. Let me assure you that there was no chewing involved, I just completely sucked it into my throat as I breathed in. Before I realised what had happened, it was gone, down my gullet, and no amount of hacking and coughing would bring it back again.

And then immediately (well, after yelling ‘eeeuww! eeuuwww! eeeeuuww!”), I thought: maybe this is revenge for my fly catcher. I mean, is it possible? Could the flies have sat down together and decided that something had to be done about this guy, and asked for a volunteer for a kamikaze mission? Could it be that this fly had put his disgusting, disease-ridden little hand up, and said “I’ll do it!” to the proud applause of the entire fly population?

Then something else started to eat at me (pardon the pun): do insects count as meat to a vegetarian? Can I still consider myself a vegetarian now? Does meat only count when it’s eaten deliberately, or would you lose your vegetarian status if you accidentally tripped and swallowed a sirloin steak in a restaurant?

Anyway, the whole idea of animal vengeance was recalled to my mind by the following story, which was reported here:

Blazing mouse sets fire to house

A US man who threw a mouse onto a pile of burning leaves could only watch in horror as it ran into his house and set the building ablaze.

Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner, New Mexico, found the mouse in his home and wanted to get rid of it.

“I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house,” he was quoted as saying by AP.

Though no-one was injured, the house and everything in it was destroyed.

“I’ve seen numerous house fires, but nothing as unique as this one,” Fire Department Captain Jim Lyssy said.

New Mexico has seen several major blazes after unseasonably dry and windy conditions which have destroyed 10 homes and devastated more than 53,000 acres (21,200 hectares) of land.

Oh, and for what it’s worth: the fly did not taste like chicken.

*** edit ***

I just discovered this in today’s Age:

Man breaks leg while kicking spider

January 12, 2006 – 2:15PM

A 19-year-old broke his leg in two places while kicking at a spider in the NSW Southern Highlands.

NRMA CareFlight said the teenager was flown to Liverpool Hospital in a stable condition from a property 25km west of Mittagong after the incident involving a large huntsman spider before 1pm (AEDT) today.

The force of the man’s kick at the spider broke his right leg in two places and also killed the spider.

The Huntsman is listed by the Australian Museum as being a relatively harmless species, although the Badge Huntsman can cause pain, headache, vomiting and an irregular pulse.

I’m telling you – it’s an epidemic. The animals are fighting back.

3 comments:

3forgirls4forboys said...

May I refer you to one of the finest study of prehistoric man ever recorded. I speak of course of the movie Son In Law starring the David Attenborough-esque, Pauly Shore [“It’s like searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie” Cher, Clueless].

In one of the more popular scenes (one of many), he is singing Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me whilst sitting at the table with chopsticks. Next thing he catches a fly with the chopsticks and eats it. And what does little Attenborough say? “MEAT GROUP”.

Therefore, using this scholastic study as a basis, I’d say vegi boy broke his vegi diet!

mr jones and me said...

Sounds to me like you’re conflating two different Pauly Shore films (although not being a Pauly Shore scholar, I could be wrong). Wasn’t it in Encino Man where Brendan Fraser, in his role as Linkevich Chemovsky, or Link for short, caught and ate the fly, causing Pauly to yell “Meat group!”?

A minor point, admittedly, and one that doesn’t change the outcome of your study, but accurate research is the backbone of good science.

3forgirls4forboys said...

Accurate research abounded in my comment. The link between brain and fingers on the keyboard was somewhat lacking, however. Yes, obviously it was Encino Man. Though Son-in-Law is obviously a brilliant study in itself…

I’ll be ba-iack…