...the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised."
Thomas Jefferson.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Odoriferous Animals

It takes a certain kind of inner strength to do this work, I think. I am near to gagging just thinking about these conditions. Ewww.

The Rankest of the Rank: Meet the World's Smelliest Animals

It was while working in the walrus enclosure at SeaWorld of Ohio 15 years ago that Stafford first encountered a noxious mixture of walrus, dead fish, fecal matter and indoor heating. Each morning, he would enter the enclosure, where the walruses had spent the night "flipper painting" themselves and their surroundings with "whatever foul matter they produced" after a day of eating 30 to 50 pounds of raw clams and fish.

"I can't really describe the smell except to say that it's been 15 years since I worked with that species and I still remember how it completely enveloped the room and us."

Tom Veltre, a wildlife filmmaker, was similarly offended by another marine animal. "The most pungent critter I have ever worked with is the Magellanic penguin," Veltre said via e-mail. "Filming them in the Falkland Islands a few years ago during the nesting season, I learned very quickly not to spend much time downwind of the colony."
Veltre attributed the foul odor primarily to spilled "crop milk," a concoction of half-digested fish remains that penguin parents feed their chicks. "Mixed with the regular stink of bird poop, [the swill] creates an odor you are not likely to forget."

There are other animals known to rank high in rank, too, such as the zorille, a striped African polecat that resembles a skunk, and the echidna, a spiky, football-shaped animal native to Australia and New Guinea.

But perhaps the most obvious candidate to challenge the skunk as a metaphor for all that reeks is the stink bug, a pest that's found worldwide and known for the rancid almond scent it squirts as a defense mechanism. Pity it not.

There is a slide show here , as well as more stories of stinky creatures. Things you can see there include: 
"Cess," a short-beaked echidna, blows a mucus bubble through his nose at Taronga Zoo's wildlife clinic in Sydney, Australia. It's actually pretty cool.

"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” - Plato

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