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Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Here we go again with a collection of more Fortean Zoological Curiosities from my archives. I hope you found yesterday`s batch interesting. I will endeavour to make today`s collection interesting as well.

CROCODILE IN TRAWL: Skipper George Milton and the crew of the Folkstone trawler Number 9 when fishing were surprised by the weight of the trawl`s contents. When brought on deck, the trawl was found to contain a dead crocodile, 12ft long. Cutting off the tail, which they took to Folkstone, the crew dumped the carcass into the sea. It is thought that the crocodile had died on a voyage in a steamer to England and had been thrown overboard. (1)

At least 6 months ago I tried to find out more about this without success.

MAN BITES DOG: 'An enraged Indonesian villager killed a dog by repeatedly sinking his teeth into its throat after it bit a young boy. Health authorities are checking the dog for rabies.'(2)

SUPER RATS ON MARCH IN ENGLAND: 'A hunt is on for an army of rats spotted on the march across southern England. The rats, 300 of them scurrying along in a column, were spotted by a night watchman at dawn yesterday near the Wiltshire town of Trowbridge. By the time a band of local authority rat catchers turned out, they had vanished. Local environmental officer, Mr Bill Grey, said: “It`s very unusual for rats to move in such numbers.” Naturalists have reported that a super-breed of rats, resistant to all normal poisons, is thriving in the rural counties of western England and starting to spread across the southern part of the country.' (3)

I wonder what became of these super-rats? Trowbridge is a rather Fortean town. I believe there was a shower of frogs there, c.1930s.

DOG FRIGHT: 'A police dog is missing at East Hanney, Oxfordshire, after running from a screeching sound it heard in woods while undergoing night training.' (4) I have written a note above this: November 20th 1964 Mystery animal seen at Nettlebed, Oxfordshire, Puma? Alien Animals [the book by the Bords]

DORMICE CLUE TO ROMAN BRITAIN: 'Discovery of the remains of three garden dormice not previously found in Britain has led archaeologists to believe that Roman Britain was not self-sufficient in grain. The presence of the dormice in the grain store discovered at South Shields suggests that they were taken there in bags of grain imported from abroad to feed the garrison.' (5)

GOOSE`S METEORIC FALL: 'A wild goose is thought to have been killed in mid-air by a falling meteoroite. Farmer Duncan Tesloss, of Polebrooke, Northants, was watching a flock passing overhead. “Suddenly there was a blue flash,” he says. "Something like a laser beam hit one of the geese and it dropped like a stone.”' (6)

And finally…FIRE FIGHTER: 'Firemen believe a blaze which damaged three homes in Paulsgrove, Hampshire, may have been caused by starling carrying a smouldering cigarette end back to its rooftop nest.' (7)

1. The Daily Mail. May 26th 1926.
2. The Guardian. April 29th 1986
3. South China Morning Post. November 10th 1982
4. The Guardian October 25th 1986
5. The Daily Telegraph February 17th 1987
6. The People March 22nd 1987
7. Daily Mirror March 13th 1987

Sorry no time for song lyrics tonight, however I conclude with a poem I wrote at the age of 10. (Yes, I know its ageist,but give me a break, I was only 10!)




Retrieverman said...

There is a problem with the theory on dormice, and I don't know why these experts didn't notice it. It is more likely that those dormice were brought with grain for another purpose.

They were actually brought to Britain to be eaten.

The Romans loved to eat dormice and raised them for that purpose.

"One of the most intriguing of the Ancient Roman recipes is for the dormouse. Probably because the thought of it feels us with horror! The edible dormouse was farmed by the Romans in large pits or in terra cotta containers and eaten by the ancient Romans as a snack or as part of the first course of the Roman main meal called the Coena. Dormouse recipe serving instructions: Dormice were sprinkled with poppy-seed and honey and were served with hot sausages on a silver gridiron, underneath which were damson plums and pomegranate seeds."


Retrieverman said...

Garden dormice (I didn't notice the word garden) are not the same species as the so-called edible dormouse.

Neither species is native to Britain, and the existence of edible dormice in the country happened only because some escaped from 2nd Baron Rothschild's estate at Tring (which is now a zoological museum of sorts.)

It is possible that the Romans could have brought garden dormice as a substitute species.

Oll Lewis said...

RE dog bites man, I was scanning in an article today for inclusion in the archives about a man biting a snake in Edinburg, Texas, USA. The fellow in question had been bitten by a coral snake so quick as a flash he grabbed the snake and bit it's head off and used the skin as a tourniquet to stop the venom spreading. Disgusting and cruel to animals to say the least, but it did save his life.

Anyway, I'm sure Alfred Harmsworth would approve, keep an eye out for that in a future archive update.