Mississippi Teacher Corps

Friday, July 07, 2006

And now for something completely different...

My blog entries so far have been fairly serious and analytical and such, so I thought that I'd throw in one lighter blog before I go back to writing about more meaningful things.
So I like wildlife a lot: learning the names of different plant and animal species, and learning cool facts about them (OK, secret's out, I'm a dork). Mississippi has some pretty crazy wildlife, and though I haven't been able to go out and explore the forests and rivers and stuff as much as I would have liked since I arrived here, I've been trying to familiarize myself with the local creatures as much as I can. I'll do a little fact-or-fiction about two of the more interesting animals I've encountered. This stuff might sound really dull to some people, but I find it fascinating.
1. Armadillos
I have yet to see a live armadillo, although I've seen a couple dead ones by the side of the road. One night, when we were visiting some of the second-years at their house in the country, I came outside just after one of those weird things passed through the yard. I wanted to go into the soy bean fields to find it, but another first-year warned me to watch out for the armadillo, and I was sort of confused and said that I didn't think they were dangerous. He then informed me that armadillos are the most poisonous animals in the world, and that they will bite onto your leg and just knaw at it viciously. I still wanted to find a flashlight and scan the field for the armadillo, until my friend informed me that armadillos are attracted to the light! I sort of laughed at him and said, "What, would it charge me or something?" to which he told me that it pretty much would run at me, bite my leg if it could get at me, and not let go.
Several minutes later, he let me in on another fact: he made all of that up! Yes, you can laugh at my gullibility now, or, as said friend did, laugh at the fact that I'm teaching science next year.

2. "Alligator gar"
One day, another first-year told his students that he'd been swimming at Sardis Lake over the weekend, to which one student told him that he had to be careful of the "alligator gar fish" out there. Huh? According to this student, there were some kind of alligator fish things that could grow up to nearly eight feet long, and his dad, "had done near got his hand bit off by one of those!" Well, this sounded like a bunch of crazy talk. I mean, for one thing, what the heck is an "alligator fish" anyway, an alligator or a fish? We thought this kid was making up stuff. Then I went to good old wikipedia and found out that this kid was actually telling the truth! Among other things, these fish can actually EAT ALLIGATORS! Hearing about this weird creature made me feel less stupid about believing the stuff about armadillos; in my mind, at least, poisonous biting armadillos are less weird than alligator-eating fish.


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