Q: Critter Corner,
How comes girwaffes [sic] have such long necks?
—Billy, age 6
A: Well, Billy, the giraffe’s elongated neck is a result of an evolutionary advantage developed over time. Let me illustrate allegorically: In prehistoric times, giraffes looked more like horses and had normal-sized necks. At some point, a young teenage giraffe, who we’ll call Geoffrey, was sticking out his neck and making goofy sounds. “Geoffrey,” his mother said, “stop that! If you keep stretching your neck out like that it’s going to stay that way.” And you know what? She was right. Geoffrey was sad for a long time and the other giraffes made fun of him. But then a drought came and food was scarce and Geoffrey’s stuck neck let him eat higher leaves. He was the only giraffe that survived. Remember this story the next time your mother tells you what to do. It might just save your life.
Q: Dear Lincoln,
We often hear about the amazing abilities of other animals, such as the incredible strength of ants, the jumping power of fleas, and the speed of cheetahs. Is there anything that humans are the best at?
—Cathy, age 12
A: I hate to break it to you, Cathy, but those “facts” are little more than myths. The average ant can barely lift a bread crumb, and I have never seen a flea that could jump high enough to slam-dunk like NBA All-Star shooting guard Kobe Bryant (swoosh!).
And, while a cheetah might be able to outrun your average man, what if that man is holding a gun? I don’t know any cheetahs that can outrun a bullet. Do you, Cathy?
Q: Hey Critter Corner,
Which bird has the best breasts? The Blue-Footed !? Haha.
—Frank, age 14
A: That is an interesting question, Frank. Which criteria do I use to judge a bird’s breast? Richness of color, expansion during song, or feather size and pattern? I guess I’d have to go with the great titmouse.
Q: Dear Critter Corner,
My dog Snort, a pug, always seems to be snorting and wheezing. Is it true that pugs have breathing problems because of their short snouts?
—Chester, age 9
A: Chester, while it is true that scientists used to believe the respiratory problems of pugs were a result of generations of selective breeding that led to abnormally short snouts, we now know pugs have trouble breathing because God doesn’t want them to live.
Well, that’s it for this week, kids. I leave you, as always, with a safety tip:
Sharks. It seems like every week we hear about their terrifying attacks, but you won’t have to be the next victim if you remember one simple thing. Sharks live in the cold, hateful bowels of the earth and warm water irritates their sensitive skin. If a shark attack occurs in a river or backyard pool, try urinating into the water around you. If a shark sneaks up during a shower, flip off the cold-water knob immediately! These tactics should send the hell-spawned beast back to the murky depths it came from.