A daily look at life's oddities by Ana Samways

Sideswipe: June 3: Rainbows everywhere, must be a ...

Leprechaun convention.
Leprechaun convention.

Only one right answer in multiple choice quiz

A quick pop quiz for Auckland bus drivers. You are in stop/start traffic and you come up behind a cyclist do you:

a) Look 30m ahead and see traffic has stopped, calculate that you won't safely make it past the cyclist, remember that as a professional driver you will treat others with the same respect that you expect, and wait patiently behind them for 5 seconds.

b) Curse the cyclist under your breath for being slower than you, and ruining your life. Drive closely behind him to remind him that you are the Alpha male.

c) See something smaller than your bus ahead of you to the left, drive up and alongside it. As the road narrows move over to the left. You can't see that thing anymore so it must have disappeared. Keep moving left until you are in the gutter. Stop the bus as traffic is stationary.

Hear a faint yell and bang on the side of the bus. Presume is yet another mechanical problem with the bus, and ignore it.

At last an explanation!
At last an explanation!

Sweet rat trap

Scientists have discovered a new plant that eats rats, whole. This new species of pitcher plant on Mt Victoria in the Philippines is the largest carnivorous plant ever discovered, and has been named after Sir David Attenborough. Most meat-eating pitcher plants eat insects and spiders - if an unlucky mouse or bird became a meal, that was a rare treat. But the giant N. attenboroughii is a vertebrate specialist. According to, the plant lures in the rats with sweet nectar. "When the rat leans in to drink the saccharine liquid, it slips on the pitcher's waxy interior, and gets stuck in the gooey sap. Once it is trapped, acid-like digestive enzymes break down the still-living rodent."

Terrifying fungus.
Terrifying fungus.

Picture this: There isn't a more appropriate common name for this saprobic fungus that grows at the base of rotting tree stumps... Read more about Dead Man's Fingers here...

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