View previous topic | View next topic

Fleas

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

MatC
340007.  Tue May 20, 2008 4:30 am Reply with quote

Last nightís edition of ďUnbelievable TruthĒ (the QI tribute band) on R4, presented by David Mitchell, embarrassingly insisted (as a truth, I mean, not as one of the jokes) that hedgehogs die if their fleas are removed. I was amazed that anyone alive still believed that old cod - but I suppose itís testament to the power of the internet, that unrivalled instrument of re-medievalisation.

Itís a pity we havenít got some sort of professional body - the Chartered Society of Unusual Fact Gatherers - so that we could arrange for the lazy, 12-year-old* fucks who research Unbelievable Truth to be whipped in public.

Anyway, long preamble- what I meant to say is, have we ever done this as a Gen Ig? If not, letís; and, obviously, letís do it on a show which features David Mitchell.




*(I can prove they're 12 years old. In the same segment, Mitchell read out, as an amazing and hitherto unheard of fact, that the traditional way of cooking hedgehogs was to bake them in clay ... youíd have to be preteen to think that was worth mentioning, wouldn't you?)

 
Flash
340053.  Tue May 20, 2008 5:46 am Reply with quote

Good - are there other Unbelievable Truth gaffes that we could chuck at him all at once? And do you have further and better particulars on the hedgehog/flea thing?

 
MatC
340056.  Tue May 20, 2008 5:59 am Reply with quote

Yes, I can dig some out (fleas, I mean; I haven't noted any other UT howlers - might be worth asking for them on the outer fora?) I'm assuming we're too late for this series?

 
Flash
340061.  Tue May 20, 2008 6:15 am Reply with quote

Not too late - Mitchell's shows are all to come. On the other hand we do have fleas in tonight's show (but not Mitchell).

 
MatC
340066.  Tue May 20, 2008 6:31 am Reply with quote

Oh, right, then -

World's leading expert on hedgehogs is Pat Morris. His book ďThe new hedgehog bookĒ (Whittet Books, 2006) says

Quote:
People often worry that depriving a hedgehog of its fleas might be harmful in some way, but why should it? Would you mind? In fact, as hedgehogs appear completely indifferent to the presence of their fleas (even lots of them), it is hardly likely that they will be unduly bothered by their absence.


He also points out that hedgehogs in New Zealand (where they are an introduced species) have no fleas.

It is sometimes suggested (elsewhere) that this myth may have arisen from unsuitable (eg, cat and dog) flea powders being used on captive hedgehogs, which might poison the hogs. Obviously, if this is true, itís the pesticide thatís damaging them, not the absence of fleas.

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/FAQS/general.htm) says

Quote:
If it is necessary to remove fleas from a hedgehog, then a commercially prepared powder suitable for caged birds (Johnsonís Rid-Mite) can be dusted amongst the spines (taking care to avoid the eyes of the animal) as an adequate treatment, but do not use on very young hedgehogs.


Generally speaking, it seems thereís little point in removing the fleas because a) the hogs donít seem bothered by them, and b) they are species-specific - they won't bite you, or your pets.

If David M does fall for this forfeit, itíd be worth asking him what on earth he thought could possibly be the reason why an animal would die if you removed a pest from it!

 
MatC
340068.  Tue May 20, 2008 6:34 am Reply with quote

Ah - hereís a delightfully pseudo-scientific explanation of the myth:

Quote:
Here's a little-known fact... apparently if you de-flea a hedgehog it will die. They are evolved to withstand the constant blood-loss and biting that goes with so many fleas, so without fleas they end up with too much iron in the blood or something.



S: http://lowebrow.blogspot.com/2007/11/his-nose-pressed-in-pool-of-tears_22.html

 
MatC
340069.  Tue May 20, 2008 6:38 am Reply with quote

Even better!

Quote:
it seems more likely that we would end up like the urban myth about hedgehogs, which says that if you rid them of their fleas, they start to suffer from withdrawal symptoms.


S: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/features/article500205.ece

 
Flash
340128.  Tue May 20, 2008 7:54 am Reply with quote

Quote:
too much iron in the blood or something

is a jolly good attempt at an explanation, if you ask me.

 
Flash
340131.  Tue May 20, 2008 8:00 am Reply with quote

Hedgehog thread from last year starts at post 144723.

 
MatC
340138.  Tue May 20, 2008 8:05 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Quote:
too much iron in the blood or something

is a jolly good attempt at an explanation, if you ask me.


Yes, certainly; especially that "or something," which lends an air of irrefutability to the matter.

 
MatC
345591.  Tue May 27, 2008 4:25 am Reply with quote

In last night's Unbelievable Truth, David Mitchell said, rather scornfully, "I don't think they had cricket in Shakespeare's time."

Shakey died in 1616. According to Wikipedia:

Quote:
Despite many prior suggested references, the first definite reference to the game is found in a 1597 court case concerning dispute over a school's ownership of a plot of land. A 59-year old coroner, John Derrick, testified that he and his school friends had played kreckett on the site fifty years earlier. The school was the Royal Grammar School, Guildford, and Mr Derrick's account proves beyond reasonable doubt that the game was being played in Surrey c.1550.

The first reference to it being played as an adult sport was in 1611, when two men in Sussex were prosecuted for playing cricket on Sunday instead of going to church.

 
Flash
345597.  Tue May 27, 2008 4:36 am Reply with quote

Good. Keep 'em coming.

 
MatC
345600.  Tue May 27, 2008 4:40 am Reply with quote

The context was that football is mentioned in Shake, but cricket isn't; so the question might be along the lines of "David, why isn't there any cricket in Shakespeare's plays?"

 
Flash
345622.  Tue May 27, 2008 4:59 am Reply with quote

Do we have an "answer" to that?

 
eggshaped
345627.  Tue May 27, 2008 5:04 am Reply with quote

From squire:

Lancashire doesn't appear in the Domesday book where lands in the county are considered as parts of Cheshire and Yorkshire. The county only came into existence in 1183, the same year that Joseph of Exeter first recorded a sport resembling cricket.

Fact originally posted by Fred. post 31414

 

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group