11 Gross Animal Traditions From Around The World We Can't Unsee

The United States has plenty of horrific uses for animals - cockfighting, dog fighting - that still go on today. However, there are sometimes violent and always strange animal traditions around the world. Some uses for animals are medicinal, others are parts of festivals, and still others are simply PETA's nightmare. 

Rubbing guinea pigs all over someone's body to cure cancer has got to be high up on the list of strange animal-related behavior; however, drinking wine fermented with baby mice also supposedly cures plenty of ailments, especially asthma, and that is definitely up there.

To learn more strange, gross, or just plain weird animal traditions, read on. Some are sad, some are unbelievable, and others are actually kind of funny (cricket spitting in Indiana?). 

  • Put A Ferret Down Your Pants Because Of Course You Should

    If you don't excel at tennis or soccer, maybe the sport of ferret legging can be your thing. It's exactly what it sounds like - you tie a ferret in your pants (sans underwear) and see how long you can take it. FYI, ferrets have very sharp teeth and claws, and used to be used for hunting, so they don't have the kindest and cuddliest DNA.

    Reg Mellor, esteemed ferret legger, has kept a ferret in his pants for over five hours. He confirmed in an interview that yes, ferrets will bite "your tool." 

    Ferret legging got popular in the '70s, and there was even a ferret legging competition in Virginia in the early 2000s. It's thought that the sport originated from ferrets being smuggled when they were illegal in the Middle Ages.

  • Goats Have It Bad Basically All Over The World

    Goats Have It Bad Basically All Over The World
    Photo: Andrew Hill / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    For some reason, goats get a lot of abuse; a delicacy called "kutti pi" is, well, a goat fetus. A pregnant goat is killed and then someone - usually a pregnant woman - eats the fetus. It is only found in Anglo-Indian culture. 

    For some 200 years - possibly longer - residents of a small town in Spain would throw a live goat off of a tower to start off a festival because what says party more than throwing a goat off of a 50-foot tall church? The idea is that the people below will catch the goat with a sheet. Needless to say, sometimes this doesn't work out. If the goat happens to live, then it is respected in the town. If it doesn't live, well, that's pretty much that. Goat throwing is illegal now, but people continue to do it in the village of Manganeses de la Polvorosa.

    Buzkashi, the national sport of Afghanistan (really), is the Afghan version of polo. Their version of polo involves a decapitated goat (sometimes a calf) being dragged around and trampled by horses. The goat or calf is decapitated, disemboweled, and its legs are cut off before it is soaked overnight for use in the game.

  • Guinea Pigs Should Stay Away From Peru

    Guinea Pigs Should Stay Away From Peru
    Photo: Erin Koski / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    65 million guinea pigs are eaten each year in Peru. The idea that eating guinea pigs can cure cancer started with a 1944 study where a researcher injected guinea pig serum into mice that had cancerous tumors. Then, in 1961, another researcher explained how exactly guinea pigs can "cure" cancer: guinea pigs contain L-asparaginase, and - long story short - that compound basically ensures that tumors die off quickly and can't keep growing. Before you totally dismiss this claim, it's interesting to note that L-asparaginase is used in chemotherapy today.

    Shamans in Peru take this claim in an entirely different direction by rubbing someone's body with a still living guinea pig. The guinea pig "absorbs" ailments, so to speak. Then the guinea pig is killed and examined for evidence that it did indeed absorb whatever it was supposed to absorb. 

    L-asparaginase is one thing (and probably still not something to base your cancer treatment around); rubbing someone with a guinea pig is quite another. 

  • Next Time You Take A Sip Of Pinot, Be Glad It's Not Baby Mice Wine

    Next Time You Take A Sip Of Pinot, Be Glad It's Not Baby Mice Wine
    Photo: Muhammad Mahdi Karim / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Baby mice wine is considered a cure for asthma and many other ailments in China and Korea, where you can still find it today. The baby mice are drowned and then fermented for about a year, and then the wine is ready to drink. It's said to taste like gasoline.

  • Snakes, Crocodiles, And Alligators Are Abused By The Fashion Industry

    Snakes, Crocodiles, And Alligators Are Abused By The Fashion Industry
    Photo: Tomascastelazo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    A snakeskin belt, a crocodile skin purse, alligator skin boots - those skins come from somewhere, and it might very well be Thailand. Snakes are skinned alive after being nailed to a tree, and they can stay alive for hours after being skinned. Crocodiles are paralyzed - not killed, mind you - and skinned. It takes four crocodiles to create one purse. Indonesia fuels the same exotic skin industry that Thailand does.

  • Can You Spit A Long Way? Cricket Spitting Could Be For You

    If you thought cricket spitting was a bizarre vestige of the past in some remote tribe, think again - the home of cricket spitting is actually Lafayette, IN. One gentleman has spit a cricket 32 feet and one quarter of an inch. The sport is fairly new, originating in 1997 when a Purdue professor decided the world needed cricket spitting. It's been covered by CNN and ESPN. And it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like - you put a dead cricket in your mouth and spit it as far as you can. Have fun!