• Weird Nature

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?). 

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  • 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!

  • Baby Ducks Are Thailand's Version Of Street Meat

    Photo: Trolleymusic / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Balut is a nice word for eating a baby duck. In this case, it's a duck that is nearly ready to hatch and boiled alive in the egg. It's considered a nighttime snack and possibly an aphrodisiac.

  • Elephant Polo Is Either Awesome Or Terrible

    Photo: Roderick Eime / flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The world is torn over elephant polo. On one hand, activists say that elephants just aren't meant to play polo and that it's animal exploitation. Those who are pro-elephant polo say that the elephants are rescued from horrible conditions and only have to play polo for 28 minutes a day and otherwise seem to have pretty cushy lives. (Reportedly, the elephants get into the game and trumpet when a goal is scored.)

    Elephant polo is most popular in Thailand and Nepal, and proceeds from the Elephant Polo King's Cup have contributed $1 million to elephant welfare efforts.

    The history of elephant polo doesn't go back to some ancient myth or tradition. Two guys from Britain decided in 1982 that playing polo on an elephant would increase tourism business, and apparently they were right.