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March 20, 2024 60 mins

Today on the show, we're doing a re-broadcast of an Easter classic! We're firing the Easter Bunny and looking for a replacement! That's right E.B., you're getting benched and we're sending another animal out there to make merry with the eggs and the flowers!

Guest: Soren Bowie 

Footnotes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uBq4b0mnk0TsQJfe5CqOZSg3Yk8CqCZ5vG5I1CgsYM8/edit?usp=sharing

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:07):
Welcome to Creature feature production of iHeartRadio. I'm your host
of Many Parasites, Katie Golden. I studied psychology and evolutionary biology,
and today on the show, we're firing the Easter Bunny
and looking for a replacement. That's right, ebee, you're getting
benched and we're sending in another animal out there to
make mary with the eggs and the flowers and the

(00:27):
chocolates and so on. We've got three candidates on the
show today, each of whom may be able to beat
the Easter bunny at his own game. From the mountains
to the deserts to the Australian outback. Our contenders aren't bunnies,
but that doesn't mean they can't hop a dig and
maybe even deliver you a bouquet of fresh flowers. Discover

(00:47):
this and more as we answer the age old question
what did rabbits ever do? To the Foundation for Rabbit
Free Australia. Joining me today to give the Easter Bunny
the boot is front of the show, co host of
Quick Question with So and Daniel and comedy writer Soren Booie.

Speaker 2 (01:03):
Welcome, Hey, thank you very much for having me giving
this an opportunity to kick that Easter bunny and right
in thee on this.

Speaker 1 (01:13):
I put a little quack sound over it, like a
little duck quack, so you can't it's funny. Yeah, yeah,
that's cute.

Speaker 2 (01:20):
All right, Well I'll stick with butt for now. People
hear my voice.

Speaker 1 (01:26):
So, I mean, look, the Easter Bunny has had a
good run. But I think we can all agree that.

Speaker 2 (01:33):
It gets two goods. I would say it gets old.

Speaker 1 (01:37):
You know, the nose twitching, the ears, the floppy ears,
the cottontail. It's he's like he's a one trick bunny.
He's a one trick bunny.

Speaker 2 (01:48):
Yeah, I would say so.

Speaker 1 (01:50):
So I actually thought of this idea because when I
asked you if you wanted to guess on the show,
you were really interested in talking about the pika.

Speaker 2 (01:59):
Yes, yeah, I so I grew up. I grew up
among the pika. Ah.

Speaker 1 (02:05):
They raised you from a feral time.

Speaker 2 (02:09):
Up in the scree of the mountains. We lived in
the tiny holes of the screen, sort.

Speaker 1 (02:14):
Of like the Jungle Book, except the Alpine book. And
you learned the way of the pika. Right.

Speaker 2 (02:24):
Yeah, I guess my sheir con was sort of like
an eagle. Yeah, because that was the natural enemy.

Speaker 1 (02:30):
Yeah, a hawk.

Speaker 2 (02:31):
Yeah. So I grew up in Colorado and from an
early age, it's you're very encouraged from an early age
to climb mountains, like your parents are like, I think
you're about old enough that we can go climb something.
And guaranteed as soon as you get above timberline, which
just means like where that there's not enough air for
the trees to survive, then you run into these. You

(02:53):
run into these, you'll hear these little, tiny, adorable squeaks
up there and it's up and I don't know who's
like been up above like twelve thousand feet, but there's
like it's all rock up there. It's giant boulders and
you just like they're deep. I mean you can kind
of like if you dropped a water bottle, you could
you could lose it inside these essentially crevasses of rock. Yeah,
And that's where these pika would live and they come

(03:15):
out and they're so territorial, but it's adorable because they're
there look like little cotton balls, essentially, the gray cotton balls.
They're so cute. They're round and they come out and
they yell at you, and they're yell is so it's
just a little squeak and it's so nice. It's like
they're they're adorable little animals. And uh, I feel like

(03:35):
you don't even need to do like the laying egg piece.
You could just double up. You just have this round
animal be the egg itself. Yeah, so you get like
little pikas and then you just open up the pika
and your treats are in there.

Speaker 1 (03:47):
Right wait right wait, yes, okay. So to give the
listener and sample of the pika call, it is it
is astounding. So this is but a pika sounds like
just to sort of eh.

Speaker 2 (04:08):
E. That's and like in pika that means you get
out of here, get out of here, get up along.

Speaker 1 (04:16):
Here, Yes exactly. Yeah. So pikas have a variety of
calls and songs they use for communication. The purpose of
the calls can range from calling cards for individuals, attracting mates,
territory defense, or warning of predators. So they they really

(04:38):
are extremely verbal, which is I think it feels unusual
for little animals like this. Often they tend to lay low,
maybe not make a lot of noise, not make a
lot of loud calls. But these guys really do an
interesting thing so we are talking about replacing the Easter bunny,
and of all the animals that we're going to talk

(04:59):
about that look like bunnies on this show, this is
the one that looks the least like a bunny, but
it is the most related to rabbits. It is not
a rodent. It is actually in the lagomorph order, which
is also what rabbits belong to.

Speaker 2 (05:16):
Yeah, I heard that. I mean, they look kind of
like hamsters, are like gerbils. But then I remember somebody
telling me, no, no, no, they're more like a rabbit. And
I was like, okay, you don't you don't know what
you're talking about. Maybe you've just never seen a hamster.
This is a hamster.

Speaker 1 (05:30):
Yeah, no, they do. They look like large hamsters. They're
not big. They're like a sort of you could hold
one in your hand. It's like a handful of hamster.
And they have these round ears. They're very fluffy, like
you said, like little little egg shaped poofballs. They don't
have a visible tail. They actually do have a tail,

(05:50):
but it's just buried under all of their fluff, so
you can't really see it. But even though they look
like a rodent, they are in fact much more related
to a rabbit in fact, like lagomorpha. The order it's
rabbits and pike is and that's it.

Speaker 2 (06:05):
I didn't know that. I have a question for you.
Do this is? This is going to sound like a
dumb question, but but I need to know.

Speaker 1 (06:14):
I'll oh, yes they do. And the way I know
this is I have been peed on by a rabbit.

Speaker 2 (06:22):
Uh my, oh very scientific.

Speaker 1 (06:25):
Yes. My my friend had a rabbit when I was
a kid, and it not only kicked me very hard,
it also flicked a bunch of pea on me, which
I've heard is like a I guess I don't know
too much about domesticated rabbits, but I think that they
sometimes flick their pe as, sort of like a territorial thing.
So yeah, yeah, so.

Speaker 2 (06:47):
It I'm going to steal that. I'm letting it down what.

Speaker 1 (06:51):
We can learn from rabbits. But what I mean, it's
not a dumb question, but a weird one. So why
do you ask?

Speaker 2 (06:58):
I asked, because I so, And maybe this I don't
know if this is true, because obviously all of my
information about pikea come from seeing them and then somebody
telling me things about them. They said that because water
is also very hard to come by up there, except
in the winter when there's snow fields everywhere. But during
the regular like the sunny season may through like August,

(07:21):
there's not a ton of rainstorms up there. And I
heard that the way that one of the things that
they do it to save water, the pika is that
they get a lot of their water from the food
that they eat, and then they like birds, they just
it's all comes out of one place, like when they
poop and pee. It's all just like one collective. It's
just like this white blop that comes out.

Speaker 1 (07:41):
I mean, I know, they do not have a kloaca
like a bird does. So birds actually have a cloaca.
It's like the magical hole that does it all, is
what I like to call it on the show. It's
where pee, poop, eggs, and sex all happens. But with pecas, no,
they do. They do not have a but they do

(08:01):
I think similar to bunnies. They produce a kind of
weird poop that they will eat that looks kind of
more like a it's kind of a more moist kind
of thing, and so they may eat that to like
retain their moisture. But yeah, they get they get most
of their their fluid.

Speaker 2 (08:18):
From treats for themselves.

Speaker 1 (08:20):
Exactly. Yeah, yeah, hot out of the oven, which is there,
but so so yeah. So the the pika, as you mentioned,
are found in mountainous regions, often where a lot of
wild flowers grow. They're found in North America, like you said,

(08:41):
in the mountains of Colorado. They're also found in Asia.
The American pika is found in the mountains of western
United States and southwestern Canada, and the colored pika is
found in Alaska, the Yukon, and British Columbia. So there
are many more species though, than just the American pika

(09:02):
and the collared pika. There are thirty four different species
of pika, all extremely adorable. They're typically around six to
eight inches big or fifteen to twenty centimeters long, sometimes smaller,
sometimes a little bigger. They usually weigh less than a
pound at like one hundred and twenty grams. The biggest

(09:24):
pika I think is the illy pika of the Tianshan
Mountains in China, which is over twenty centimeters long and
about two hundred and fifty grams, which wow, so large.
Good job, little buddies, you did it. But they're very cute.
They have very fluffy ears, and they're adorable.

Speaker 2 (09:48):
Are they? Is this one of those situations where an
animal just walks over the bearing straight and we're all like,
that's fine, a hundreds and thousand miles And that's why
it's in both these plates, in both these continents. I mean,
is this like a animal?

Speaker 1 (10:02):
That's a really good question. I actually don't know that
far back in their evolutionary history. It can be surprising.
Sometimes there are animals and I'm not saying this is
true with the pika because I don't actually know, but
there's some animals that actually originated in America that end
up in crazy parts of the world, like I think marsupials.

(10:23):
There is some evidence to suggest that marsupials actually originated
in America, And now, whoa, Almost all marsupials are in
Australia except for one, which is the possum, which is
still in America, and it's like the only North American marsupial,
whereas like the rest of them are in Australia. So
that could be the case with the pika. I don't know.

(10:46):
I would be talking out of my butt, which unfortunately
does not produce tasty treats like the pika's butts do.

Speaker 2 (10:53):
Yeah, we're not talking of our bus today. We're here
for kicking butts easter bunnies.

Speaker 1 (10:57):
But that's right.

Speaker 2 (10:58):
I wonder if U, like, if there was like a
prehistoric I went to the tar pits recently with my
son and we looked at all the there's just yeah,
seeing all the ice age creatures, it's just everything is
similar except bigger, Like there were just animals were just bigger,
like a sloth. The sloth is like the size of
a cow and maybe a bigger And I'm just sort

(11:19):
of hoping that like, at some point there was a
bigger pika out there that was just like contending with
a saber to a tiger in the mountains. And then
at a certain point it got small, but its attitude
did not. It still stayed. It still continued to believe
it was a kind of creature.

Speaker 1 (11:34):
Yeah, sloms have a kind of confidence of like I
used to be bigger. I used to be big enough
to like icha and just like see ya slowly move away.
I actually just just quickly googled it. It looks like
the fossil evidence now points towards the pike is actually

(11:54):
originating in Central Asia and then dispersing from there. So okay,
you know that's my uh transition from phylogeny song I guess. So, yeah,
they are so so cute. Their physical appearance is very

(12:15):
different from rabbits, even though they are cousins, and uh
you know they actually we we talked about those calls
as amazing little eh e calls that they make. They
actually can have different dialects based on where they're located,
So the same species can have a different dialect than
their their relatives that live somewhere else, which I think

(12:39):
is really interesting.

Speaker 2 (12:40):
That's so if you listen hard enough, you could hear
an accent among the.

Speaker 1 (12:45):
I'm gonna say, yes, I think that's how the science
is conducted, just scientists listening very hard.

Speaker 2 (12:53):
Like I hear on that squeak.

Speaker 1 (13:00):
So yeah, Pikas live in very high altitudes. They're highly
adapted to cold weather, so much so that they can
actually easily overheat and die in temperatures as low as
seventy eight degrees fahrenheit or twenty six degrees celsius. So
they need to find shade in that instance, and they
can very very easily die from the heat.

Speaker 2 (13:21):
Oh man, is this am I about to find out
that global warming is killing my pika?

Speaker 1 (13:26):
Yes, I'm sorry. They're actually they're actually known as a
climate indicator species, a sort of canary in the coal
mine for climate change, because if their population declines, it's
a sign of climate increase, and so there are climate
scientists who will actually collect pika poop and measure stress

(13:48):
hormone levels in their poop to monitor temperature changes and
changes in their population.

Speaker 2 (13:56):
That's an insult to injury because the piko is like
not only dying off, They're like, I was gonna eat that?
What do you do it?

Speaker 1 (14:05):
I think they collect squeak? Hey stab it? Get away
from that. Uh yeah, I mean there to be very pedantic.
The poop that they collect is the actual poop. So
pikes are selective over which poop they eat. Uh and
rabbits actually, so they will only eat the special poop
that they poop out, not the uh not the regular poop.

(14:28):
So uh okay. This is my favorite thing about pike
is though, is that they collect flowers. They collect wild flowers,
and so they in the summer, they'll spend all summer
collecting wild flowers grasses for their din, and so they
don't eat it right away. They get a big bunch
of it and then run back to their din and

(14:49):
add it to this big pile, which is called the haystack.
And they because they don't hibernate, they stay awake during
you know, well maybe not a they may sleep, but
they don't hibernate, so they need food during the winter.
And it's exceedingly difficult to find any food in the
high altitudes during the winter, so having this huge stockpile

(15:12):
of food is necessary for their survival. But it is
so cute because you'll see them like with a huge
bouquet of flowers in their mouth and they're just running around.
Sometimes they'll like steal from each other, Like you see
one sneak up to another pika's haystack and like take
some flowers and run back to theirs and like pad

(15:33):
it in as if it belongs there. It's so cute.

Speaker 2 (15:37):
That is perfect for Easter.

Speaker 1 (15:39):
It couldn't get more perfect when is the easter bunny
hand delivered you a bouquet that it's stole from its neighbor.
And it's actually really interesting because they will pick out
toxic flowers because they have to store it for such
a long time that if the flowers get moldy, that

(16:02):
can be terrible, that that can be a death sentence
for them. So by picking out flowers that have toxins
in it, those toxins actually prevent the flowers from spoiling,
and by the time they eat them in the winter,
that toxin has degraded enough to the point where it
is now safe to eat. So they know not to
eat them right away, but they will store them and
age the flowers until they are perfect for eating.

Speaker 2 (16:26):
Fascinating. I didn't know they could do that. I also
didn't know that all those flowers up there were toxic.

Speaker 1 (16:31):
Yeah. It explains a lot, doesn't it. It does.

Speaker 2 (16:36):
I mean, poor poor flowers. Though that they have very
few there's very few things that are actually going to
be eating flowers up there. I mean you don't run
into a lot of animals at that altitude. Yeah, they're
not very many. And that they created They're like, oh,
we got this. We will create a toxin and then
no one will ever eat us. Like yeah, no, said

(16:57):
the pika, Like no, that's exactly what I wanted you.
Thank you very much.

Speaker 1 (17:02):
But it's so cute. You just gotta let them get
away with flower maritor. But yeah, so they will sometimes
go around, make back and forth trips to their din
two hundred times a day for the whole summer, collecting
these flowers until they have this massive pile, which yeah,
it's very important. They will need that to survive the winter.

(17:27):
But yeah, it is they are as cute as they
are the they take their survival incredibly seriously. This I
think this is my favorite aspect about them, how seriously
they take themselves. Like as they're running around with flowers
in their mouths, these little poof balls, squeaking angrily at
each other, it's they have such a such a pompous attitude,

(17:52):
and I love it.

Speaker 2 (17:56):
Yeah, it is really fun to see them because they
are they'll come right out on the rocks to be
like what's up, what's up, and yell at you. I
mean like they're like they come out like you're going
to be scared of them. Yeah, and it's it's just adorable.

Speaker 1 (18:08):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I love it. I love the undeserved
confidence these guys have.

Speaker 2 (18:14):
The Chihuahuas of the rabbit, the Chihuahuas of the rabbit world.

Speaker 1 (18:18):
I love that. So I think the Pika is a
pretty good candidate for replacement Easter Bunny or springtime rabbit
non denominational springtime rabbit. I guess it would be non
denominational springtime Pika, which I think would be a great

(18:38):
I would love I would go to that festival for sure.
There's actually a festival here in Italy. I think it's
in the summer or late spring, and it's a bunch
of snakes. Like they collect a bunch of snakes and
non poisonous snakes and just kind of put the I'm

(19:00):
on a pedestal of a saint. I forgot what the
saint's name is, but it's so awesome, and then afterwards
they release all the snakes back into the wild. So
I love it and I want to someday go to
the snake festival.

Speaker 2 (19:14):
What what on earth? What a crazy I mean, it's
a cool festival, but like, where how did that start?
Like we still got all the snakes, Saint, look here
they are and then just release them back into the wild.

Speaker 1 (19:28):
I mean, okay, So so it's it's Saint Dominico. Uh
and it's in Coculo, but yeah, it's it's held on
the first of May. So I haven't missed it yet.
And yeah, so it's it's like I think, originally I'm
trying to remember why they why why snakes? But it's

(19:49):
it's I think that originally they used to like have
a feast and eat the snakes afterwards, but now they
have stopped doing that because people are like don't want
to They don't want to hurt snakes anymore. They want
to be nice to the snakes, which I think is nice.
But I love that. I love that there's some Yes,
bunnies are cute, cute, sort of harbinger of spring, but uh,

(20:12):
you know, give snakes some love. They're cute too, I think.

Speaker 2 (20:16):
Yeah, would you see the first snake of the year.
It's springtime, you know it, right?

Speaker 1 (20:20):
If the snake sees its own what its own shadow.

Speaker 2 (20:26):
You know, it's tough. Yeah, it's tough animal for that.
It's like the one animal that doesn't have a show.

Speaker 1 (20:31):
Right, it's too close to the ground, so it's perpetually winter.
I guess. So, so our next candidate actually to replace
the easter bunny is the jerboa.

Speaker 2 (20:45):
Okay, I'm looking at it right now. Yes, this I
don't know the difference between this and a kangaroo rat.

Speaker 1 (20:52):
That's a very good point. So it is not to
be confused with the kangaroo mouse, which is found.

Speaker 2 (20:57):
In Oh sorry, I'm so sorry.

Speaker 1 (21:01):
The mouse it is found in the deserts of the US,
but the jerboa is actually found in North Africa and Asia.
It is also a desert rodent though, So okay. Yeah,
so the jerboa has back feet like a kangaroo, with

(21:21):
a tuft of fluff on their toes, a long tail,
typically with another tuft of fur on the end. Very adorable.
There are thirty three species of jerboa, so there are
a lot of different species. They all look a little
bit different. Some of them have incredibly long ears, and
some of them are teeny tiny, like smaller than a

(21:43):
ping pong ball. They are fascinating looking little guys, and
all of them, though, have this sort of kangaroo even
though some of them don't have really long ears and
some of them are smaller, they all have the kangaroo
leg looking legs and like a long, supportive kangaroo looking tail.

Speaker 2 (22:04):
Yeah, it looks like when these were being created that
that mother Nature ran out of legs for a rat
and was just like, here, I'll put some sandpiper legs
on this thing.

Speaker 1 (22:17):
Yeah, yeah, it kind of and it's it kind of
looks like a Character Creators sort of scenario too, where
it's like ear slider all the way up, side slider
all the way down for this one. It's there. They
are exceedingly cute. Some of them have this little snub
nose too, So not only do they have these really

(22:38):
long ears, they have this little almost pig like nose.
It is it is adorable. So they will eat seeds,
insects and plants, and they often travel six miles almost
ten kilometers every night for food. And yeah, so they
those long legs serve them in several ways, several important ways,

(23:01):
one of which is being able to travel long distances
to get food in the desert, which can be It
is a tough area to live in for animals, so
they have to have very very special adaptations to be
able to be able to thrive there.

Speaker 2 (23:18):
I'm just thinking about as that was lamenting the life
of the Jerboa because two tough it was to live
out in the desert. I was like, yeah, man, I
know it or a poor guys, it's a little tiny one,
like I don't know, what are they Are they eating vegetation?
What are these things eat? Insects?

Speaker 1 (23:33):
Yeah, so seeds, insects, plants, you know, a lot. They
have a kind of variety diet, which I think helps
them because you get what you can get in this.

Speaker 2 (23:45):
But are are the ears for hunting or are the
ears for predators?

Speaker 1 (23:49):
So the ears are, well, it's for two things. Predators
is an important one, being able to have sensitive hearing.
Probably they also do use them for hunting. But one
of the more surprising things is it's actually an air
conditioning unit. So by having these really long ears, the
blood flows through them and the heat from the blood

(24:12):
dissipates over this larger surface area of their ears, so
it helps keep them cool in really hot temperatures.

Speaker 2 (24:20):
That's fascinating. I know that the kangaroo rat has basically
a giant chamber in its skull right in its nose,
so that when it breathes in through its nose, it's
like this moist chamber in there and essentially acts like
an air conditioning unit where the air cools in like
the moisture of it. Does the jerboa have that too?

Speaker 1 (24:40):
Oh, that is such a good question. I'm not sure.
I gotta look it up yourboa nose.

Speaker 2 (24:48):
You're just gonna get a bunch of cute pictures.

Speaker 1 (24:50):
Oh it's so cute. I mean, it just says that
they have hog like noses in this shape helps the
gerbo forage and dig to find food and shelter. Let
me see bowen nose can air wait heat? There we go.
Now I'm not seeing anything about it. I'm seeing well

(25:10):
they've figured. Oh you still sound disappointed. I guess that's fine.
They got air conditioner ears, but not air conditioner nose.

Speaker 2 (25:19):
But yeah, they should talk to the kangarooret.

Speaker 1 (25:23):
I mean, I wonder who like plagiarized too in that scenario,
because they do look very similar. I think it's actually
a case of convergent evolution. So I don't I think
they're not super related. I think this is just like
a convergent evolution.

Speaker 2 (25:39):
Yeah, if the nose is any judge, these things are
most close related to piglets, not like piglets.

Speaker 1 (25:44):
Yes, yeah, so the huge feet though, we do have
to talk about those massive kangaroo feet. They allow them
to be highly mobile in the desert. They can run
up to fifteen miles per hour, which is twenty four
kilometers an hour. Faster than I think I can run

(26:08):
for sure, and yeah, it's it's incredible. They can also
jump two to three feet vertically, which is almost a
meter and ten times its own body lengthwise. And so
given that they're about the size of your palm, like
some are going to be smaller, like the pigmy Dribboa
is teeny tiny, and then other the long eared dribbo

(26:28):
is a little bigger than the pigmy dribbo. But let's
just say generally speaking, they're about the size of your palm,
maybe five inches or twelve centimeters, so scaled to human dimensions,
the speeds and distances that they can the speeds that
they can run in the distances they can jump. So
it would be like, first of all, having feet the

(26:50):
length of your torso and being able to run around
two hundred miles per hour or three hundred and twenty
kilometers an hour and jump fourteen feet or twelve meters
up in the air.

Speaker 2 (27:02):
Yeah, I mean I want that. I like that would
be nice. Yes, And and there's no like, there's no drawbacks.
I wouldn't be like, oh but I'm not so cute anymore, right, No,
these are way cute.

Speaker 1 (27:15):
Yeah, no, they're adorable. I mean the drawback I guess
is you are small and everything wants to eat you.
So you know, usually when you're running, it's not because
you're just having a fun marathon with those like tiny little,
tiny little placards that you're wearing and little other drboas
are tossing tiny cups of water in your face. It's

(27:38):
usually because you're running for your life.

Speaker 2 (27:41):
It would be fun, though, I know marathons. Now they've
got these, they've got tails that are like three times
as long as their body. Yes, By needs such a
long tail, Katie.

Speaker 1 (27:56):
It helps them balance because they're actually typically by pedals,
so they will do a hopping motion for running and
for walking, and so having that tail helps them balance
when they are hopping on two feet at these really
high speeds, because if they stumble, if they trip over
and lose their balance, that could be death for them,

(28:18):
because they often are chased by things like the desert fox,
which can be faster than them. But the thing that
they have going for them is their mobility, so they
can the dubo can run in a zigzag pattern and
be really really agile as they're running, so outmaneuvering their
predator can be as important as being fast.

Speaker 2 (28:42):
They know, Serpentine, Yeah, it's important. That's a good one.
I saw my son plays Freeze Tag. Now he's at
an age like that's that's that's the game. That's fun.
And I see him sometimes out there playing with the
older kids on the block and he just gets he
just gets chewed up by your kids, like they know,

(29:03):
especially when like he's it and somebody's frozen and he's
got to catch the last kid. Like he can't do
it because the kids are they're so fast because they're
you know, two years older, and then he's like they're
two feet taller. But I went out with him once
and I was like, I'm gonna teach you some strategies
for for when you play Freeze Tag that it is.
They're gonna help you and like you're not gonna beat

(29:24):
these guys with speed, so you're like, you need these
you need some moves, is what you need. And so
I went out and we worked on it, and that
was the first time that we had like practiced a
sport where he was like he just saw the tangible
benefit right away and was like, ah, you can see
the light in his I where he was like, I
want to learn more.

Speaker 1 (29:41):
Oh, that is so cute. Did you learn that from
your time being raised by pikas or by jerboa's It.

Speaker 2 (29:48):
Was the pika, Yeah, it was so. I'll you also
need a really long tail when you're up in the mountains.
The snow leopard will tell you all about it. When
you're like hunting and on the sides of mountains, you
need all that balance you can get.

Speaker 1 (30:01):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So so the jerboa, by by doing
that serpentine pattern that you are teaching your son, can
out maneuver things like desert foxes, owls, and snakes, which
is it's also good for your son. I'm I think like,
aside from freeze tag, the fact that your son can
now outmaneuver a desert fox is going to be really important.

Speaker 2 (30:24):
It's gonna be very helpful.

Speaker 1 (30:25):
They also, the jerboahs have tufts of hair on their
feet which act like little little running shoes because they.

Speaker 2 (30:33):
Oh my god, it's so cute.

Speaker 1 (30:37):
It's so cute because they provide some traction against the sand.
So it's like these little palm palms on their titsies
and it's you know, it's just it's so cute. It's
every adaptation that they have that for them is very serious.
Like I need these these running tufts otherwise I'm going
to be eaten viciously by a snake. Oh would you

(31:00):
use you cute? It's like, no, seriously, I will die
if I do not have these topuffs. I will die, Yes,
you will.

Speaker 2 (31:09):
I will eat you up. I'm going to eat you up.

Speaker 1 (31:12):
Oh, poor drabbos, it must be so hard to be taken.

Speaker 2 (31:15):
Seriously, hard life to carve out when you're so darn cute,
so darn cute.

Speaker 1 (31:22):
The long eared Drboa actually has one of the I
think actually the largest ear to body ratio in the
animal kingdom. I think their ears are like two thirds
the length of their body. It feels like if you
like kind of tossed one like a paper airplane, that
they would just like kind of take off. I'm not
don't do that, like not do that, but it seems

(31:46):
like that would be what would happen.

Speaker 2 (31:49):
Yeah, they've got I mean they've got huge eyes, big ears,
tiny little nose. Like the baby schema is clicking on
all cylinders with this animal.

Speaker 1 (31:57):
Yeah, I want to cuddle one of the so so bad.
They actually can carry some diseases, so you don't really
want to cuddle them. That is probably not they're actually
I think they're banned in the US as pets, which
is good because pet trade can be bad for animals.
But I think the reason is that they can spread.

(32:18):
I think it's a version of monkey pox actually geesus.

Speaker 2 (32:22):
Yeah, so it's just not In general, it's not a
great idea to have a pet's nocturnal anyway. Yeah, yeah,
you shouldn't be doing it. They're the cutest ones, obviously,
because they've got the biggest eyes.

Speaker 1 (32:32):
Biggest eze. Yeah, I mean, god, I remember having a
hamster in my room going at the wheel all night long, just.

Speaker 2 (32:39):
Like now it's time to exercise.

Speaker 1 (32:50):
We've talked about maybe having the Easter Pika, the Easter driboa,
both I think already like a vast improvement over the
Easter buddy.

Speaker 2 (32:59):
Right, hands, hands down, head and shoulders, even though they're
so small. Yeah, I mean not literally head and shoulders
over these your money, but figuratively.

Speaker 1 (33:07):
Because the pika is like both an egg and an
adorable creature all in one. The jerboa is, you know,
just the the kangaroo style hopping allows it to hold
a tiny basket. So you know, so you know, we've
got our non non denominational springtime Pika Festival. We've got

(33:31):
our jerboah Jerboa Bonanza I like to call this.

Speaker 2 (33:37):
Yeah, it's like we do the It's like a spring,
like the fun run in the spring. Yeah, fun run.

Speaker 1 (33:43):
Yeah. And just like instead of eggs, like little seeds
and insects that you feel that your BoA's basket with
this sounds like such a good holiday. Uh. And so
finally I want to talk about an animal that I
truly believe in to replace the Easter bunny, and that
is the Bilby of Australia.

Speaker 2 (34:07):
I'm not familiar with this animal. I'm looking at it
right now and I'm like, yeah, I don't know what
this is.

Speaker 1 (34:12):
This is it is an amazing and bizarre animal. And
I think people, I mean, certainly, I do underestimate how
many ding marsupials there are, because there are a lot
of weird marsupials. So this thing looks like uh, and
it looks like some kind of weird rabbit with a

(34:34):
long tail and a long snoot, or maybe even some
kind of ardwork. This is in fact a marsupial. This
is Australia's Easter Bunny, the bil b It's actually a
type of bandicoot, which are you know, they are a
group of marsupials, which is I guess that is the

(34:56):
inspiration for Crash Bandicoot the video game. Although if you
look at an actual bandicoot and you look at Crash Bandicoot,
it's that there's not it doesn't really look like a bandicoot.

Speaker 2 (35:08):
Yeah, something lost in translation. I think same way Donkey
Donkey Kong is a gorilla.

Speaker 1 (35:14):
They definitely don't wear Jinko jeans real bandicoot. But yeah,
so bandicoots are long snooted marsupials. They tend to have
sort of a shrew like appearance, but the bill b
has these long rabbit ears that kind of I think

(35:35):
elevates them to this special position of cuteness in my
humble opinion. So they have these long, thin, furry tail.
It would be mouse like this tail, except that it's
covered in fur. They have like a black stripe on
their tails, pink noses, and their bodies are overall sort

(35:57):
of a grayish tan color.

Speaker 2 (36:00):
Yeah, I would say that this animal seems to solve
a lot of the problems of the possum. Like the
possum has like some aesthetic issues in my opinion, it
really needs to work past. One is that bald tail
that it's got that like pink rat tail. It's also got.
Its ears are so like clipped to its head in

(36:20):
a really gross, weird way, and its nose is really
sharp and angular. And this one it still has the long,
kind of narrow nose, but it it pulls it off
a lot better. And then obviously it's got way bigger ears,
that's yeah. And then the tail it has the decency
to cover its tail in f.

Speaker 1 (36:37):
Yeah, and I appreciate that it's rude.

Speaker 2 (36:40):
It's so gross.

Speaker 1 (36:40):
It's a decent Honestly, I actually do love possums. There
to me to me cute, but I also think spiders
are cute, so I may have as somewhat skewed uh
skewed sense. There's actually the US alien possum, which is

(37:02):
super super cute. It is, I mean, it doesn't look
too much like the North American opossum, but they are.
I would definitely definitely recommend, yeah, a Google images search
of the Australian possum.

Speaker 2 (37:20):
Yeah, some genius has gone has gone to the like
when you first just look up the Australian possum. They've
they've put us side by side of the American possum
versus the Australian ones, so you can see both of
them side by side and be like, oh yeah, what
is clearly better here? The even like the American possum
has these like narrow evil eyes. They kind of slip

(37:42):
down its face like it's it's angry all the time.
Oh man, this, let's get this one. Let's trade.

Speaker 1 (37:52):
Now. American opossums serve a very important ecological purpose. They
do they do they they awful lot of diseases. They
eat a lot of ticks, so they prevent a lot
of lime disease.

Speaker 2 (38:07):
I keep them around.

Speaker 1 (38:10):
But yeah, so actually, the I should say, the Australian
possum is not really related to the North American opossum.
They're both marsupial, so they're both distantly related, but just
because they're both got possum and the name, they're not
actually that closely related aside from the whole marsupial thing.
Uh So, like probably the Australian possum is like I don't.

Speaker 2 (38:33):
Know her, Oh no, we don't, no, no.

Speaker 1 (38:38):
No, relation. Yeah, so back to.

Speaker 2 (38:41):
You're thinking of the opossum. You're thinking of the opossum.
That's not me. That's very different.

Speaker 1 (38:46):
Yeah, yeah, So back to the bill buh. The it is.
The bilbi is an objectively adorable creature. The little, the pointy,
little snowt the long ears, the fluffy tail, the large
ears that they have actually worked similarly to the giboa ears.
They help keep the bill be cool by dissipating heat,

(39:07):
and of course it also helps them to hear threats.
They are actually the largest of the little critters that
we're talking about today. They're around ten to twenty inches
or thirty to fifty centimeters long. Like other marsupials, they
have a pouch. They give birth to very premature young

(39:30):
that look more like a gross little jelly bean or
fetus than a newborn, and they actually give birth after
only fourteen days of development. And when they give birth,
that little tiny jelly bean with like tiny stubby legs

(39:50):
will crawl up into the mother's pouch and latch onto
a teat. Which is it is it's hardcore that they
expect so much like of course, we expect a lot
of our kids. Maybe we push kids too much with
extracurriculars and everything. But this is like, okay, now, climb
a hairy mountain that is your mom as soon as

(40:11):
you're born.

Speaker 2 (40:12):
Yeah, I don't know. I feel like marsupials have got us.
They've got us. They're a step ahead of us in
this respect that they having that pouch is so valuable
because you gestation does not need to be nearly as long. Yeah,
it's like kangaroos. Kangaroos are born they don't even like tadpoles. Basically,
they don't even have back legs. Essentially, like they crawl

(40:33):
up into the pocket and then they just hang out
in the pocket until they're enough to come out and explore.
And that's God, that's so great. I wish we had
something like that.

Speaker 1 (40:43):
I mean, you're telling me, yeah, it is. I am
very jealous of a lot of the way that a
lot of animals have decided to deal with bearing offspring.
I think that marsupials have a great system. In fact,
the bilby has such a good system here, you know
how like kangaroo pouch is open from the top. Billby

(41:06):
is like to burrow a lot, both in terms of
their dens but also for searching for food because they'll
eat anything from like spiders, insects, small animal seed, fruit, fungui.
So they'll dig for a lot of their food because
they love digging so much. If they their pouch opened

(41:28):
up at the top as they dig, their pouch would
just fill with dirt. So if they had they would
just like bury their young alive, which would be bad.
So instead their pouch actually opens up at the other
end at the bottom, and it's I mean, like the
entrance to the pouch is very like elastic, so it's
not just like this floppy kind of purse where the

(41:51):
babies are just gonna fall out, So that way, when
they're digging and burrowing, none of the dirt gets into
the pouch. But it also means that if they're just
like sitting there and you look at their butts, sometimes,
like for the females, sometimes you'll just see like a
little baby face come out from like where it looks
like she just has like a fully formed like little

(42:13):
baby like coming out of her butt. Of course, not
coming out of the butt, it's coming out of the pouch.
But it's very funny.

Speaker 2 (42:20):
I made the mistake of just searching for the bilby
pouch that I could see it, and I feel like
I should have done this with safe search on incognito window,
because it is there's like humans basically opening these pouches
up like and showing a baby inside of it is
as invasive. I'm scandalized.

Speaker 1 (42:45):
Yeah, yeah, just just leave the Bilbie pouch alone.

Speaker 2 (42:50):
Don't touch them.

Speaker 1 (42:51):
Don't touch them, so uh, Bilbie's unlike bunnies are omnivores,
so you know, already cooler than the easter bunny. I
love that they eat spiders. I mean, I do love spiders,
but I also really admire animals that eat spiders because
it's like, you know, it's just it's just cool, you
know what I mean. The legs don't bother them, they

(43:12):
have like uh you know, there's it's like, instead of
like smoking being cool, I feel like eating spiders should
be the new cool thing.

Speaker 2 (43:26):
Yeah, I'm very cool in my sleep. Then, from what I.

Speaker 1 (43:28):
Hear, not true, Actually that is, don't worry you don't
eat spiders in your sleep. Spiders do not want to
be eaten. Like it's the idea that we eat a
bunch of spiders in earth sleep sort of supposes that
spiders are like oh, a big wet, moist cave. Let
me go right in there.

Speaker 2 (43:49):
Let's see what we got in here rubbing their little
pants together. Let's see. Oh no, oh, this is worse.

Speaker 1 (43:54):
This is bad little caving equipment. When of those little
helmets with a light on it. But yeah, so they
can actually that that long snowt of theirs. They can
smell food underground, and they actually have a long, sticky
tongue that they can use to lap up either insects
or seeds from dug upholes in the ground. And in fact,

(44:17):
this method of eating means they ingest a lot of sand,
and so the sand they don't digest, it passes right
through them. So you can tell what Bilby poop is
because it's mostly sand.

Speaker 2 (44:32):
Oh gross, that's a terrible existence po sand. I don't
even like one of the beat Yeah, I don't like
going to the beach because I don't like getting Like
the idea of getting sand in your mouth is horrifying. Yes,
I it's the stuff of nightmare. It's just this whole
life is that. It's just everything tastes like that grain,

(44:52):
that sandwich that you accidentally dropped in sand, and you're.

Speaker 1 (44:55):
Like, oh no, I can tell it boogiey boarding and
stuff is like when you like going to shore and
then it's just sort of like sand getting into like
it's everywhere and it's bad and I sort of don't
understand people who enjoy the beach.

Speaker 2 (45:16):
Yeah, you'll be two days later you'll be like sand
will just fall out of your pants and you're like
where was that.

Speaker 1 (45:24):
You'll sneeze and like your hands are just full of sand.
But I guess they're into it, so you know, and
it's it's it's good for the environment because they're such
proficient diggers. They actually help till the soil and make

(45:44):
the ground more fertile for plants to grow. So hey,
you know, good for you.

Speaker 2 (45:52):
That's a good Easter bunny animal, a good replacement. It's
all about fertility, right.

Speaker 1 (46:00):
And probably people who are listening to this from Australia
are you know, saying like uh, yeah, no, we use
the bill be sometimes as our Easter bunny. And yes,
so in Australia there is a campaign to make the
Bill be the official Easter bunny. And it's really interesting
why so Chocolate Easter Bilbies have been sold for almost

(46:24):
thirty years in Australia with the funds going to the
Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia. So suck it bunnies.

Speaker 2 (46:34):
Whoa that is a Is that a genocide? What are
we talking about here.

Speaker 1 (46:41):
But bunageddon rabbit geddon Uh yeah, So why does Australia
hate rabbits? What have rabbits ever done to Australia. Well,
rabbits invaded Australia. They are an invasive species. Australia is
an island that is extremely prone to invasive species. I mean,

(47:01):
cane toad, cough cough, wink wink. I mean, I think
I'm among friends, say no more. And so these invasive
species can steal habitats resources, they can hunt native species.
Of course, rabbits are not predators. However, they you know,

(47:22):
breed extremely prolifically and they can eat a lot, and
so they steal resources from native animals like bill bees.
And so ecologists have declared war on invasive bunnies with
the easter bilby as their mascot. And I just love

(47:43):
I love that this. I don't know, it's such a
vindictive use of Easter.

Speaker 2 (47:54):
Yeah, just see you. It's like, well, we like this
other animal to be our Easter bunny and I was like, Okay,
that's fine, that's good, that's really cute. Yeah, and we
would also like to kill all the ones that you're using.
That would be nice if we just didn't have to
look at them anymore.

Speaker 1 (48:08):
Yeah, yeah, no, seriously, bunnies, get out, we will murder
you all. Yeah. No, it's I mean, I understand it though,
because when you have an island like Australia and you
have a lot of endemic species, that is, species that

(48:29):
are only found in Australia and nowhere else in the world,
and you have an invasive species that is threatening these animals,
you know, it's like, yeah, it is. It is a
serious problem. But yeah, I just the the aggressive, the
aggressive and angry energy of the Easter Bilby is is

(48:51):
incredible and I do love it.

Speaker 2 (48:54):
It does feel like nationalism to me, but that's fine, fine,
what's fine, sing animals. We haven't no one's no one's
decided to stick a claim in the ground over that,
so have added Australia.

Speaker 1 (49:09):
Yeah all right, Well, I'm going to agree with you.

Speaker 2 (49:13):
I think the Bilby could be a really good choice.
And already it seems like there's already momentum built behind it,
so they rabbit, and let's kill all of them. Let's
kill him here too, Let's just kill him. Let's kill
the rabbits. I think this is a great idea. That
Looney Tunes had it right. Kill the rabbit.

Speaker 1 (49:30):
Elmer Fudd had it right. Uncancel Elmer Fudd. He was right.
All So before we go, would you like to play
a little game?

Speaker 2 (49:44):
This is like the main reason I come, Katie. And
I was, in fact, as you're asking me what animal
I want to do this time, I was like the
castaway and I was like, no, damn it, that was
the animal last time. That This is just to make sure.
This is the game where I get to you play
an animal noise for me and I say, ah, I
know what that is, and I tell you what it

(50:04):
is and then the fun is over. But I look smart.

Speaker 1 (50:09):
Exactly. That is what this game. The game is makes
orn seem smart. Game.

Speaker 2 (50:14):
A love games like that. So I hear dog.

Speaker 1 (50:21):
That is the Great North Italian nesting dog. She gets
mad at the elevator, so I know it's it's a
it's a witchcraft that I think. I think science has
gone too far with the elevator. A people mover, excuse me,

(50:42):
people can move themselves, So ignore the dog the dog barking,
but please do listen to this, which is last week's
mystery animal sound. And the hint was could this be
the call of a unicorn? Wow?

Speaker 2 (51:06):
It was like echoey.

Speaker 1 (51:08):
So do you know who is squawking or talking or roaring?
Could be any animal.

Speaker 2 (51:16):
Oh, it's so deep and resonant, and it like sounds
like it's echoing wherever it is. I'm gonna say, hippo.

Speaker 1 (51:32):
Is that your final answer? Remember remember that show, Remember
Milan who Wants to Be a Millionaire? It's topical.

Speaker 2 (51:42):
Oh, does sound like here's the problem I'm having. It
sounds like so many savannah animals, but also like the
echo is really throwing me. It feels like it has
to be somewhere in a canyon. Uh, I'm gonna stay
with hippo.

Speaker 1 (51:56):
All right, Well you're close than that. It is an
ungulate like a hippo, but it is not a hippo.
It is actually the Arabian oryx so x. Yes, so
I was very shocked to hear this is what an

(52:16):
orc sounds like. It's just much more imposing. But the
Arabian ors is a really interesting animal and it is
it is something of a unicorn, both in terms of
its rarity and the mythology behind it. So the Arabian
ORX lives in the desert and step area of the

(52:40):
Arabian Peninsula, and it is a an antelope that it's not.
It's got sort of a I would say, you know,
formidable body like. It's not one of these very very
lean and sleek antelope. It's medium sized. The it's mostly
sort of this whitish color with some black markings on

(53:04):
its nose and legs. But the most remarkable part about
it is that it has these incredibly incredibly long horns
which are just they're very long, in pointy and frankly
menacing looking.

Speaker 2 (53:19):
Yeah, it would be hard for it to stab you
with those, though, I think because they're so long, they're
right unwieldy.

Speaker 1 (53:29):
It's actually both. Sometimes you'll have ungulates, you know, these
foved animals, where like only the males will have horns
or antlers, but in this case, both sexes actually have
these horns, so congratulations to them for a gender equitable society.
And they can be up to around thirty inches or

(53:49):
seventy five centimeters long, which is just incredible.

Speaker 2 (53:54):
Yeah, they're really big. Is it just they do they
use them like goats and sheep or they just are
button heads with each other.

Speaker 1 (54:01):
Yeah, so I think it is used in sort of
posturing displays. They like to avoid the conflict more and
they will use them to defend their territory. But they
when they're doing sort of like conflict amongst themselves, they
often will do a display kind of thing of like hey,
check out how big my horns are. Seriously, you don't

(54:23):
want to deal with these. So they like to avoid
injuring each other because and they would rather sort of
just intimidate each other with like the their horns.

Speaker 2 (54:33):
That checks out because it goes with the old adage
you mess with the orcs, you get the horns.

Speaker 1 (54:40):
Yes, yes, the classic adage. So yeah, And these orcs
actually may have helped contribute to the unicorn myth along
with other animals because the if people saw one of
these animals with just a single horn, or maybe found
one of these, it's thought that this may have led

(55:02):
people to believe that there is the mythical unicorn. And
because these are actually these are horns, therese are hollow
bones that don't regrow. If an orx loses one of them,
it will never grow it back, so it will appear
like a unicorn for the rest of its life.

Speaker 2 (55:23):
Oh man, I know it's kind of sad, right, Yeah,
I didn't I didn't know that that even happened. I
thought all animals were like elk and deer, where it's
just like you lose them every year and then you
grow them back.

Speaker 1 (55:37):
Yeah. I mean it's really interesting because like elk and deer,
antlers are there there's a lot of living tissue in there,
so like they and they will like near the base
of the horn and you know, they will break off
and regrown. When they regrow, they actually have this sort
of velvety skin coating on it that supplies to the

(56:00):
horn or the antlers as it grows. But yeah, with
these horns, they actually don't go through that cycle of regrowth.

Speaker 2 (56:07):
Interesting. Yeah, and well you stumped me, Katie.

Speaker 1 (56:12):
Yeah. And also, like unicorns, these are very they well,
they used to be exceedingly rare. They actually went extinct
in the wild in the seventies, but there was a
reintroduction program and now they do exist in the wild
and there's about over one thousand now in the wild.

(56:35):
So it's an incredible great. Yes, it's amazing, such good news.

Speaker 2 (56:40):
Okay, feel good story at the end.

Speaker 1 (56:46):
Yep, we got we gotta have those feel good stories
on this show.

Speaker 2 (56:51):
Yeah, considering the Pikes won't be around in six years,
this is good. It's good at least.

Speaker 1 (56:59):
Unless they up. And you've got an angry riding on
an Oryx with its mouthful of flowers.

Speaker 2 (57:07):
I think you just made the next Pixar movie. Yeah
that sounds great.

Speaker 1 (57:12):
Yeah, So onto this week's mystery animal sound. The hint
does this ring a bell? So? Who do you think
is making that sound? God?

Speaker 2 (57:32):
I at first I want to say a bird, but
I'm pretty sure that that's a frog. If it's a bird,
I'm gonna be really in the weeds because I just
don't know them well enough. But I'm going to say
that that is a That is a type of frog.

Speaker 1 (57:48):
What an interesting guess, well, Soren. In fact, you'll find
out next week when we will reveal the answer to
this week's mystery sound next Wednesday for the next podcast.
Thank you so much for joining me today to talk.

Speaker 2 (58:04):
About Yeah, my pleasure, talk about.

Speaker 1 (58:06):
All the better candidates for I like bunnies. I gotta
say I gotta admit I do like buddies. I do
not hate bunnies. I think they're great.

Speaker 2 (58:16):
Yeah, they're fine, They're beIN nine, They're good.

Speaker 1 (58:18):
I guess So where can people find you?

Speaker 2 (58:22):
You can find me on Twitter at Soren Underscore Ltd.
You can find my podcast called Quick Question with Soren
and Daniel that I do with Daniel O'Brien, and you
can find my writings now on American Dad. Go watch
the show, and.

Speaker 1 (58:38):
If you think you know the answer to this week's
mister Animal sound, you can write to me at Creature
Futurepod at gmail dot com. I'm also on Twitter at
Creature Feet Pod. That is f e aight, not f
e et sounding very different. And hey, guess what, thank
you for watching the show. I really appreciate that. And
when you guys leave ratings and reviews, I scream in delight.

(59:03):
I like burst open my window and yell out onto
the streets of Italy. Hey, fish Master seventy six loves
my podcast, so suck it so And I am a
bit of a social pariah because of that, but I'm proud.
But yeah, no, I seriously do love like every time

(59:25):
someone writes in to the show or leaves a review
it really does make my day, so I really appreciate that.
And thanks to the Space Classics for their super awesome song.
Ex Alumina. Preacher features a production of iHeartRadio. For more
podcasts like the one you just heard, visit the iHeartRadio
app Apple Podcasts arts, where if you get your I mean,

(59:49):
I'm not gonna where we listen to podcasts. I'm not
gonna judge you. I mean, come on, come on, see
you next Wednesday.

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Katie Goldin

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