Monday, May 11, 2009
Pigeon-Toed Snake Gopher
Here's an amazing fact. When it's anxious, the Pigeon-toed Snake Gopher, a denizen of Equatorial Brazil, radiates a magnetic field that can disrupt compasses and make cutlery stick together. Snake Gophers, which live primarily in tributaries of the Amazon river, have been known to generate magnetic fields so strong that they capsize boats and pull crates of machinery overboard. One section of river carries warning signs and special buoys to warn sailors.
The Pigeon-Toed Snake Gopher was first documented by Portuguese missonaries in the 18th century, who were baffled by the continuing loss of silverware, pens, and metal tools. The missionaries conducted a series of experiments that allowed them to track a Snake Gopher back to its lair, where it found a pile of silverware the size of a Toyota Camry, along with a family of Snake Gophers. Sadly, the missionaries also found a tribe of cannibals, and were never heard from again. Their journals, ending in mid-sentence, were discovered by archeologists in 1922.
The Pigeon-Toed Snake Gopher sports a beak strong enough to crush stone and can grow to lengths of 16 feet. The creatures are remarkably shy, and seeing one is thought to be a very bad omen. While virtually blind, a Snake Gopher can move disconcertingly fast, even on land. More than one explorer has been horrified to have a gun or knife pulled out of their hand by an inexplicable magnetic field as an angry Snake Gopher bears down on them.
Cajun artist George Rodrigue, now famous for his "blue dog" paintings, actually began his career painting green Pigeon-Toed Snake Gophers - when they didn't sell, he switched to dogs. Famed dramatic theorist Augusto Boal was once attacked by a Snake Gopher in a Sao Paulo zoo while performing a public theatre project. The Brazilian movie Lisbela e o Prisoneiro features a famous sequence where a Pigeon-Toed Snake Gopher is trapped in a restaurant kitchen, with hilarious results. It was rumored that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher kept a Snake Gopher as a pet while living at 10 Downing Street in the 1980's.