And now for something completely different

Whew! That was a heavy way to start the morning. I need a palate cleanser -- something that's cute and fanciful and playful and the exact opposite of a serial killer. I need...

The world's silliest animal: the tapir. From Tapirback:

  • There are four species of tapirs worldwide, and all of them have babies with striped coats that make them look like "watermelons on legs." They lose the stripes within the first year of life.
  • Nobody knows whether their ancient ancestors began in Asia or North America. Tapir fossils for millions of years back can be found in Asia, Europe, and the U.S., but there are none in Africa, Australia, or [editor's note: unsurprisingly] Antarctica. Today, tapirs live only in South America and Southeast Asia.
  • They'll eat basically anything, but almost all of them love bananas.
  • The tapirs featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey are Tapirus terrestris, or lowland (Brazilian) tapirs, which would not survive in the desert environment Kubrick designed for them. These particular ones came from the Twycross Zoo in England.
  • Apparently the great French zoologist Georges Cuvier once announced to the world that all the large land mammals had already been discovered. The next year, the Malayan tapir became known to Western science.

_39482725_pa200baby.jpgHere's one more fact we didn't find on Tapirback: The male tapir is so well endowed that, when he's in a good mood, his manhood can extend past his front legs.

If you're near a zoo that has a tapir, particularly a baby one, go visit! If not, at least check out this blog that's entirely about tapirs -- because it wouldn't be the interweb if there weren't one of those.

Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London

Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?

Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at


More from mental floss studios