The Lion of Gripsholm Castle

Gripsholm Castle in Sweden
Gripsholm Castle in Sweden
iStock.com/AYImages

Swedish blogger Ulrika Good posted a story about a king and his lion that captured the internet, and turned a Swedish meme into an international sensation. She later put up an English version to replace the rough Google translation many were using. King Frederik I of Sweden was given gifts from the Bey  of Algiers in 1731. These included a lion, another wildcat, three hyenas, and a freed slave who became the animals' keeper. The creatures lived out their lives at Djurgården, the Royal Game Park.

Quite a few years after the lion died, some of its remains were sent to a taxidermist to be mounted. All that was left was the pelt and some bones. The taxidermist was not at all familiar with this animal called a lion. So he did the best he could with what he had. There's always the possibility that alcohol was involved.

The Warner Brothers School of Taxidermy did not exist in the 1700s, but many have pointed out how the lion's face resembles a cartoon. Good compared it with the dog Dug from the Pixar movie Up! Others thought it resembled Snagglepuss.

King Frederik's lion is on display to this day at Gripsholm Castle, a former royal residence and now a museum in Mariefred, Södermanland, Sweden. Some have speculated that the taxidermist may have used heraldic lion images as a guide, like the carved lion at Gripsholm Castle shown here. That would at least explain the tongue.

Good also pointed us to the lion's Facebook fan page, where you'll find a wonderful collection of tribute images. The lion of Gripsholm Castle has found a home anywhere lions exist in pop culture.

If you ever find yourself in Sweden with time on your hands, you can still see the lion at Gripsholm Castle which is open most afternoons. However, photography is not allowed.

Invasive Snakehead Fish That Can Breathe on Land Is Roaming Georgia

Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A fish recently found in Georgia has wildlife officials stirred up. In fact, they’re advising anyone who sees a northern snakehead to kill it on sight.

That death sentence might sound extreme, but there’s good reason for it. The northern snakehead, which can survive for brief periods on land and breathe air, is an invasive species in North America. With one specimen found in a privately owned pond in Gwinnett County, the state wants to take swift action to make certain the fish, which is native to East Asia, doesn’t continue to spread. Non-native species can upset local ecosystems by competing with native species for food and habitat.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is advising people who encounter the snakehead—a long, splotchy-brown fish that can reach 3 feet in length—to kill it and freeze it, then report the catch to the agency's fisheries office.

Wildlife authorities believe snakeheads wind up in non-native areas as a result of the aquarium trade or food industry. A snakehead was recently caught in southwestern Pennsylvania. The species has been spotted in 14 states.

[h/t CNN]

11 Funny Gag Gifts You Can Buy on Amazon

Chia Pet/Amazon
Chia Pet/Amazon

Buying gifts for a friend or loved one can be stressful, but a funny gag gift can bring a little levity to any occasion. Whether you’re looking for the perfect hilarious birthday present, or just want to give one as a prank, we’ve got gag gift ideas for a range of different types of humor—and they prove there's no present sweeter than the gift of laughter.

1. Thor’s Hammer Bottle Opener

Thor's Hammer Bottle Opener.
Lmaytech/Amazon

This model of Thor's hammer won’t grant you dominion over thunder and lightning, but it will make short work of bottle caps: It's equipped with an opener at one end and a chain on the other for easy attachment. It comes in silver and bronze, with the famous line, "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor," emblazoned on the side. And because it's fairly lightweight, you don’t need the strength of a demigod to wield it.

Buy It: Amazon ($12)

2. Burrito Blanket

A burrito blanket gag gift you can buy on Amazon.
mermaker/Amazon

Available in a variety of styles and sizes, the burrito blanket is the perfect gag gift for the foodie in your life. Rolling yourself up inside one of these circular, tortilla-patterned numbers is a riot—and since they’re made with extra-soft flannel, it’s a comfy experience to boot!

Buy It: Amazon ($25)

3. UFO Plant Holder

A UFO plant holder gag gift on Amazon.
Fred & Friends/Amazon

Instead of little green men, this UFO-shaped container holds little green houseplants. Hang the tiny mothership from your ceiling with the silver cord—or prop it up at ground level, if you prefer. At 5.25 inches wide by 4.5 inches tall, it’s the ideal size for cacti, jade plants, and other popular greens.

Buy It: Amazon ($18)

4. How to Tell if Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You

The Best Gag Gifts to Buy on Amazon.
The Oatmeal/Amazon

You love your cat—but do you really trust your cat? How to Tell if Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You shows you all of the warning signs that your favorite feline might, in fact, be a tiny killer. Full of hilarious comics from Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal), this book is a twisted little gag gift perfect for cat lovers with a sense of humor.

Buy It: Amazon ($15)

5. Golden Girls Coloring Book

A Golden Girls coloring book gag gift.
DBG/Amazon

You’re not going to prank your friends with a Golden Girls coloring book gag gift, but they’ll definitely get a laugh out of it. Get your friend some colored pencils and watch them do their best to add life to the pantsuits and gourmet cheesecakes of Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia.

Buy It: Amazon ($12)

6. Toilet Coffee Mug

A toilet mug gag gift you can buy on Amazon.
BigMouth Inc/Amazon

Feeling flushed? Perk yourself up with a swig of your favorite beverage from this toilet-shaped coffee mug gag gift. It holds over 15 ounces worth of liquid and is pretty much guaranteed to make your co-workers do a double take.

Buy It: Amazon ($13)

7. World’s Smallest Vacuum

A vacuum gag gift you can buy on Amazon.
Westminster/Amazon

This gag gift literally sucks. Despite being a little over 5 inches long, it’s a functional vacuum cleaner perfect for tight spaces. Just plug it in and suck up all those crumbs that mysteriously appeared on your desk. The mini vacuum is also a great tool for cleaning keyboards—and should get some hearty laughs in the process.

Buy It: Amazon ($14)

8. Poop Emoji Chia Pet

Poop Emoji Chia Pet Gag Gift.
Chia

Look at the sneaky smile on this Chia Pet's face. OK, so it might not be the puppy or kitten Chia Pet that you're used to, but this poop emoji pet ;should absolutely be a contender if you're searching for the best gag gift for a friend who views toilet humor as high art.

Buy It: Amazon ($17)

9. “Cat Bods” Toy Box

The best gag gift to buy on Amazon for a cat lover.
30 Watt/Amazon

Like moths drawn to a flame, cats can’t resist cardboard boxes. But they’ll never find a cooler one than this little beauty. Four of the outside walls are decorated with dynamic pictures of daring astronauts, muscle-bound bodybuilders, and other go-getters. Carefully placed holes allow your cat to become a part of these scenes when it pokes its head through. Keep a camera handy and enjoy the show.

Buy It: Amazon ($9)

10. Unisex Bass Sandals

Bass slipper gag gift on Amazon.
Han shan/Amazon

Talk about going against the current. Vibrantly colored, slack-jawed fish sandals are unlike anything else you’re likely to see at the beach (or anywhere, really). Just like real fish, their sizes and colors vary.

Buy It: Amazon ($18-$22)

11. Pooping Pooches 2020 WalL Calendar

Pooping Pooches 2020 Wall Calendar.
Pooping Pooches

It's just man's best friend doing their business, but now you can put it right on your wall. This Pooping Pooches calendar is just offbeat enough to bring a smile to the face of any animal lover. And they'll be even more thankful once you tell them that $1 from every calendar sold is donated to the Maui Humane Society to support animals in need. So get a gag gift for a good cause.

Buy It: Amazon ($17)

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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