CLOSE
Original image

5 Fictional Bears and Whether They'd Kill You

Original image

From docile to deadly, we’ve ranked our favorite fictional bears by your likelihood of surviving an unplanned run-in with them.

1. PADDINGTON BEAR (ANDEAN BEAR)

The only bears native to Paddington’s home country of Peru, Andeans are docile omnivores. When they see (or smell) a human, their first move is to bolt up a tree. Unless you’re packing one of Paddington’s marmalade sandwiches, you’re probably in the clear.

2. SMOKEY (AMERICAN BLACK BEAR)

Smoke the Bear

Jim, The Photographer, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Unlike their grizzly cousins, black bears are pretty timid. Smokey might charge if he felt threatened or thought you were starting a forest fire, but it would be a bluff to make you run away. Fight back and you’ll probably live ... to tell the coolest story ever.

3. BALOO (SLOTH BEAR)

Baloo Jungle Book
Walt Disney Company

The lovable bear from The Jungle Book is secretly into torture. Rather than killing victims outright, sloth bears chew their human prey’s limbs into what wildlife texts describe as “a perfect pulp.” Really adds a dark subtext to “The Bear Necessities,” doesn’t it?

4. LITTLE BEAR (GRIZZLY BEAR)

Little Bear
Nickelodeon Network

Grizzly bears are notoriously defensive and territorial. Should you encounter Little Bear in the wilds around his quaint country cottage, your best bet is to play dead until he determines you’re no longer a threat. Don’t get bold and try to fight back. You will not win.

5. RUPERT BEAR (LET'S SAY HE'S A POLAR BEAR)

Rupert Bear
Corus Entertainment

Don't be fooled by Rupert's fine British manners and garish golf pants. Unlike most bear species, polar bears are carnivorous. When a hungry male goes after you, he's in it to win it. Fortunately, encountering these guys is rare because you don't live in the Arctic.

This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
Original image
iStock

Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

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

Original image
RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/GettyImages
arrow
Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
Original image
RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/GettyImages

Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios