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22 Vintage Photos of Animals Acting Like People

Getty Images
Getty Images

Forget celebrities being just like us. These vintage photos prove that animals have a rich history of indulging in activities usually reserved for humans.

They Listen to Music...

This image: Music lovers partner up for their favourite dance programme on the wireless, February 1926. Top image: A cat wearing headphones to listen to a radio, January 1926.

...And Go to Bars.

January 1936: A camel approaches the bar to be served by "Zandra," the pantomime cat from 'Dick Whittington' at Bournemouth Pavillion.

They Enjoy Family Meals...

July 1936: 'Tornado' Smith, the Wall of Death rider from Southend, and his wife having tea with their pet lion and lamb.

...And Go to Parties.

June 1934: Snake charmer Arimund Banu holds a party for stage performers' pets at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London.

They Play Board Games...

February 1933: A lamb and a cat playing draughts, watched over by a bantam, at Langford, Somerset.

...And Enjoy Sporty Activities!

1940: A young boy on skates clutches a large tabby cat.

Obesity is a problem for them, too.

1935: Ginger, the heaviest cat in London, is greeted by one of the staff at the restaurant where he lives, High Holborn, London, 12th October 1935. Ginger weighs in at twenty-three pounds

They Go on Road Trips...

September 1934: Mrs C Wylds behind the wheel with her pet pig at Terling in Essex.

...And Take Primping Seriously.

April 1932: Feline film star "Tibby" rests on the knee of Abraham Sofaer, leading man in her film for British Lion at Beaconsfield, The Flying Squad, while make-up man Gerald Fairbank trims her whiskers for the camera.

They Indulge in Fine Meals at Fancy Restaurants.

1980: Arthur, the cat food commercial cat, is wined and dined at a fancy restaurant.

They Get Behind the Wheel.

1933: A cat and a bulldog in a toy car.

They sing, too!

1926: Mr Macfrisco, the singing sea lion, has a singing lesson.

They Celebrate Birthdays...

August 1977: A twenty-seven year old cat celebrates her birthday, an age equivalent to 189 in human terms.

...And Go Window Shopping.

American silent film actress Phyllis Gordon (1889 - 1964) window-shopping in Earls Court, London with her four-year-old cheetah who was flown to Britain from Kenya.

They Strike a Pose.

June 1956: Members of the Malayan Police Band Bachan Singh and Abdul Rahman, due to appear at the Royal Tournament, visit London Zoo and make friends with Anabella the Orang-Outang.

They Do Laundry.

September 1933: A cat hangs a row of tame rats on the washing line to dry.

They Need an Annual Checkup from a Good Doctor. 

A zoo vet holding an iguana, circa 1956.

They go tanning.

January 1938: A piglet which is being treated by the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Animals) in Ilford with a sun ray lamp, to cure a skin ailment.

They Wear Glasses...

1925: Film actress Fay Webb with her pet goose, which is wearing an attractive pair of glasses.

...And Use Weapons.

1956: "Carrots" the rabbit fires table tennis balls from a toy cannon.

And hey—they write, too!

1955: A woman teaching her kangaroo to type.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Watch How a Bioluminescence Expert Catches a Giant Squid

Giant squid have been the object of fascination for millennia; they may have even provided the origin for the legendary Nordic sea monsters known as the Kraken. But no one had captured them in their natural environment on video until 2012, when marine biologist and bioluminescence expert Edith Widder snagged the first-ever images off Japan's Ogasawara Islands [PDF]. Widder figured out that previous dives—which tended to bring down a ton of gear and bright lights—were scaring all the creatures away. (Slate compares it to "the equivalent of coming into a darkened theater and shining a spotlight at the audience.")

In this clip from BBC Earth Unplugged, Widder explains how the innovative camera-and-lure combo she devised, known as the Eye-in-the-Sea, finally accomplished the job by using red lights (which most deep-sea creatures can't see) and an electronic jellyfish (called the e-jelly) with a flashy light show just right to lure in predators like Architeuthis dux. "I've tried a bunch of different things over the years to try to be able to talk to the animals," Widder says in the video, "and with the e-jelly, I feel like I'm finally making some progress."

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

Big Questions
Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

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