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YouTube / Shedd Aquarium

See Rare Video of a Giant Oarfish Swimming

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YouTube / Shedd Aquarium

Giant Oarfish usually live at a depth between 650 feet and 3000 feet, which means that people rarely get a chance to see them with their own eyes. But recently, workers from Chicago's Shedd Aquarium spotted two 15-foot-long oarfish swimming in shallow waters in the Sea of Cortes in Mexico.

Growing up to 50 feet long, oarfish are the longest bony fish alive, and, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, "its common name arises from its highly compressed and elongated body or from the old belief that the fish moves through the water by 'rowing' itself with the pelvic fins." What might at first look like blood in the video above is actually the fish's distinctly colored dorsal fin, which ranges from pinkish to cardinal red and runs along the entire length of the fish. And thanks to its huge size and distinct shape, we probably have the oarfish to thank for sailors' tales about sea serpents.

The fact that these oarfish are in shallow water doesn't bode well for them, according to Smithsonian, which notes that "when oarfish end up in such shallow water it usually portends a bad end for the fish, as they don’t generally venture into that portion of the ocean unless they are injured or dying."

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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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.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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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]

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