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16 Adorable Halloween Costumes for Non-Traditional Pets

We’ve seen plenty of dogs and cats dressed up for Halloween, but they aren’t the only animals getting into the holiday spirit. Check out some other critters who have dressed up for the occasion, even if they don’t go door-to-door begging for candy.

1. HEDGEHOG VAMPIRE

This little Count Dracula is as adorable as he is elegant.

2. TORTOISE SPIDER

Cindy Breninger via Etsy

There’s something creepy coming your way, but very, very slowly. Even tortoises can get in on the Halloween fun with custom-made tortoise costumes from Etsy shop Deerwood Creek Gifts. Shop owner Cindy Breninger makes tortoise costumes to order, like this spider, or maybe you’d prefer your tortoise to dress as a witch, a shark, or a bat

3. TORTOISE STEGOSAURUS

KreaturesCreations via Etsy

A tortoise can dream of being big and scary like a stegosaurus, and can live out that dream on Halloween. Etsy shop KreaturesCreations sells all sorts of crocheted shell cozies that will turn your tortoise into a pumpkin, mushroom, or a battle tortoise.

4. BEARDED DRAGON WIZARD


If you’re going to put your bearded dragon or other beloved lizard in a Halloween costume, this would be the one to choose, if only for the opportunity to use the phrase “wizard lizard.” Quite a few pet owners have done it, as you’ll see in a gallery called “You’re a lizard, Harry” at imgur.

5. BEARDED DRAGON FLYING DRAGON

liam.plybon.3 via Instructables

A dragon should be able to fly, right? If you want to go the DIY route, you can learn to make your own wings and harness at Instructables, which will have your bearded dragon looking like something out of Game of Thrones in no time.

6. FERRET MARIO


Check out this playful ferret in a Super Mario costume. We bet he could run the course in no time at all and save Princess Peach every time.

7. FERRET BALLET DANCER

Gussy says, "Boys can wear tutus!" #ferrets #tutu #ferret #handmade #etsy #cute #ferretism

A photo posted by Brittany (@dooksandspoons) on

 

This Instagrammer has several ferrets—and likes to dress them up. Gussy, shown above, says boy ferrets can wear tutus, too. She also sells these tutus on Etsy, in case you’d like one for your own ferret.

8. BUNNY SUPERHERO

Miss Laine via Etsy

Never fear, Superbunny is here! Miss Laine has various clothing items and accessories for rabbits at her Etsy shop turvytopsy. She will make bunny costumes to order, like this superhero outfit. But if you’ve got something else in mind, she might be able to design and make something for your rabbit’s 2017 Halloween costume.

9. HORSE SKELETON

Sandy Cramer, owner/artist at Knot Just Rope

In 2012, Sandy Cramer painted her horse Raven as a skeleton for a Halloween costume contest. She only needed white paint, as Raven provided all the black background. The photos of her costume and horse became an internet sensation the next year.

10. HORSE HARRY POTTER

Harry Potter horse costume...so cute! #horses #horsecostume #halloweenhorse #equestrian #velvetrider #harrypotter

A photo posted by Velvet Rider (@thevelvetrider) on

 

This was a very popular Halloween costume for several years during the height of the Harry Potter craze. Young lady equestrians dressed as Hermione and did up their horses as Harry Potter himself. They wore matching Hogwarts uniforms, and oversized glasses made it clear who the horse was playing. You can see a gallery of Harry Potter horses at BuzzFeed. 

11. TARANTULA WITCH

NocturneJewel via DeviantART

DeviantArt member NocturneJewel loves to dress up her pet geckos, snakes, and tarantulas for special occasions. (Check out her Halloween Showcase to see them in various seasonal tableaux.) Shown here is Ariadne the tarantula in her witch hat, posing with a potion.

12. SNAKE REINDEER

This is the single greatest thing I have done with hercules... he needs a red nose!?!?!!?

A photo posted by katwidger (@katwidger) on

 

This costume may have been for Christmas, but it would be just as fun for Halloween. Instagrammer Katie Widger dressed her pet snake Hercules in a set of antlers and reindeer ears. All he needs is a red nose.

13. SNAKE WITCH

 

This snake’s name is Huxley, and he’s ready for trick-or-treating in his stylish witch hat, complete with feather.

14. GUINEA PIG BUMBLEBEE

rochelle hartman via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

With his black fur, this guinea pig fills out his bumblebee costume well. He was just one of several cuddly guinea pigs that dressed up for the occasion. Another pig in the same family dressed as a pirate.

15. GUINEA PIG THOR

GrumpyDess via DeviantART

DeviantArt member and cosplayer GrumpyDess should have won some kind of cosplay award for this costume that makes Madam de Pompadour the guinea pig into Thor. Madam de Pompadour (a male pig) also got to play Captain America.

16. SQUIRREL PIRATE

Sugar Bush Squirrel via Facebook

All dressed up as “Squirrelduggery the Pirate,” this is the famous Sugar Bush Squirrel, who wears all kinds of costumes. (Visit her Facebook page to see more of her looks.)

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Big Questions
Why Don't We Eat Turkey Tails?
Original image
iStock

Turkey sandwiches. Turkey soup. Roasted turkey. This year, Americans will consume roughly 245 million birds, with 46 million being prepared and presented on Thanksgiving. What we don’t eat will be repurposed into leftovers.

But there’s one part of the turkey that virtually no family will have on their table: the tail.

Despite our country’s obsession with fattening, dissecting, and searing turkeys, we almost inevitably pass up the fat-infused rear portion. According to Michael Carolan, professor of sociology and associate dean for research at the College for Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, that may have something to do with how Americans have traditionally perceived turkeys. Consumption was rare prior to World War II. When the birds were readily available, there was no demand for the tail because it had never been offered in the first place.

"Tails did and do not fit into what has become our culinary fascination with white meat," Carolan tells Mental Floss. "But also from a marketing [and] processor standpoint, if the consumer was just going to throw the tail away, or will not miss it if it was omitted, [suppliers] saw an opportunity to make additional money."

Indeed, the fact that Americans didn't have a taste for tail didn't prevent the poultry industry from moving on. Tails were being routed to Pacific Island consumers in the 1950s. Rich in protein and fat—a turkey tail is really a gland that produces oil used for grooming—suppliers were able to make use of the unwanted portion. And once consumers were exposed to it, they couldn't get enough.

“By 2007,” according to Carolan, “the average Samoan was consuming more than 44 pounds of turkey tails every year.” Perhaps not coincidentally, Samoans also have alarmingly high obesity rates of 75 percent. In an effort to stave off contributing factors, importing tails to the Islands was banned from 2007 until 2013, when it was argued that doing so violated World Trade Organization rules.

With tradition going hand-in-hand with commerce, poultry suppliers don’t really have a reason to try and change domestic consumer appetites for the tails. In preparing his research into the missing treat, Carolan says he had to search high and low before finally finding a source of tails at a Whole Foods that was about to discard them. "[You] can't expect the food to be accepted if people can't even find the piece!"

Unless the meat industry mounts a major campaign to shift American tastes, Thanksgiving will once again be filled with turkeys missing one of their juicier body parts.

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
10 Juicy Facts About Sea Apples

They're both gorgeous and grotesque. Sea apples, a type of marine invertebrate, have dazzling purple, yellow, and blue color schemes streaking across their bodies. But some of their habits are rather R-rated. Here’s what you should know about these weird little creatures.

1. THEY’RE SEA CUCUMBERS.

The world’s oceans are home to more than 1200 species of sea cucumber. Like sand dollars and starfish, sea cucumbers are echinoderms: brainless, spineless marine animals with skin-covered shells and a complex network of internal hydraulics that enables them to get around. Sea cucumbers can thrive in a range of oceanic habitats, from Arctic depths to tropical reefs. They're a fascinating group with colorful popular names, like the “burnt hot dog sea cucumber” (Holothuria edulis) and the sea pig (Scotoplanes globosa), a scavenger that’s been described as a “living vacuum cleaner.”

2. THEY'RE NATIVE TO THE WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN.

Sea apples have oval-shaped bodies and belong to the genus Pseudocolochirus and genus Paracacumaria. The animals are indigenous to the western Pacific, where they can be found shuffling across the ocean floor in shallow, coastal waters. Many different types are kept in captivity, but two species, Pseudocolochirus violaceus and Pseudocolochirus axiologus, have proven especially popular with aquarium hobbyists. Both species reside along the coastlines of Australia and Southeast Asia.

3. THEY EAT WITH MUCUS-COVERED TENTACLES.

Sea cucumbers, the ocean's sanitation crew, eat by swallowing plankton, algae, and sandy detritus at one end of their bodies and then expelling clean, fresh sand out their other end. Sea apples use a different technique. A ring of mucus-covered tentacles around a sea apple's mouth snares floating bits of food, popping each bit into its mouth one at a time. In the process, the tentacles are covered with a fresh coat of sticky mucus, and the whole cycle repeats.

4. THEY’RE ACTIVE AT NIGHT.

Sea apples' waving appendages can look delicious to predatory fish, so the echinoderms minimize the risk of attracting unwanted attention by doing most of their feeding at night. When those tentacles aren’t in use, they’re retracted into the body.

5. THE MOVE ON TUBULAR FEET.

The rows of yellow protuberances running along the sides of this specimen are its feet. They allow sea apples to latch onto rocks and other hard surfaces while feeding. And if one of these feet gets severed, it can grow back.

6. SOME FISH HANG OUT IN SEA APPLES' BUTTS.

Sea apples are poisonous, but a few marine freeloaders capitalize on this very quality. Some small fish have evolved to live inside the invertebrates' digestive tracts, mooching off the sea apples' meals and using their bodies for shelter. In a gross twist of evolution, fish gain entry through the back door, an orifice called the cloaca. In addition expelling waste, the cloaca absorbs fresh oxygen, meaning that sea apples/cucumbers essentially breathe through their anuses.

7. WHEN THREATENED, SEA APPLES CAN EXPAND.

Most full-grown adult sea apples are around 3 to 8 inches long, but they can make themselves look twice as big if they need to escape a threat. By pulling extra water into their bodies, some can grow to the size of a volleyball, according to Advanced Aquarist. After puffing up, they can float on the current and away from danger. Some aquarists might mistake the robust display as a sign of optimum health, but it's usually a reaction to stress.

8. THEY CAN EXPEL THEIR OWN GUTS.

Sea apples use their vibrant appearance to broadcast that they’re packing a dangerous toxin. But to really scare off predators, they puke up some of their own innards. When an attacker gets too close, sea apples can expel various organs through their orifices, and some simultaneously unleash a cloud of the poison holothurin. In an aquarium, the holothurin doesn’t disperse as widely as it would in the sea, and it's been known to wipe out entire fish tanks.

9. SEA APPLES LAY TOXIC EGGS.

These invertebrates reproduce sexually; females release eggs that are later fertilized by clouds of sperm emitted by the males. As many saltwater aquarium keepers know all too well, sea apple eggs are not suitable fish snacks—because they’re poisonous. Scientists have observed that, in Pseudocolochirus violaceus at least, the eggs develop into small, barrel-shaped larvae within two weeks of fertilization.

10. THEY'RE NOT EASILY CONFUSED WITH THIS TREE SPECIES.

Syzgium grande is a coastal tree native to Southeast Asia whose informal name is "sea apple." When fully grown, they can stand more than 140 feet tall. Once a year, it produces attractive clusters of fuzzy white flowers and round green fruits, perhaps prompting its comparison to an apple tree.

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