What about a SO that can turn themselves in any animals they want. They have the power to become a cat, a dog, a monkey or a fish, a bird, whatever they want. How do the ut-uf-sf bros react to this power?
My mind’s first thought was Animorphs, TBH. ~Mod Feral
That’s definitely a stranger technique. He’d honestly love to see a number of examples, mainly of animals he’s read about in books that make their way down here but haven’t actually seen: A raven, a ladybug, a firefly, a polar bear, etc. After enough examples, he’ll ask if you can also do fictional creatures like Rattata. Hope you have fun.
That’s very cool! He only needs to see you change once to find it the neatest power ever!
He’ll be skeptical for a while, even after seeing you change. “and how do i know it’s not just an elaborate illusion?” Honestly, he finds it neat and a sign of your skill either way, but he just so suspicious of everything.
He’s gonna try and make you use it as a way to infiltrate and spy on others. He’ll also schedule a meeting with Undyne to convince her to let you in the guard. “THEIR POWER COULD BE VERY HANDY.”
He’s gonna have to ask you to not. Cool, you’ve got a neat power. That’s great. Now never ever use it in front of him again.
He’s actually very impressed and there’s a part of him that really, really wants to know how you can even do that. He’ll try and ask how it’s possible, and expects an honest answer.
but what if,,, what if humans aren’t the only Hold My Beer species.
We are one of two.
The Adt’harra people look kind of like a cross between a bat and an elf. Big ole radar dish ears, slender bipedal bodies, all that. Their planet is heavily forested with gargantuan mangrove swamps, and they lurk under the roots to hunt fish and birds. More importantly, they lurk under the roots to prank the shit out of any and all intergalactic visitors.
The Adt’harran love of pranks was at first a non-starter for joining the Intergalactic Alliance, but then they realized that these creatures were absolute geniuses for rigging complex mechanics in a matter of minutes, and also were simply too enthusiastic to refuse.
At around the same time, the Human people were discovered. They were rather flimsy compared to many other members of the Alliance, but further interaction proved them to be loyal crewmembers willing and able to risk life and limb for their cause and teammates. Further interaction also proved them to be reckless bastards who think it’s great fun to glue six warp cores together and try to poke a tunnel through a sun.
It was very quickly decided by the high-ups that Humans and Adt’harrans should never be allowed to interact, they would surely blow up at least three ships and cause a half dozen interplanetary incidents with their scheming.
When the Humans and Adt’harrans eventually meet anyway because neither species is really into ‘rules’, they are fast friends and the collective universe tears its hair out.
This also applies to aquariums, and In one case I saved someone from losing a finger
Here’s how it happened:
It all started with this little guy
(In this picture he was pissed off because I gave him two mussels, but I gave the remaining ones to other fish)
Hes a porcupine puffer, a notoriously food oriented saltwater fish.
Our tanks have black wooden ‘flaps’ that the employees can lift up to get inside the tanks. This keeps customers from reaching into them, and also keeps jumping fish Inside the tanks.
Enter stage left- sorority girl and dudebro boyfriend.
I walk back to the tanks to ask if they need anything, and lo and behold, sorority girl had lifted up the flap and is starting to reach into the tank towards a puffer that is snapping at the glass and swimming back and forth so quickly that water is splashing out of the tank and onto the floor.
So naturally I yell “STOP, DONT TOUCH THAT” and she retracts her hand. And I quickly explain that puffers, and especially 12 inch basketball sized puffers have incredibly strong jaws and sharp teeth, and he can easily mangle, break, or eat a finger thinking it was food.
Then I have to listen to her boyfriend yell at me for fifteen minutes about how we shouldn’t have dangerous animals and he would have sued if his girlfriend was hurt.
And I just calmly walk him over to the sign (posted five feet away) that says “do not touch tanks or tap on glass. An Employee would be happy to assist you!”, before telling him that In all of the years I have worked in pet stores I have never had a child attempt to open a tank, much less someone who was supposed to be an adult.
TL;DR Bird, fish, reptile, whatever- DO NOT OPEN THE CAGES IN A PET STORE OR REACH INSIDE THEM.
Uncle Popeye Fucks Up Hunting So Bad Legislation Happens
(Gun use, alcohol mention, amazingly- no animal death)
So you may remember Uncle Popeye from A Holiday Story, when he and grandpa tried to shoot a pheasant and fucked it up real bad. I called the Ohio Relatives. They have no idea how the family knew Popeye either, but that his given name was Richard, but got tired of being called “Dick” and after losing an eye in WW2, went by Popeye.
Look man, Ohio DOES things to people.
Popeye fancied himself the Great Outdoors-man, despite a long list of evidence to the contrary- besides the shooting incident, there was the time he got lost in the woods behind his house for a week despite being less than a mile from his house and six major roads, the time he almost poisoned the whole family after mushrooming in the hills only to be stopped by GG, and the time he got in a fight with a Woodcock and Lost.
The worst though, was Snowflake.
Near where my Ohio relatives lived, and continue to live, there is a Military Armory. (You know that joke about “If all your relatives all live in the same postcode, you might be a redneck?” Yeah, check that. Mom was the first to leave the state, and keeps urging the others that they are free to leave, they can’t keep you there. But I digress). The armory is actually kind of a large campus, several hundred acres in size, where they take lots of old munitions and aircraft and whatnot, and figure out how to take apart and dispose of them without blowing everything up to fuck. The whole area is fenced off to keep the locals from helping themselves to the munitions (A serious issue in redneck country), which trapped the deer in the forest inside.
The deer, no longer having to worry about hunters, but cut off from the outside population, basically went full Deliverance, and the resulting mutants are… rather pretty.
The mutation is Luecistism, not albinism, but it makes for pretty, pretty very stupid deer. Like, even dumber than white-tail already are, and whitetail are DUMB. But the deer on the armory could afford to be easy to spot and have no natural fear of anything, because there were no predators or hunters, and the soldiers stationed there had better things to do
The prettiest of them all was Snowflake, the large white buck named Snowflake, because soldiers are great at naming things. He was, by all accounts, a truly splendid creature- snow-white and shapely, with a well-developed rack. Not unlike a porn star, apparently. And many a man Lusted after snowflake, desperate for his head.
Or other things. Ohio’s a pretty fucked up place.
But unlike other men, who would only stare wistfully from afar, Popeye was absolutely determined to have Snowflake. The issue was, the military, having a few moments of sense, had decreed that having people wandering around a munitions decommissioning plant with firearms was likely to result in fire and death, declared that there was to be no hunting on their grounds. The only way Popeye could feasibly shoot Snowflake would be if he were somehow able to get him on the other side of the fence. But he couldn’t just cut a hole in the fence- it was fairly regularly checked, and he’d be caught. Nope. Somehow, Popeye had to get Snowflake on the other side of the fence without damaging it or the Military noticing.
It was during an afternoon of boozing and watching western documentaries, Popeye hit upon a solution. He was watching a tourism promotion for all the great outdoor activities in Colorado, when he saw the solution to his problem.
He could FISH for deer.
Specifically, he fly-fish. In his mind, he could clearly see how it would play out. he’d simply find a heavy-duty line, cast it over the fence, tangling it in Snowflake’s antlers, and then reel him over the fence, where it would be perfectly legal to shoot him and then he’d be the envy of all the men down at the elks lodge. Hah! Genius!
So that spring, Popeye began tossing corn over the fence to lure deer to that particular secluded corner, and was immensely pleased when Snowflake started turning up regularly. He’d get his trophy AND some fat venison! All summer and into fall, he continued this, with the deer getting entirely too casual about his presence. he also got his hands on some deep-sea fishing line and practiced ensnaring the antlers of his dummy deer in the backyard. Just to make sure he had the leverage to haul Snowflake in, he got the harness that attaches the pole to your hip. All was going according to plan.
So the first day of hunting season, Popeye goes to his corner where he’s been feeding the deer, and Snowflake is there, waiting for breakfast. Great. Popeye backs his pickup truck up to the fence, and stands on the bed so he can cast over the fence. The deer, being imbeciles, fail to notice anything amiss. He casts, and miracle of miracles, he gets the loop over Snowflake’s antlers on the first try! Popeye whips the line around some more, making sure Snowflake is good and tangled, before reeling him in.
Apparently snowflake just stood there for this part, presumably looking confused. Then the line began to pull on him.
As Popeye would later recount from the hospital: “That’s when I realized. Deer ain’t Mackinaw.”
Popeye had, in all his planning, not taken into consideration that a 200-pound buck at the height of his testosterone-riddled rut might be somewhat disinclined to be pulled over a fence. Furthermore, Popeye had failed to account that at 5′5″, he was of similar size to the deer, and in nowhere near as good of shape.
He recalled ALMOST flying over the fence as Snowlfake turned and ran for the safety of the base. He did not quite make it, and cracked both knees as they slammed into the fence, jeans and harness shredding on the barbed wire. it was not enough to separate him from the harness, only enough to slide it down his legs and tangle around his ankles, so that once he hit the ground, Popeye was dragged for half a goddamn mile by his feet as Snowflake frantically tried to get away.
Once at the base, and all manner of bruised, cut up and abused, Popeye was relieved when they finally came to a halt. he regretted it half a second later when he realized that Snowflake had only turned around, and was now bearing down on his sorry ass full-tilt. Several puncture and kick wounds later, Popeye managed to kick off the harness, freeing himself from Snowflake, and had to run back to where he thought he’d left the truck. In the middle of the night, in the woods, with cracked patellas and without pants.
It took him all night to find the fence and truck, but managed to get back over the fence and to the hospital without being spotted. In a fit of paranoia that almost pased for good sense, he drove to three counties away to be treated, so the police wouldn’t find him, bleeding all the way. He neglected beforehand, to tell any of his friends or family where he was going, except that he was deer-hunting.
He was very disappointed when he turned up a week later and found out nobody had gone looking for him.
Snowflake was found tangled up in a tree, and was cut loose by the soldiers, apparently upset but unharmed. Concerned that the poachers were getting too creative for their own good, the base petitioned the state legislature to maybe make a law that you aren’t allowed to fish for deer, Christ, we only found the poor man’s pants.
The state legislature, in a fit of rabid libertarianism, declared that such a law would be too restrictive upon the freedom of Ohioans, so the Army tried the country. The county, which had to actually deal with this kind of bullshit on a semi-regular basis, agreed, and it is now illegal to Hunt any bird, fish or quadruped with devices and equipment not intended for such purpose.
Popeye never went deer-hunting after that, and Snowflake went on to sire many many more pretty inbred deer.
Submission: As a queer, nonbinary person and an animal educator, I’ve thought a lot about the issues recently being discussed on this blog and I wanted to share some of that here. I’ve tried to be as calm and clear as possible, but this is an emotional issue for me so it might be a bit emphatic.
Serveral people in this discussion have mentioned already the problems with questioning the existence of bi/pan/trans/ace/aro animals, but not questioning the existance of straight, cis animals. You’ve made passing mentions to this, but I think it’s actually really important to step back and reframe the entire discussion in this context, if you want to be fair and accurate both to the animals and to the people emotionally affected by this issue.
In particular, this passage: “However, the animal science world uses gendered pronouns to denote physical sex in an animal, because that is how efficient and accurate communication about the animal is ensured” raises some massive red flags for me. Yes, it’s important to clearly communicate with your vet about the body parts an animal does and doesn’t have, for ease of treatment. However, pronouns are far from the only way to do this, and definitely not the most efficient. The pronoun “she” doesn’t tell you if a dog is unaltered, spayed, in heat, pregnant, or menopausal - information your vet definitely needs to know. It’s the work of half a moment to state “my dog is a spayed female” at the start of an appointment, regardless of what pronouns you use after that. In fact, many trans* people have already learned to talk with their doctors in specific terms about their hormone levels and organs they do or don’t have, and cis people need to catch up. Part of the reason this is such an emotional issue for trans people is that the argument, “your doctor needs to know the gender you were assigned at birth! Therefore everyone you meet needs to know, and it should be on your ID, in case you get in an accident and we have to tell the doctor!” is often invoked. (I wish that was an exaggeration. It’s not. This is in spite of the fact that, as a trans* person, knowing the gender you were assigned at birth is more likely to lead to false assumptions about your health and biology than true ones.) So yes, your doctor needs to know about your biology and your vet needs to know about your pet’s, but gender pronouns really aren’t the way to do it.
Outside the vet’s office, insisting on cisgender-equivalent pronouns for your pet leads to a world of problems. I volunteer at an animal shelter, and I see people misinterpret animal’s actions through their percieved, anthropomorphic gender roles constantly. They’re more eager to read aggression from a male animal and affection from a female, which has the potential to lead to massive problems, since both of those behaviors can be dangerous to misinterpret. I would personally argue for the stance that people would be more able to accurately interpret the behavior of animals if we refered to all non-human animals with gender-neutral pronouns, to more accurately reflect the fact that animals do not have gender. Even in social animals that do have sex-differentied social roles, those are completely different from human gender roles and should not be confused with them by the use of human gendered pronouns. If the biological sex of an animal matters in a particular context, you can mention it in that context, rather than applying it all the time as though it was part of their identity.
I do understand that some people find it reassuring to observe that the social roles of biologically male or female animals are different from those of humans, and that they too can be as nurturing as a male penguin or as fierce as a female hyena. So I understand that sometimes people will want to refer to those animals as male or female, in the same way that I want to refer to a cuttlefish as genderfluid because it makes me feel happy and validated. I just want cis people to understand that those interpretations are exactly equivalent.
As for how this perspective affects the emotions of humans impacted by this issue: claiming that gendered pronouns are a form of scientific terminology that accurately reflects the biological sex of an animal is, intentionally or not, supporting the idea that there are biologically and scientifically two genders. It gives fuel to people who try to force that mindset onto humans, and believe me, they use it. I’ve met many people who become enraged if I use the wrong pronouns for their dog, but refuse to respect my identity and pronouns. The attatchment of gendered pronouns to biological sex in non-humans is absolutely reflected back into humans by most of the public, whether that is your intention as an educator or not.
Using gender pronouns as scientific terminology also muddies issues significantly as soon as you leave the field of mammals, where it quickly becomes clear that a male/female dichotomy is far from absolute. Do I use female pronouns for the hermaphroditic flatworm who lost the penis-fencing match and is now carrying eggs? Will those pronouns still apply after the eggs have hatched? What if they win the penis-fencing match next time and contribute sperm instead? How about a worker bee, who is genetically female but has not developed reproductive organs and plays no reproductive role? Do I use male pronouns for a fish who was born genetically male, but isn’t able to engage in sexual behavior and fulfill the male sexual role until mating is initiated by the supermale? How about for the supermale, who is genetically female and used to be reproductively female but has since morphed to be reproductively male due to being the largest fish in the school? Is it even accurate to say “genetically female” of a species where both major reproductive roles are carried out by the same genetic category of animals, and those born “biologically” male only reproduce at all by swimming into the middle of the mating dance, ejaculating, and hoping for the best?
A similar issue exists with the assumption that animals are straight. I’ve seen some cringe-worthy anthropomorphization of male/female pairs of animals, including calling them “married,” referring to them as being “in love,” and a lot of analogies to human married-couple behavior, but I’ve never seen this criticized or significantly discussed as an issue of anthropomorphization. But every time I see a post about lesbian birds or trans fish, this issue comes up. I don’t think that animal educators are doing this on purpose, but I do think it is an indicator that many animal educators have not sufficiently deeply challenged the cultural narrative that straight and cis are “normal” but queer and trans* are “debatable” and should be challenged and argued about.
Science is an ever-changing field, and scientific terminology becomes outdated and is changed as we realize that it reflects our social assumptions more accurately than in reflects reality. The terms we use to discuss sex, gender, pair-bonding, and mating behavior are all deeply intertwined with human social assumptions of cisgender, heterosexual, monogamous life-time bonds that are simultaneously romantic/affectionate and sexual in nature. Scientific communication would be improved by dropping those assumptions and the terminology that comes with them.
I don’t think I have much to add to this - it’s really well thought out and well said - so I’m going to boost it as is as part of the continued discussion.
Scientific communication would absolutely be improved by changing the terminology to something more accurate. I don’t know if it’s something that would currently be feasible - because of a myriad of things that make attempting that type of change across so many cultures and languages and historical/social contexts difficult - but I definitely support the idea.
The Arabian red fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica) is a subspecies of the red fox native to Arabia. The Arabian red fox is similar to the common red fox. However, it is more adapted to desert life than its parent species. As they lack the long dense fur of the European fox they appear to have thin bodies and long legs, but proportionally they are the same, with the exception of their ears. These are larger and have thousands of tiny blood vessels that help the fox to maintain its body temperature. Reddish to sandy-brown, their color has adapted to the environment in which they are living. The Arabian red fox also has fur between its toes, to prevent burning of the feet.