Saturday Surprise — Socks ‘n Critters!

I keep hearing people say they’re having trouble keeping up with what day it is, since they all rather run together anymore.  So, as a public service, I would like to inform you that today is Saturday, the 9th of May, in the year 2020.  But that’s not all!  Today is also … {drumroll} … {‘nother drumroll} …

National Lost Sock Memorial Day!!!  No, I’m not kidding … it really is!  According to the National Day Calendar people, National Lost Sock Memorial Day is time to say “good-bye” to all of the single socks, the ones where their mates have been lost to the unknown. Where do all the missing socks go? Is there a washing machine heaven? This is a question people have been trying to solve for many centuries.  An answer may never be found to this problem, and life will go on.  How sad to have lost such a close-knit friend!SockAnd they have some suggestions for how to celebrate this special day …

  • making sock puppets
  • turn them into dust rags
  • chose to never wear matched socks again
  • turn them into chew toys for pets
  • make wrist warmers
  • make sock monkeys
  • fill them with beans and use them for your corn hole game
  • fill with rice and make a door stop
  • open up both ends of a long sock and make a plastic bag holder

You know how I love critters and I’m always on the lookout for unique critters we may not have ever seen or heard of.  I’ve done a couple of posts highlighting the strange and unique specimens from the animal world, and I thought I had just about covered most of the really unique ones, but last night I came across a few that were new to me!

This guy is a Shoebill Stork, known for his bill that resembles … a shoe, though in my 68 years, I don’t believe I’ve ever had a shoe that looked quite like that! shoebill-storkShoebills are abnormally tall, with some individuals reaching heights of over 4 feet. And, unlike many others birds who inhabit similar marsh environments, shoebills are highly effective predators. Their long legs are perfect for traversing shallow waters, where they prey on reptiles, rodents and fish. They are even known to strike against juvenile crocodiles!

Shoebills use their powerful beaks to grasp and strangle just about anything they encounter, but don’t worry – they don’t prey on humans. Find one in East Africa, where their habitat is concentrated.

Now, bears in and of themselves are not necessarily all that unique, though I find them to be beautiful animals and enjoy seeing them.  But the Sun Bear is a bit different than your average bear. sun-bearSun bears are the smallest bears in the world, with many adults weighing under 100 pounds. But what really makes them stand out is their unusually long tongues, which can measure up to nine inches. Also known as “honey bears,” sun bears climb trees to find honeycomb, and their tongues come in handy when they lick out their loot.

Unfortunately, deforestation is contributing to population declines. But you can still find sun bears in southeast Asia where, unlike their North American cousins, they thrive in tropical forest environments. The Islands of Sumatra and Borneo are particularly good places to access their habitat.

This guy is a Lyrebird …lyrebirdLyrebirds could easily win a talent show for their ability to mimic sounds in their environment.

True, this trait exists in other birds, but lyrebirds take things to a whole new level. They can imitate just about any sound, including industrial equipment and power tools.

Found in Australia, the birds are also known for their flamboyant mating displays; the males show off their long tail feathers while dancing and using their superb vocal abilities to attract mates.

Stick to the rainforest zones of Queensland and New South Wales to find them, or head to Tasmania, where they were introduced artificially but have since repropogated and established populations.

Why is it that when it comes to birds, the male gets all the bright colours and unique characteristics, while the females are comparatively drab?  Seems rather sexist to me, but at any rate … the Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird is no exception.  The female is rather ho-hum, but the male has long wattles – flabby hunks of skin, also seen on turkeys – extending from their necks. More amazing still, they can control their wattles, retracting or extending them as desired during flight or while sitting stationary.umbrella-birdThe wattles are especially odd considering they have no official purpose outside of potential courtship displays.

The birds have protected habitat areas where numbers are strong, but deforestation in unprotected areas serves as a threat to their habitat and population density. Spot them in parts of Ecuador and throughout southwest Colombia, where they are heavily concentrated.

I bet you can’t guess what this one is …sea-penIt’s called a Sea Pen and it is an invertebrate that anchors on the seafloor.  That in itself is not all that uncommon, but what makes the Sea Pen unique is that they look like an old-fashioned quill pen. For another, they behave in a completely remarkable way.

Sea pens colonize in groups and, when stimulated, light up, displaying a bright green light on the seafloor. It looks like someone flipped on a light switch, especially when groups emit light in sequence.

You can find these light displays in the Pacific Ocean, from the Gulf of Alaska to California. Sea pens live at depths of over 40 feet but often under 250 feet. When diving, look for mud and sandy-bottom sections of the ocean floor to spot them.

I hope you enjoyed the unique critters, and now I shall end with a cute animal video … cutest hedgehog I’ve seen!

Now, you guys know what you need to do, right?  What???  You’ve forgotten already?  You need to go through your sock drawer and deal with those lonely unmatched socks!  Then proceed to have a great weekend!socks

25 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Socks ‘n Critters!

  1. I don’t think I would like to meet a shoebill especially if I was a rat…
    After years of trying to keep socks matched up and obsessively hanging them together on the washing line, it turns out I was wasting my time. My daughter just puts odd socks on her little boys and my friend in her eighties decided to do the same.Life is too short to spend it matching socks, though I still do.. and secretly try and match up the grandsons’ socks when they’re staying with us…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I did NOT know that!!!! I would likely have done something with that for Saturday Surprise, had I known, for I love birds! Glad you enjoyed this … now go tackle that sock drawer, and have a good weekend, my friend!


  2. My, what a briightly coloured day it is.and such a pace with the manic hedgehog, the birds are quite relaxing but top of the shop is the remarkable sea-pen who had duch a gift with his Green Lantern display.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. People who don’t know what day it is have no routine or focus in their days!

    As usual thanks for making me smile. I loved the hedgehog and am now off to deal with those lonely, only socks..

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so very glad if it gave you a brief respite and maybe even made you smile! Try to have a happy weekend, my friend! Read a good book, go for a walk, listen to some Motown! 😊


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