Animals

How Georgians Trapped Foxes

The cunning fox has had a long history in England, and everyone from squires to dukes to kings have hunted the omnivorous animal. In fact, it was practically a standard amusement for the landed gentry to be yelling, “Tally-ho!” as they hunted the fox with its pointed, slightly upturned snout, upright triangular ears, and long…

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Eclipse – The Unbeatean Horse

Some thoroughbred horses were born to win and that was the case with Eclipse the horse who got his name when he was foaled on 1 April 1764 during the great eclipse that plunged the sun into darkness. Eclipse was bred by Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, and was the foal of Marske (who…

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The Celebrated Pig-Faced Lady

In the 1600s, the idea that a pig-faced lady existed captured the imagination of people in France, England, and the Netherlands. The idea was rooted in a fabled woman named Tanakin Skinker. She was supposedly born with a pig snout due to witchcraft. By the 1700s, the belief in pig-faced women transitioned from fiction to…

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Parrots as Pets in the 1700 and 1800s

Birds have been kept as pets as for thousands of years, and, parrots, in particular were one of the most prized of all the caged birds because of the their colorful plumage and their ability to imitate human speech. In fact, parrots magnetized people of the 1700 and 1800s to the point, they wanted to…

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Tales of the Gregarious Horse and Its Friendships

Horses are gregarious creatures in their wild state and retain “the same sociable disposition in domestication.” When a strange horse appears, other horses usually share gestures, neighs, and whinnies and show a desire to “strike up an acquaintance.” If you have ever watched horses, you know it is common for them to hang together and…

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Points of a Horse

Did you know a lost horse can find its way home by sniffing out its previous footsteps and manure remnants? That’s because horses learn about their world through their nose, and this extraordinary sense of smell allows them to read the chemical messages in the air. They can recognize friends, sense danger, find food, discover…

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The Venomous and Deadly Toad of Legend

Although many people in the 1700 and 1800s thought the toad had curative properties, there were also superstitious beliefs about it: “Touching toads will produce warts on the hands … killing toads will produce bloody milk in cows … a toad’s breath will cause convulsions in children.” In certain European countries there was also the…

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Toad Showers

Toad showers were literally that, a shower of toads. They fell “from the clouds with [the] rain” sometimes landing on people’s coats, hats, and umbrellas and covering the ground often inches deep. However, it may have been more accurate to call them frog showers as frogs like moister environments than toads. Whether they were toads…

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Canaries

Canaries were brought to Europe by Spanish sailors in the 1600s and named after the Canary Islands. Only the richest Spanish and English courts bred them at the time, and they did so with great difficulty as canaries were not understood and because males were primarily imported. After monks began to raise them, the monks…

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