The truth about monkeys, iguanas and bathtub gin

Burt's Eye View

The great philosopher Mark Twain once penned, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

Here are several real-life oddities I discovered perusing the unvarnished truth the last couple of months.

* When the village of Sikandarpur, India, was overrun by more than 2,000 wild monkeys, villagers pleaded with the forestry department to catch the cranky and destructive critters. Forestry officials said that was too costly — more than $8 a monkey — for a department that hasn’t had funding since 2018.

The villagers came up with their own solution — dress up like bears. They pitched in to buy three costumes from a makeup artist for 1,700 rupees ($23.82 U.S.) each, the Times of India reported in January.

“We have now started taking turns in wearing the bear costume and roaming around the village,” village head Ram Lalit Verma told the Indo-Asian News Service. “It was a relative who had told me about the idea and it is actually working.”

The forestry department plans to suggest the bearskin ruse to other such infested villages.

This has me pondering — if I wear a Batman suit this summer, will mosquitoes leave me alone?

* In other wild animal news, the National Weather Service in Miami last month issued a falling iguanas warning.

Colder temperatures pushed the tree-loving lizards into a state of hibernation. The comatose iguanas lose their grip on branches and tumble to the ground.

Male iguanas can grow as much as 5 feet long and weigh nearly 20 pounds. Even after plummeting to the ground, they generally are fine after they thaw, but injuries to people caused by falling iguanas have been reported.

Allow this Ohio farm boy to express his relief that cows don’t live in trees.

* A divorced Ottawa businessman last month was jailed after burning $1 million — about $750,000 in U.S. dollars — to avoid paying spousal and child support.

“It’s not something that I would normally do,” Bruce McConville told the judge, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “I have always been frugal.”

But he’d rather burn his cash than pay it to her as ordered by the court.

McConville ran for mayor of Ottawa in 2018 on a tough-on-crime platform. He lost.

* Residents in an apartment building in Kerala, India, turned on their water faucets this month to mixed drinks on tap in kitchens and bathrooms.

The problem traces back to when the government seized 6,000 liters of illegal beer, brandy and rum, and buried it in a nearby pit. The spirits seeped into the apartment’s well.

This gives a whole new meaning to bathtub gin.

* A dog in Washington County, Va., brought home an apparently orphaned bear cub, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries reported last week.

The canine’s owner called wildlife officials after his dog found the cub and gently carried it home.

The unharmed cub was placed with a foster mama bear raising her own cubs, and all seems to be going well, a wildlife biologist reported.

Forget about what the cat dragged in, let’s double check what our dogs cart home.

— Send your strange-but-true sagas to Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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