Cute But Deadly – Icelandic Death Frog

This little guy may only be one inch long and weighs only 3 grams but before his poison sac was removed he killed four entire families (129 people) in the mountains of Iceland.  From birth these little creatures have enough venom in one bite to kill four humans.  They have a small needle sharp injector under their tongue and death comes in under 30 seconds through complete paralysis of the nervous system (more details below).

There are only 20 recorded sightings of this ultra-rare animal and it is rumored the  monks in the period of AD 870-930 used these frogs to kill off 1,000’s of Norsemen.

They have a distinctive defensive display in which the body is lifted up into an erect position, the first pair of legs are lifted high , while the entire frog  sways from side to side with hind legs in a cocked position.

Its venom contains a potent neurotoxin, known as PhTx3, which acts as a broad-spectrum calcium channel blocker that inhibits glutamate release, calcium uptake and also glutamate uptake in neural synapses. At deadly concentrations, this neurotoxin causes loss of muscle control and breathing problems, resulting in paralysis and eventual asphyxiation, usually in under a minute.  In addition, the venom causes intense pain and inflammation following a bite due to an excitatory effect the venom has on the serotonin 5-HT4 receptors of sensory nerves. This sensory nerve stimulation causes a release of neuropeptides such as substance P which triggers inflammation and pain.

Dog is a Millionare 12 Times Over

Come here doggie, doggie…

A very rich dog, which inherited $12 million from U.S. hotelier Leona Helmsley, has died, a spokeswoman for the deceased hotel mogul’s trust said Thursday.

Helmsley, who owned the Helmsley hotel chain, left $12 million in her will to care for her beloved Maltese named Trouble when she died in 2007. A judge reduced the amount to $2 million.

Though Trouble’s death is just now being reported, the dog actually died in December at the age of 12, said Eileen Sullivan, spokeswoman for the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

“She was cremated and her remains are being privately retained. The funds held in trust for her care have reverted to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for charitable purposes,” Sullivan said in a statement.

Harry Helmsley was Leona’s late husband.

Sullivan refused to give any other details about Trouble. The New York Daily News newspaper said the dog had been cared for by the manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel in Sarasota, Florida.

Leona Helmsley was known as “the queen of mean” for the way she treated hotel employees. She served 18 months in prison for tax evasion in the 1990s.

Hot Chicks Dig Aligators?

This guy is a few light bulbs short!  Police in Illinois have seized an alligator from a man who was keeping the animal as a pet to attract women.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office officials said they received information a man was keeping an American alligator in confined conditions in his home. Police located the four-foot alligator in a fish tank in the kitchen. A video of the alligator showed it swimming in the tank, which was under a heatlamp.

The man told police he bought the alligator in Indiana, Ill., five years ago for $200.

“He stated that he kept the alligator as a pet because it attracted women,” police said in a release. “In order to keep the size of the alligator down, Yarbrough kept it in a small tank, and only fed it once a month – a meal of 10 live mice.”

Police said American alligators traditionally average between eight and 14 feet in length.

The animal is now being cared for by a Chicago animal welfare group.

Quick Get me a Spider!

Most of us get a little excited when we see a big spider, but for the unfortunate few who fall victim to the bite of the daunting Brazilian wandering spider, that “excitement” takes on a whole new meaning: The venom of the wandering spider — also known as the banana spider (or more formally Phoneutria nigriventer) causes erections in men.

“The venom of the P. nigriventer spider is a very rich mixture of several molecules,” says Dr. Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia who is currently studying the odd side effect. “These molecules are called toxins, and then we have various toxins in this venom with different activity. Because of this, when a human is bitten by this spider, we can observe many different symptoms including priapism, a condition in which the penis is continually erect.”

In addition to the hours-long painful erection, the wandering spider’s bite can cause loss of muscle control, severe pain, difficulty breathing and, if not treated, death, due to oxygen deprivation (with anti-venom, the victim usually recovers within a week.)