Here is the tenth weekly digest for Animal History Daily, which I'm running on Twitter (@hannahvelten) every day for 2014. Using the #AHD tag, I find random titbits of animal history from the British Newspaper Archive (@BNArchive) on the appropriate day, from any year (generally the 1800s).
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
One of the first known images of a guinea pig in an Elizabethan painting, created in about 1580.
Spanish conquistadors imported the rodents from South America into Europe and rather than being used as a foodstuff, it seems the 'cavies' became pets of the elite.
There was some mystery surrounding these animals: Comte de Buffon (mid/later 18th century) stated; 'that though perpetually throwing out urine, they never drink' and though they frequently perished from cold, moisture or want of exercise and bred like, er, rabbits, they were inoffensive, docile, gentle and elegant enough to be highly prized as companions. (John Tims The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instructions March 27, 1830)
This week's #AHD offerings: a little learned horse, an otter capture, toad in a rock, drunk as Davy's sow, TB in cattle, a carried donkey and monkey attack.
5th March: 1764: to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and others, brother of famous Mr Zucker shows at Mary's Chapel the LEARNED LITTEL HORSE, etc. (Caledonian Mercury)
6th March: 1822: Cumbria: man caught otter with bare hands after grappling with it - able 'cos otter been teased by hunters day before and weak (Hereford Journal) (** for alternative news, see escapee wolf below)
7th March: 1851: A toad discovered in centre of a rock nr Bristol lived for 3 days after being brought to light. Mouth closed, but breathed hard (Essex Standard)
8th March: 1881: Explanation of 'As Drunk as Davy's Sow' - Visitors to view Davy's six legged sow found instead his drunken wife - story 17th C? (Belfast Morning News)
9th March: 1912: Proven that TB can pass from cattle to humans via milk. UK milk untreated and deaths high amongst children; 25% cattle pop has TB (Dundee Courier)
10th March: 1939: Four men carrying donkey; refused to move for 2.5hrs after seeing its shadow on road reflected in horse-drawn Royal Mail coach (Chelmsford Chronicle)
11th March: 1899: 2yr old child's finger bitten off by pet monkey, kept in cage, was teasing it with stick - father took owner to court, fined £2 (Illustrated Police News)
** Death of a wolf - 6th March 1820 - Wolf escaped from 'Exeter Change in the Strand, while in hospital area. Found way onto roof, passed over 2 houses and entered skylight of house belonging to trunk-maker. Surprised and terrified workers left room, shutting door behind them. Wolf made its way out of window onto the trunk-maker's sign, which level with window. Seeing open window on adjacent building, wolf jumped, but chain fastened to its collar became entangled, and wolf fell onto the street, dead. Wolf had been gifted to Exeter 'Change by HRH the Duchess of York (Leeds Intelligencer)
Hannah Velten - author of