My friend Andi has, among a varied and interesting list of interests, a penchant for wild food and unusual pets. My other friend Alex - although there are far more interesting things about him than this - makes beehives for a living. So when Andi and Alex met, they got talking about bees. I was sort of half-listening to the talk of bees, until Alex said something along the lines of:
To get yourself some bees, find a swarm in a tree and take a cardboard box. Bang on the tree so that the queen falls into the box, and the other bees will follow her in. Then close the box. And then you've got a swarm in a box.
SWARM IN A BOX!
I was very entertained by the prospect of a SWARM OF BEES in a CARDBOARD BOX - much to the confusion of Andi and Alex I suspect - and what immediately sprang to mind was a trebuchet. Dead cows used to be flung over the walls of castles and cities under siege to spread disease and lower moral - flinging a box of bees would do much the same thing! (why a trebuchet, you ask? It's a cool word, and they're more accurate than catapults. My brother calls them trench buckets). Even if one didn't have a trebuchet, a box of bees would still be a deadly weapon. If it were a particularly flimsy or simply damp cardboard box, one could simply throw it at an opponent and run like mad.
All of which brought me to thinking... what other animals would be equally dangerous when packaged in cardboard? Here's an example of one from xkcd:
Bobcat in a box. Beautiful in its simplicity. Although the cat shown above has a long tail, and not the "bobtail" of a bobcat. Perhaps the buyer mistook a simple housecat, infuriated by containment in a cardboard box, for a bobcat by its wrath? Housecats in boxes can be very dangerous indeed.
Has anyone else read this?
My cat certainly likes to hide in boxes.
So dangerous animals in boxes. We have already established bees, bobcats and housecats. What else?
Anything feline at all. We're not limited to bobcats and housecats. Think servals* and caracals, tigers and snow leopards. As long as the box is big enough. There's a pretty big box in my bedroom (I don't know what it's from, but I use it as a bedside table) that would fit a clouded leopard. I'm not sure what sort of box you could get a Barbary Lion or Siberian Tiger into. Maybe the ones that fridges come in? Remember - the smaller the box, the more pissed-off the cat! (please read disclaimer regarding comments like this one).
Moray eels. Moray eels are dangerous anyway, and putting one in a cardboard box would make it angry - not a good combination with the moray eel's teeth, which are long and sharp and angled inwards (thanks for the biology lesson, Thomas Harris!). Once a moray eel bites you, there is no getting it off.
Wasps. Even more dangerous than bees, as wasps can sting multiple times, making a swarm of wasps more dangerous than a swarm of bees of an equal size.
Wolverines. Well, the name just says it all.
Cockatoos. They bite. Palm Cockatoos in particular have terrifying beaks.
Waterfowl. Ducks aren't so bad, but geese and swans? They will bite you. Their beaks are not so sharp as those of the cockatoo, but they are hard and give you bruises and are on the ends of long necks that can seemingly extend to get you just when you think you're out of reach.
Box jellyfish. They're called box because they're box-shaped... just the right shape to hide in a box and then leap out and kill you! Seriously, even without boxes they kill people. I always wondered why they didn't have a more deadly name - now I know. Boxes are deadly.
Spitting cobras. Duh.
I am starting to run out of ideas, however I am sure the list does not end there. Feel free to add to it!
Disclaimer: However much I may be amused by the thought of flinging an animal in a box at someone using a trebuchet (or any other means), it is only the idea I find entertaining and the reality would be sick, twisted and cruel. I do not advocate cruelty of any sort towards any living thing, and do not recommend that anyone attempt to force any animal into a cardboard box against its will. Any outlandish claims in this blog are for the purposes of humour and do not reflect my own beliefs (unless I state otherwise).
*The late Sam, the serval formerly of Franklin Zoo was the only serval I ever met, but he was a grumpy critter. May he rest in peace.