Animate A Picture BiographyAlex alligator arrived at Allison Arthur's apple farm in April, when the apple trees were covered with blossoms.
"Whatever am I to do with an alligator?" Allison asked.
Inside the box, Alex yawned. Alex stuck his legs through the holes at the bottom of the box and ambled into the house in search of dinner.
"Oh no you don't!" cried Allison. "You cannot live in the house. You are to stay in the stream behind the apple orchard."
Allison put Alex in the small stream. Then Allison put a strong fence around the stream so Alex did not try to eat Mrs. Chory's chickens.
Alex liked the stream and his pen. He especially liked the steaks Allison gave him every morning and evening.
One day in August a red apple fell off a tree and rolled under the fence and into Alex's pen. Alex sniffed it a bit and then took a bite.
It was the most delicious thing Alex had ever eaten. Alex slipped under the fence and ambled into the apple orchard. Alex found a line of baskets sitting under a tree. Alex ate all the apples in the baskets. Then he wandered under another tree and ate all the apples in the baskets he found there. He was very happy. And very full. He went back into his cage.
Allison came by later with his steak. Alex sniffed at it, but he was not very hungry.
"Do you know what someone did Alex?" asked Allison. Alex yawned. "Someone stole all my apples. They knocked over the baskets and stole the apples. If it happens again, I'm calling the police."
That night, Alex had a very pleasant dream about apples. After his steak the next morning, Alex slipped under the fence and out into the orchard. There were a bunch of people climbing up and down ladders with baskets. Alex watched for a few moments. Then he realized that when the people came down the ladders, their baskets were full of apples.
Thanks to the know-it-all from second grade, we're all aware that dolphins and whales are mammals, not fish. But it's probably been a while since you've pondered just how incredibly, mind-blowingly weird it is that you and whales were the same animal more recently than whales and sharks. Or to put it in chart form, you and whales split up somewhere in the big tangle of bio diversity up top labeled "Age of Mammals" while whales and fish haven't been the same animals since way the hell down here where you see the word Selacchi. So how is it that our evolutionary cousins ended up with flippers and fins exactly where fish have them and we ended up needing swimming lessons? Turns out it's the same reason birds and bats both ended up flying around on wings: convergent evolution, the smarmy term for when completely unrelated species develop similar traits. It happens because, related or not, evolution is going to favor the folks with the best equipment. Here are some critters that prove sometimes evolution is just trying to screw with your head.
One day, Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Coon and Brer Bear and a lot of other animals decided to work together to plant a garden full of corn for roasting. They started early in the morning and raked and dug and raked some more, breaking up the hard ground so it would be ready for planting. It was a hot day, and Brer Rabbit got tired mighty quick. But he kept toting off the brush and clearing away the debris 'cause he didn't want no one to call him lazy.
Then Brer Rabbit got an idea. "Ow!" he shouted as loudly as he could. "I got me a briar in my hand!" He waved a paw and stuck it into his mouth. The other critters told him he'd better pull out the briar and wash his hand afore it got infected. That was just what Brer Rabbit wanted to hear. He hurried off, looking for a shady spot to take a quick nap. A little ways down the road, he found an old well with a couple of buckets hanging inside it, one at the top, and one down at the bottom.
"That looks like a mighty cool place to take a nap," Brer Rabbit said, and hopped right into the bucket.
Well, Brer Rabbit was mighty heavy - much heavier than the bucket full of water laying at the bottom. When he jumped into the empty bucket, it plummeted right down to the bottom of the well. Brer Rabbit hung onto the sides for dear life as the second bucket whipped passed him, splashing water all over him on its way to the top. He had never been so scared in his life.
Brer Rabbit's bucket landed with a smack in the water and bobbed up and down. Brer Rabbit was afraid to move, in case the bucket tipped over and landed him in the water. He lay in the bottom of the bucket and shook and shivered with fright, wondering what would happen next.
Now Brer Fox had been watching Brer Rabbit all morning. He knew right away that Brer Rabbit didn't have a briar in his paw and wondered what that rascal was up to. When Brer Rabbit snuck off, Brer Fox followed him and saw him jump into the bucket and disappear down the well.
Brer Fox was puzzled. Why would Brer Rabbit go into the well? Then he thought: "I bet he has some money hidden away down there and has gone to check up on it." Brer Fox crept up to the well, listening closely to see if he could hear anything. He didn't hear nothing. He peered down into the well, but all was dark and quiet, on account of Brer Rabbit holding so still so the bucket wouldn't tip him into the water.