When animals attack…Norwegians

Three very weird stories about animals—and people

Jack Rodolico By Jack Rodolico

If it’s written on the Internet, it has to be true. Such is the motto of the Latitude News weekly Mishmash, a collection of the three most eye-popping stories we unearthed from the global press this week. As always, please send us a good one if you see it.

When animals attack…Norwegians

A Norwegian road sign warning about the presence of polar bears. The Norwegian text reads: “Applies to all of Svalbard.” (Credit/Hagman)

Bears are cute. Those big eyes, the wet nose. That almost human way they break a window, climb into your kitchen and drink enough beer to kill an alcoholic.

Never happened to you? Well, the family of Even Borthen Nilsen can tell you all about it. When the clan arrived at their summer cabin in northeast Norway, the peaceful getaway looked like a frat house.

Bears are good climbers and have a powerful sense of smell. That’s all it took for a mother bear and her three cubs to smash a three-foot-high window and make waste of the booty inside the cabin. It was a feast – chocolate, honey, jam. And over 100 cans of beer. Apparently, bears like beer.

“They had a hell of a party in there,” said Nilsen, according to the UK’s Daily Mail. “The cabin has the stench of a right old piss up, trash and bears.”

Latitude News cannot confirm precisely what “a right old piss up” smells like.

We actually found another funny bear story from Norway

Not funny for the bear, unfortunately.

It’s midnight, you’re driving on a dark country road. A moose appears in the road ahead of you. You swerve, right? Seems like the correct gut reaction. But be sure not to hit a large wild animal while trying not to hit another large wild animal.

In a tale that could have come from Maine or Alaska, a Norwegian driver swerved to avoid slamming into a moose, then hit a brown bear instead. The driver was over 200 kilometers north of Oslo.

Better for the driver, as moose have a tendency to fall upon the top of the car when you hit them. Sadly, wildlife officials were tracking the bear via a trail of blood, indicating internal injuries.

Reuters reports that Norway is home to about 100,000 moose and only 150 brown bears. It was far more likely that the driver would have swerved to avoid the moose, only to hit another moose. A strange week for bears in Norway, indeed.

When Australians attack…animals

There are a lot of whales in Western Australia. There are a small handful of fools, too. Not surprisingly, they’re all young males – the fools, that is.

Jason Hugh Riseborough was hanging out on the beach when he saw a whale about 100 meters offshore. “Why not swim out there,” he thought to himself, “and sit on its back?”

Why not, indeed. He survived, and now he’ll be paying a $2,000 (AU) fine after pleading guilty to “taking protected fauna,” reports the Australia Broadcasting Corporation.

Actually, this is just the most recent such event in Western Australia. Last fall, Sam Matheson, 14, swam offshore to hitch a ride on a right whale. Right whales received their names because they were the “right whale” to hunt. They’re very slow, slow enough for pre-industrial schooners to overtake them, slow enough for a 14-year-old boy to catch up to one and sit on its back.

“It’s skin was like a leather texture,” the boy said, “like a really smooth leather, really soft. It wasn’t even scary, it was like, ‘Dude, it’s a whale.’”