After arresting a suspect trying to flush his stash of meth down the toilet earlier this month, the Loretto Police Department in Tennessee posted on Facebook warning people against doing the same, as the drugs could leak into nearby bodies of water and create “meth-gators.”
The post went viral, generating dozens of news reports from New Zealand to China and causing the police force to feel the need to issue a clarification: They were just joking—drug-addicted alligators don’t really exist (that they know of).
“Alas, the meth-gator is not real,” they said in a Facebook post on July 19. “Let’s say that again: THE METH GATOR IS NOT (at this time) REAL. We’ve had to explain that to our cousins across the pond twice.”
Loretto Police Chief Bobby Joe Killen told ABC News that the comment about meth-gators was meant to be a lighthearted way to get people to pay attention to the real message: Don’t flush drugs down the toilet.
“We take our job seriously, but we like to joke amongst ourselves at the department,” Killen said. “When you work eight, 10-hour shifts in our line of work, there are times when we like to laugh a little bit. Otherwise, you take problems home.”
Though Killen doesn’t know of any reports of methed-up animals in the area, gators or otherwise, there are definitely drug-addicted animals elsewhere in the world. One Australian prison even launched a program where staff and inmates help rehabilitate animals like pythons, bearded dragons, and blue-tongue lizards rescued by police during meth-lab raids or found in the area. What does a meth-python act like? Ian Mitchell, a senior overseer for the facility, toldThe Telegraph the python was more aggressive, confused, and erratic than normal.
The Loretto Police Department is planning to turn the worldwide misunderstanding into a philanthropic endeavor, and they’re hoping to launch a website soon where you can purchase shirts and other items that feature themes from their funniest meth-gator posts. All the proceeds will go to a local charity that supports children affected by drug use.
Every dog parent wants to spoil their beloved pooch, and there are infinite pet products out there designed to help you do so. Here are 10 essentials every dog owner needs, whether you just brought home a new puppy or are just looking to add to your loyal friend’s collection of pet accessories.
1. Nite Ize Nite Dawg Dog Collar; $14–$17
Keep your pooch safe at all hours with a reflective, light-up collar that will make them visible from any angle at distances of up to 1000 feet. The LED lights on the battery-powered Nite Ize Nite Dawg collar feature flashing and glow modes for maximum visibility. The collar is also water-resistant for rainy days (or pond-loving dogs) and is designed to run for 100 hours before you need to change its batteries. It comes in four different sizes that will fit pups of all shapes, sizes, and breeds.
We’ve written about the amazing staying power of Chase ’n Chomp’s squeaker ball before, because according to pet owners, it’s virtually indestructible. Amazon reviewers swear their dogs love it: One even says her German Shepherd’s relationship with her squeaker ball is “like Golem with his magic ring—it’s that serious!”—which is about the highest praise we can imagine. The squeaker will outlast even the most intense chewing, and in case your dog is a swimmer, it floats, too.
The Pooch Selfie smartphone attachment is the easiest way to make sure the camera loves your pup as much as you do. The mount allows you to affix a tennis ball on top of your phone, giving your dog something enticing to look at so that you can capture the perfect photo of the two of you. It comes with a squeaky ball designed to get your dog’s attention, but any standard tennis ball will work. The clasp will fit on most smartphones and smartphone cases.
House-training accidents are unavoidable, but you don’t need to worry about your furry friend ruining your floors. Pogi’s absorbent pee pads are made with plant-based, renewable materials so that you don’t have to feel guilty about hurting the environment for the sake of convenience. Better yet, the adhesive backing won’t slide around on hard floors, and the quilted core stops odors and leaks in their tracks. They also contain a dog attractant designed to make sure your pooch goes on the pad, not your floor. And they’re not just for puppies—pee pads are an excellent choice for older dogs or any pup that has trouble holding it in between walks. And if you just can’t convince your dog to stop marking its territory, dog diapers and wraps are a good option. (Mental Floss’s resident office dog, Simba, looks adorable in his.)
Unless you want to spend hundreds of dollars on dental cleanings and tooth extractions later in your dog’s life, you probably want to take care of their teeth. That doesn’t necessarily mean getting up in their molars with a toothbrush. There are plenty of dental chews and tooth-friendly toys, including this one from beloved pet toy brand KONG. The puzzle toy one can be stuffed with treats or peanut butter, and as your dog chews at it to extract its contents, the exterior ridges will clean their teeth. It comes in three different sizes and is designed to withstand even the toughest chewers.
Your dog’s stamina for playing fetch probably far outweighs your own, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for saying no to those begging puppy-dog eyes. You can now outsource your playtime to a robot. The iFetch automatic ball launcher is made to play with your dog when you cannot. The interactive gadget can be programmed to throw balls 10, 20, or 30 feet, depending on the size of your home and your dog’s stamina, and comes with miniature balls designed for smaller dogs. (The company also makes a version that can launch a standard tennis ball up to 40 feet, called the iFetch Too, which is available on Amazon for $200.)
No matter the breed, size, or hair type, your dog is bound to get stinky at some point. And while you’ll want to bathe them, you don’t want to irritate their skin. This colloidal oatmeal shampoo from Burt’s Bees promises to clean, soothe, and soften your dog’s dry skin and fur and reduce itching. It’s pH balanced, tear-free, and perfect for sensitive skin.
Challenge your dog’s mind while keeping their body trim with an interactive puzzle feeder that forces them to work for their dinner. Aikiou’s interactive bowl provides more of a challenge than most slow-feeding puzzle bowls, forcing your dog to nose through each of the “toe caps” on the paw-shaped bowl to reveal the kibble beneath—similar to the foraging behavior your pup would use in the wild.
Furbo’s dog cam allows you to do more than just check in on your dog while you’re at work. You can view your pup on the high-definition, wide-angle livestream 24/7 with night vision capabilities. You can fill the robot with treats and use your phone to direct it to through treats for your pup. And you can calm an anxious dog with the bark-alert feature, which allows the Furbo to detect when your dog is barking so that you can see what’s going on and talk to them through the associated app. It can also detect a flurry of movement, such as if your dog is jumping on the couch, chewing cords, or pacing anxiously. Several users say these alerts have proved key in an emergency, detecting them to house fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and dogs tearing through massive bags of chocolate.
If you can’t choose what to buy your pup, let BarkBox choose for you. Each monthly subscription box comes with two bags of treats, a dental chew, and at least two toys around a specific theme, like “Knights of the Hound Table” and “Chewrassic Park.” You can choose to receive small, medium, or large toys; specify if your dog has food allergies; and decide between a one-month, six-month, or 12-month subscription. First time subscribers get their initial box for $16, after that it’s $29 a month.
Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!
Cats have a certain dignity about them that has long commanded respect from their human counterparts—from the ancient Egyptians, who used to worship the feline goddess Bastet; to modern-day artists, who consider cats a subject of fascination. But no matter the height of the pedestal we place them on, most cats are happy to leave respectability behind in favor of rolling around on the floor for hours on end at the first whiff of some sweet, sweet catnip. And now you can enjoy the best of their antics with this 2020 Cats on Catnip wall calendar, which is available on Amazon for $7.
From suddenly turning wide-eyed and crazy to staring wistfully off into space, felines respond to catnip in a variety of ways, which is captured on all 12 months of the calendar. In the month of January, for example, you’ll find a cat named Sasha on the verge of passing out as her tongue lazily laps up some stray 'nip, while February’s cat, Piper, looks to be in a frenzy over the stuff.
The calendar is an adaptation of the book Cats on Catnip (available on Amazon for $10) by Andrew Marttila, a professional photographer best known for his work with felines. And if you have a cat friend at home and want to capture some of their hilarious moments, be sure to pre-order Marttila’s new book, How to Take Awesome Photos of Cats, which will be available in the spring.
As entertaining as it is to watch a cat indulge on some 'nip, only about half the world’s felines actually respond to the green stuff. Learn why by heading here.
Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!