Thursday Night Bar Fight #2: When Animals Attack!

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

105 Responses

  1. Will H. says:

    I’ve been working on teaching my cat to do that.

    Great photo, again.

    Tod for Art Director!Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    First, some questions… are we training the animals? Not all animals are trainable… this would seem to be a huge factor. What if the animals just do what most animals do and sit there and stare at each other?


    Two answers immediately jumped to mind… then a third… then a fourth… I first thought of a bear or a lion. Both animals can do some real damage and are hard to kill. Then I thought of a snake, because they don’t have many natural predators and can use poison. Then I thought of an elephant, because I’m not sure if there is a any lone animal that could take down something of that size. And when properly motivated, those bitches will fuck you up. Gun to my head…. argh…. I say… ummmm… bear! No! Elephant! Bear riding an elephant? Using a snake as his whip? No. Elephant. Elephant it is. Bears hibernate away like, half the year. I can’t risk the battle happens in February and my chosen animal is snoozing.

    As for mascots, my college were the Eagles and my high school was the Highwaymen, which I believe were some sort of wild west band of thieves. The eagle would do well if we were battling in an open air arena, though isn’t ideal because it couldn’t sustain an attack on anything bigger than a medium-sized dog. The highwayman, assuming he got all the advantages of a man (namely, a gun), would dominate. But that feels like cheating.

    A related question I have has to do with human frailty. We’ve evolved to become the top species largely because of our brain and the development of tools. But, left to your own devices, bare handed, what is the largest animal I could lock you in a room with and you’d be confident you could kill? What if you were in the wild? I’m not sure I could confidently take down anything larger than a small dog. Anything bigger than that is probably too strong and anything smaller is probably too fast and nimble.

    Fun questions!Report

  3. Damon says:


  4. Matty says:

    Kazzy has kind of beaten me to this but I go for a wild Homo Sapiens with a good arsenal. There is nothing they cannot kill.Report

  5. North says:

    Elephant or Rhino strike me as the living animals most likely to prevail. They are the tanks of the natural world.Report

    • Ryan Noonan in reply to North says:

      I’m with North. One of the under-appreciated aspects of this competition is that it’s an endurance match. My animal has to beat everyone else’s (well, in a tournament format, I guess), and that takes more than speed and ferocity. You can’t solo a boss with DPS or heals.

      My college mascot is a wolverine. It would put up a good fight, because they’re ferocious and mean as hell, but ultimately it wouldn’t be big enough to beat someone else’s elephant or rhino.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

        My college mascot is a wolverine. It would put up a good fight

        Dude, your wolverine got pasted by a frickin’ duck!Report

        • I was at that game. The relevant animal comparison is sloth vs. ninja made of knives.Report

          • James Hanley in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

            Hey, I was there, too! The best moment was the fake statue of liberty play. When they ran the real statue of liberty play, everyone around me (including me) was asking “did we really just see that?” Then when they ran the fake one, and everybody was thinking they’d stupidly tried that same ancient trick play again, only to realize it was a dupe….I think that was the precise moment at which hope deflated.

            I’m neither here nor there on Michigan, no love, but not really any hate (I mean, they’re not fishing Ohio State, right?). And I don’t mean to rub it in too hard, but I don’t think you have to be a fan of the team that does that to realize you saw one of the most astounding moments in college football. (The Ducks have really toned down the trickery since that year, though.)Report

            • I actually like Oregon a lot. I’m interested to see if the momentum continues without Chip Kelly.

              Michigan went through some rough years. I’m confident things are getting back on track.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

                Yeah, Michigan is back on track (sigh). The RichRod hire was unbelievably stupid, but I’ll be surprised if Hoke doesn’t make them a perennial contender again.

                I think Oregon will be fine because their success is built as much on their facilities as on their coaching staff, and they hired a guy who knows the program so there’ll be continuity. Still, they didn’t have a good recruiting year, so we’ll have to wait and see.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to Ryan Noonan says:

        My animal has to beat everyone else’s (well, in a tournament format, I guess)

        Round-robin or single (or double) elimination? Round-robin creates the potential that there’s no Condorcet winner (which I suspect is in fact the real case). An elimination approach would solve that, and I’ll plump for double-elimination because it allows for comebacks, and those always boost the television ratings.Report

  6. mark boggs says:

    I’m an Iowa State Cyclone…how the hell is anything gonna compete with a cyclone? And sure, the actual mascot is a red bird named “Cy”, but the university is called the “Cyclones.” You are all fished.Report

  7. dexter says:

    I have to go with a bacteria that causes a virulent form of dysentary.Report

  8. Christopher Carr says:

    By the way, do you think hunter-gatherers sat around the fire drinking mead and having this exact conversation 100,000 years ago?Report

  9. Dan Miller says:

    I’m going to choose Pando the tree. It’s a grove of aspens in Utah; but it’s genetically identical and shares a root system, so it should fit under the contest rules as a single organism. I’m betting there’s no animal that could destroy 106 acres of trees before dying of malnutrition or perhaps old age. An endurance win is still a win.Report

  10. Reformed Republican says:

    I was also going to say hippo for animal of choice.

    My school mascot? The Devil. Unless your mascot was God, I think you are pretty screwed.Report

  11. Barry says:

    I’d go with my state mascot, the Wolverine.

    Sheer meanness – send in your enraged elephant, that’ll just get the wolverine fatter 🙂

    Second choice – honey badger – it doesn’t give a sh*t, and eats poison snakes for fun, after taking a short nap to recover from lethal poison.Report

  12. Just Me says:

    So far the Elephants have it. I guess there are more republicans on this site than I thought.

    I would say wild homo sapiens all the way, but are we then denying them the right to their person hood?

    If it was in water I would say killer whale, because they rock! On land I have to go with the badger and a little mouse buddy to scare the elephant away. For an air battle I would go with a golden eagle. My high school mascot the orioles I don’t think would win many fights.Report

  13. Bob2 says:

    My college mascot is actually a “homo sapiens with big-ass weapon.” though we’re talking medieval knight here.

    I’ll go with Honey Badger because he doesn’t give a fuck:

    Or the Brazilian Wandering Spider or the Box Jellyfish because poisonous.Report

  14. Burt Likko says:

    My college mascot is a Gaucho. Without bolos or a lasso or firearms the gaucho may still be a pretty tough hombre but he’s gonna have a hard time against Kazzy’s pissed-off elephant.

    My high school mascot is the Spirit (thanks, archdioscese of Los Angeles!). This may be the way to go for the dystopian gladiatorial future awaiting us all. As a non-corporeal entity it’s invulnerable to attack. While it may not be able to do any damage itself, it’s also ageless. So Kazzy’s pissed-off elephant will die of old age eventually and my Spirit will triumph.Report

  15. My university is the Ravens. In a one-on-one, we’re kind of screwed, except against Just Me’s Orioles. However, get more than one and it’s a [spooky voice] murder, A Murder! [/spooky voice].Report

  16. zic says:

    Fisher; small, agile, able to climb well. The only animal that hunts porcupines. The natural disposition is don’t fuck with me, I’ll cut you.

    For the mascot, Cougar. Cougar’s perfectly capable of hunting fisher, but why bother? That nasty disposition takes all the fun out it.Report

  17. NewDealer says:

    Animal: Grizzly Bear and I would put her cub behind the opponent animal. Nuff said.

    College Mascot: We are the Vassar College Brewers. As in people who make beer, I think this will easily make me the most popular person and become president without fighting.

    High School Mascot: Rebels (as in American Revolutionary Rebel*). I will just lead the uprising that restores Constitutional Government and ushers in a new golden era of Democracy and Prosperity.

    *IIRC it used to be a Southern Rebel but my high school switched quickly after founding (my HS did not open until the 1950s or 60s) because the student body and faculty found it unconscionable. MLK came to speak at my high school sometime in the mid or lateish 1960s.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to NewDealer says:

      Vassar Brewers? I hereby declare immunity for New Dealer from all fights, providing he actually follows through and brings the beer. (Unless Milwaukee baseball fans get there the firstest with the mostest, in which case ND’s brewer has to go up against Burt Likko’s spirit.)Report

      • NewDealer in reply to James Hanley says:

        Matthew Vassar made his fortune as a brewer and that was the seed money for the college.

        Rumor has it that the halls in the first building were made wide so they could be used for keg storage and rolling in case the college failed.Report

  18. Anne says:

    High school Mascot the Vikings got a sword and shield and nifty pointy helmet, secret super power the ability to berserk

    College The Buffalo Ralphie can run 40 mph and she will top out in weight around 1100 pounds so given enough space to run and only one opponent may do well

    Graduate school the Bobcats smaller but fast and mean so…improvement on original mascot the Violet which pretty much will just get trampled or eatenReport

  19. Mike Schilling says:

    I have to mention the classic SF story Arena by Frederic Brown, in which one man has to fight one alien to settle The Fate of the Universe. Read it.

    (If it seems familiar, that’s because it was adapted into an episode of the original Star Trek.)Report

  20. Patrick Cahalan says:

    High School Mascot (I shit you not): The Bells.

    Yes, I still think it’s lame. I cannot believe that there are alumni who don’t think it’s lame, and that they outnumber me.

    College mascot: The Lions, and now the (Ped)ant. Given a choice between the two a colony of war ants is a pretty good option, but we’re stuck with one.

    My own choice, in the dark, would be an elephant because, yeah, elephant… but given that you know a bunch of people are going to pick elephant, you’re going up against a bunch of elephants in the tourney, and you have to assume that not all of the various arenas are going to be a good match for elephants. I mean, a 500 x 500 open space, elephants are going to rule, but in a 20 x 20 box with pit traps, all you have to do is hang around for a little while and the environment will do you work for you. I’m figuring we’re talking about The Hunger Games sort of deal, here, right?

    So instead I’ll pick something and fast and agile, that can climb on multiple surfaces and jump really far. Win by environmental attrition. Have to have some offensive capabilities, so I’ll go with a cougar.Report

  21. I’m going with a rhino, methinks.Report

  22. Gaelen says:

    College Mascot: The Quakers, so . . . . . . . yeah, I’m screwed.

    We were the Fighting Quakers (kinda funny), then the Hustling Quakers (incredibly lame), and now just Quakers (how was that so hard?). Either way, probably not winning a cage match.

    For an animal I would have to choose the king cobra. I actually just looked this up (kind of a slow day today), but they have been known to kill elephants by biting them on the tip of the trunk or on the foot, between toenail and skin.Report

  23. dragonfrog says:

    High school mascot: armed homo sapiens – specifically an archer (motto: “Sagittarius in Fronte”, which I would have thought made pretty bad military tactics, but what do I know). Particularly depending on available terrain, a human with a ranged weapon could do quite well. Climb the side of the thunder dome and rain down arrows on the unfortunate opponent; you don’t need to drop it on the first shot as long as it can’t climb after you.

    University mascot: husky. Sled dogs can get mean and all, but it’s still polar bears mauling them, not the reverse

    I think Dan Miller’s picked the winner with Pando the Tree – not only has it proven its ability to outlast individual megafauna opponents, it’s outlasted entire megafauna species.Report

  24. Nob Akimoto says:


    If it’s an endurance match and assuming the arena gets water, thing without natural predator wins.Report

  25. Wardsmith says:

    All the other good animals seem to have been taken so I’ll go with skunk. Yeah, not too ferocious but really, who wants to mess with one?Report

  26. Chris says:

    Tsetse fly. When you’re all dyin’ from sleeping sickness, it won’t matter who previously thought they were the leader.Report

  27. ThatPirateGuy says:

    High school mascot: mustangs, good kick but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    College mascot: older southern gentleman with military experience.

    Age and lack of weapons really hurts. Even with good evasion I doubt he could hold out due too lack of alcohol and tobacco in the arena.

    So my choice is platypus due to its mammalian ability to control its temperature, ability to swim, venomous spur, ability to survive australia and sheer weirdness.Report

  28. Chris says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that my high school mascot was the Rebels, which means that in our fight we’re going to lose, but we’re going to spend a century and a half or more whining about it, so eventually maybe you’ll just get sick of us and give up.Report

  29. I have given this question a boatload of thought. Too much, in fact.

    Under the rules of the contest, the fights are all one-on-one, in a single-elimination tourney. Presumably the arena is a decent size, at least the size of a hockey rink. That means that you need something nimble and quick (not merely fast). An elephant won’t do – it’d be too easy to play a cat and mouse game. You also need something that’s fairly versatile, something that will have at least a chance against everything, even if it might occasionally be an underdog.

    I think in the end, you’ve got to go with either one of the big cats or some sort of vicious baboon. Scratch that, I’m going with the baboon. Check this out

    When danger is sensed, such as an approaching leopard, the three big bucks will raise the alarm. At once, the whole troop submits 100%, and the females grab the babies and young and run to the center of the troop. The younger bucks gather around the females and their young and display attack gestures outward. The two or three big buck leaders move around the perimeter of the troop, back and forth, watching for the leopard. The troop will not panic or run away.

    Now, a smart leopard, though he may consider baboon a delicacy, will not proceed to attack. But, if the leopard advances, the three big bucks, with several younger bucks following, will charge the leopard, and they will tear the leopard to shreds….. literally. Baboons are much smaller than leopards, but the effect of baboon rage is stupefying to the leopard. Game hunters have reported finding the scene afterward, and all that was left was mouthful sized pieces of leopard in all directions. The baboons tore the leopard to bits using their powerful mouths. Virtually NO other member of the ape family conducts business in this manner.


    On the mascot front, my college keeps changing it, even as it’s always had more or less the same name (Raiders or Red Raiders). It started out as an American Indian, then was a fishing torch (no, seriously….a torch!), and now it’s some sort of pirate-looking dude, but not a very tough looking pirate, more a children’s cartoon type of pirate. We’re not getting very far with that sucker. But my high school mascot was a pioneer with a coonskin hat, rifle, and buckskins. He’d have a pretty good shot at this.

    Especially since, when I was there, he memorably wandered over towards the visitor’s sideline of the football field and promptly beat the living hell out of the opposing school’s mascot (an anthropomorphic Panther) in full view of the entire crowd and both teams.Report

  30. Kim says:

    Yawn. Okay. Trained assassin, wearing a garotte as a necktie. Add in other traditional accouterments that serve as clothing (poisoned hairpins, among others).

    Just the clothes on his back, ya?Report

  31. Jaybird says:

    Did anyone mention Cthulhu yet? I pick him.Report

  32. Matty says:

    Actually will you accept the ebola virus as an animal?Report

  33. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    There are too many variables really. What size is the arena? Too small and the larger animals are at a disadvantage. Too large and the smaller animals may be at a disadvantage.

    What is the environment? Is it hot, cold or temperate? Day or night or both? Land (if so, what kind) or water (salt, fresh, brackish)? Hills or mountains? Groves or jungles? Is the surface diggable?

    I might go with a tarantula — dig pits to trap the larger animals and bite, bite, bite everything.

    High school mascot was a tiger. This would beat a fair number of critters but not my first choice. College was the mustangs. Yuck.Report

  34. Russell M says:

    I can’t believe this made it to sunday and no one has chosen the ManBearPig. seeing as how the only thing that can kill the MBP is Al Gore and he will surely be killed by a mob seeking his solar cells for power the MBP will rule the thunder dome.

    HS mascot was a Trojan. he looked more like a roman centurion. never got tired of having opposing football teams call us condoms.Report