Here Is Yet Another Reason to Fear Geese

By Esther Inglis-Arkell on at

We all know that geese are loud, obnoxious devil-birds which attack in packs. Here’s another nasty trick. One kind of goose deliberately doses itself with poison, so it will kill anyone who eats it.

The spur-winged goose already has two bad features. First, it’s a goose. Geese are big, mean, and territorial. They regularly attack people. The spur-winged goose isn’t particularly big—it grows up to only about fifteen pounds—but it decided to add a secret weapon. As its name suggests, it has a nasty little spur on its wing, and it will put that spur to use in a fight. Usually this fight is against its own kind during mating season, but it’s not picky. Go after this bird and you will regret it.

But let’s entertain for a moment the idea that fate is kind and you get the better of a spur-winged goose in a fight. You now have a goose corpse that you can take home and eat, to gain the goose’s power. Well I hope you like internal penis blisters, because that is what you’re going to get.

Spur-winged geese are one of the relatively few animals that can feed on cantharidin beetles, otherwise known as blister beetles, with no ill-effects. Humans who eat them get a, sometimes fatal, dose of cantharidin, a chemical that causes chemical burns when applied to the skin. Ten miligrams is enough to kill someone by destroying their stomach lining and their kidneys. Just a trace of cantharidin will pass through the system and out through the urine. Going through the human body does nothing to alter the chemical’s properties, and it burns whatever it touches on the way out. The most delicate part of the body it touches, which is the urinary tract. It can cause horrible urinary tract blistering and burning in both women and men, but this unfortunate trait made the beetle famous as a “love potion.” The irritation itself can sometimes cause prolonged erections, and just a bit of cantharidin can produce sensitivity that some people in history apparently enjoyed. The line between sensitivity, internal blistering, and death, is very hard to judge. Whatever the proper dose is, it probably isn’t measured by the goose.

So if you do see a spur-winged goose, give it a wide berth. There is no way to win with this bird. [Source: Death by Toxic Goose]

Image: Bob Fabry