National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Bark Mitzvah Facts

Nick resting at the arches of the Bark Mitzvah in Stanhope, NJ.

Nick resting at the arches of the Bark Mitzvah in Stanhope, NJ. (View larger version)

Photograph by NGC / Daniel Gibson

Published
  • Pomeranians are a lucky breed – only 3 dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, 2 of which were Pomeranians.

  • While painting the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo had his spoiled pet Pomeranian by his side, relaxing on a cushion.

  • Despite their smallness, Pomeranian dogs are descended from the larger German Spitz dogs and actually weighed much larger than the Pomeranians we know today, about 30 pounds! It wasn't until the late 1800s when Queen Victoria owned and bred small-sized Pomeranians that breeding smaller-sized Pom Poms became popular and more common.

  • Pomeranians used to be working dogs and were used for a variety of purposes, including pulling sleds, hunting, herding and sounding alarms to alert any oncoming danger. Their thick double coats, athleticism and devotion to their masters made them well-suited for work!

  • Pom Poms have been an inspiration to classical composers— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dedicated an aria to his Pom Pom named Pimperl, and Frederic Chopin wrote "Waltz of the Little Dogs" inspired by his friend's Pomeranian pet.

  • For centuries, English theaters employed cats to hunt out mice and other vermin. The most famous theater cat was Beerbohm the Tabby, who worked at Gielgud Theatre in London for 20 years. Upon his death in 1995, he was the only cat to ever have his obituary appear on the front page of theater newspaper The Stage.

  • A group of about 60 cats watches over the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia in order to safeguard the artwork from rodents. This distinguished feline force has been in existence since 1764.

  • The first known domestic cat was discovered by French archeologists in a 9,500-year-old grave on the island of Cyprus.

  • German physician and theologian Dr. Albert Schweitzer had his own spoiled rotten pets – his 2 cats Sizi and Piccolo. Whenever Sizi fell asleep in his left arm, the left-handed doctor opted to write prescriptions with his right hand until his pet moved on her own accord. Piccolo meanwhile would fall asleep on stacks of papers; one was required to wait until the slumbering feline woke up before being able to acquire any of those papers.

  • In 2000, the Japanese company Omron had created the first mass-produced robotic feline named Tama. Just like a real cat, Tama purrs when stroked and sleeps whenever she wants.

  • The oldest living tortoise on record was named Tui Malila who lived to be 188 years old! In second place was Harriet, who died at age 176 in 2006.

  • Chinese legends say that the patterns on a turtle's shell form a map that shows the best places to grow plants for food.

  • In Japanese mythology, turtles were considered symbols of happiness and good fortune, primarily because of their long life span. Tortoise art was oftentimes given as wedding presents to wish the newlywed couple long life and happiness.

  • May 23 is World Turtle Day, raising awareness, knowledge and respect for turtles!

  • The laziest freshwater turtle is the Pelochelys cantorii (or Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle). Native to the Mekong River in Cambodia, this lethargic reptile spends 95% of its life motionless in sand on the river bottom waiting for prey to approach. It comes up to the water surface to breathe air only twice each day.

0 comments