As the passions of Valentine’s Day heat up the February chill, humans aren’t the only ones lookin’ for love: Watch out for skunks!
Five Fascinating Facts from February’s Electronic Almanac Monthly
1. February’s full Moon is called the Full Snow Moon because typically the heaviest snows fall in February. In the old days, the abundant snow made it difficult to hunt and trap, so oftentimes Native Americans would refer to this Moon as the Hunger Moon.
2. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular military quests. Claudius was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join the military. He believed that the reason for this was that Roman men did not want to leave their loved ones and families, so he canceled all marriage ceremonies and engagements in Rome. According to one tradition, Valentine was a Christian bishop in Rome during this time. Among other things, he helped couples to get married in secret. He also aided the Christian martyrs. As punishment, Roman officials beat Valentine to death, then cut off his head. He died on February 14 in about the year 270.
3. The skunk has been cited by biologists as the carnivore that ranks highest as a destroyer of insects as it digs up and feeds on the larvae of the white grub, cutworm, potato bug, Japanese beetle, tobacco worm, grasshopper, and other crop-destroying insect life. Its wholesale destruction of the hop grub moved New York legislators, in 1894, to pass the first laws protecting the skunk with a closed season. Since then, many other states have followed the Empire State’s example.
4. Cold myth: If you get chilled, you’ll catch a cold. Wrong. You catch cold from a virus, not from cold temperatures.
5. February’s birthstone, the amethyst, is said to strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage. At one time, only royalty could wear the gem. The ancient Greeks thought that the amethyst guarded against intoxication. In fact, amethyst comes from amethystos, a Greek word meaning “sober.”