I was inspired by the thread mentioning spider ballooning, and I started remembering all the times I’ve been accused (usually jokingly) of “ruining” things for my non-naturalist friends by dispensing too much information.
Okay, I admit it, ruining things with facts is probably one of my favorite hobbies.
Here’s the list of things I’ve ruined so far, and I’d love to hear yours as well.
The sky - by pointing out the above-mentioned fact that the sky is full of flying spiders
Finding Nemo, the movie involving clownfish - Nemo would have hatched as a hermaphrodite. When the mother is gone, the father, as the largest fish left in the group, would have sex-changed into a female. Since the group now lacks a breeding male, Nemo would shift into a male, breed with his now-female dad, and they’d start a big ol’ happy family together.
Finches - by pointing out the existence of Vampire Finches. Turns out the idea of those birds is very disturbing to a whole lot of people.
Most every plant with large, showy flowers-- they’re usually invasive species that escaped from gardens, hence the ornamental nature.
Honeysuckle (which everyone grew up pulling the flower apart to drink nectar from as a kid, because it’s so invasive that it’s literally everywhere in every county), Sweet Clematis, Queen Anne’s Lace, et cetera.
Especially so with allelopathic plants. Yes, they’re pretty, but on top of being generally awful they also engage in underground chemical warfare with native plants.
Outdoor cats. Constantly having to resist the urge to go on a tirade any time an acquaintance mentions their outdoor cat; I once responded to someone’s comment about a cat bell with “they learn to walk so the bell doesn’t ring” without thinking and it was very awkward.
It brings me great joy when I’m looking for jumping spiders and a baby (usually Eris militaris) floats down around where I’m looking. I’ve become “skilled” At catching them from the sky. They are so cute! I’m sad that people hate spiders, and ballooning too. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/108686479
As for ruining things, sometimes people say things that are true for some animals but not all. For instance I’ve heard many times people say that “Female spiders always eat the male after they mate” and while for some spiders this is basically true, with some types, like jumping spiders, it’s actually common for the males to not get eaten.
Great Horned Owls are cannibals and eat other birds. A non-naturalist wouldn’t know. Coconuts also kill more people than sharks do. The Bald Eagle is actually a thief and its sound is not what anyone thinks it is. Raccoons & Opposums are a success story compared to Big cats. Speaking of which, No Big Cat in NA roars or purrs. Most Flies only live for 24 hrs. Swifts stay in the air and birds and butterflies fly hundreds of miles, learning this fact will probably make you feel about how lazy people are. There are a lot more I could keep going with but that would just make anyone who is not a naturalist heart broken
The other thing I ruin for people is their delusions that their pest management is effective. Integrated Pest Management is a must if you want to actually save time and money. If you are only killing rodents that get in your house instead of addressing what’s drawing them in, you’re just slapping a temporary band-aid on the problem.
Deer and other ungulates have been observed munching on fledglings too. I remember a science teacher of mine in high school showing us a video of a deer eating a baby bird right off the ground like it was just another blade of grass.
An acquaintance on social media posted a lovely picture of a bouquet she put together from flowers she’d found on the roadside, with a touching message of something along the lines of “to most people, these flowers are weeds, but to me they are as beautiful as any store-bought bouquet.” I posted links to how each had been listed as an invasive noxious weed… am now unfriended.