Wednesday, 26 October, 2022

Attack of the otters; Salem’s witch problem; rats to the rescue; and Squiz-E sniffs a Facebook fake. 



Fake Egyptian hieroglyphs Facebook post:

Rats to the rescue:



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Otters … you see pictures or video of them and they just look like the cutest, cuddly critters on the face of the Earth … but for the good people of Singapore, the otter has become a pest – and a really quite aggressive one at that.

The government in Singapore has been forced to issue public warnings about aggressive gangs of otters roaming parks, biting humans on the leg and sneaking into apartment building gardens and gorging on pet fish.

There’s been something of an explosion in the population of otters in Singapore – a critter that is native to the tropical island nation.

And the more their population grows, the bolder the otters become – with many Singaporeans complaining of being chased by gangs of otters as they walk through the city’s many parks and gardens.

For the most part, the otters are harmless. Unless of course you’re a fish in a fish pond in one of the many apartment buildings in Singapore … in which case you’re dinner.

But as the waterways of the city become cleaner and the number of natural predators dwindle – the otters are having a field day.

So much so that Singaporean authorities have launched a program to re-locate several families of otters – taking them to a part of the city that has less humans in it, but plenty of otter food favourites to chow down on.

Attack of the otters … now I really have heard everything. 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops – and today we’ve landed in Salem, a town in the United States, where witch tourism has exploded in the lead up to Halloween.

What’s witch tourism? I’m talking WITCH not WHICH … as in the pointy-hatted, broomstick riding variety of witches. 

You see, Salem is a very famous town in history for having conducted what were called ‘witch trials’ a loooong time ago. Back in 1692, to be precise.

And sadly, no. These were not running trials or netball trials or football trials. I’m talking about women being accused of being a witch and being put on trial – as in a criminal trial in an actual courtroom. Seems hard to imagine these days, doesn’t it?

People around the world still associate the town of Salem with witches, however – and that means each time Halloween comes around, the place gets flooded with tourists – many of them dressed up in their best Halloween costumes. This year alone, more than 300,000 visitors have flocked to the little town to get their witch fix – prompting local authorities there to urge visitors to leave their cars at home and use public transport. Or I suppose they could fly there on their brooms?




We’ve covered off the attack of the otters already in the podcast – so it seems natural that we turn now to a story about rats to the rescue.

Scientists in Belgium – a country next to France in Europe – have devised a teeny tiny backpack for rats to wear to send the rodents into collapsed buildings after an earthquake and locate any trapped humans.

Rats are naturally curious creatures – with an excellent sense of smell. The rats are being trained to find survivors in a collapsed building, pull a switch on their vest which sets off a beeper – then return to base where they are rewarded with a treat.

It’s genius … and of course I’ve stuck a link the story to it in today’s episode notes – complete with photos of backpack-wearing rescue rats. 

You’re welcome.




It’s a Wednesday folks – and that means Squiz E the Newshound pops his head into Squiz Kids HQ to let us know what fishy stories he’s sniffed out this week on the internet.

And the detective dog’s nose is twitching overtime this week following claims on Facebook that ancient Egyptians once inhabited Australia and New Zealand. 

A Facebook post by a group calling itself a ‘political research centre’ claims that carvings in a rock in a national park near Gosford, on the NSW Central Coast, is evidence that ancient Egyptians were in Australia – and possibly in NZ – long before Aboriginal people and Maori.

But Squiz E thought that sounded pretty suspicious. So, like all good Newshounds he decided to STOP, THINK and CHECK.

And he discovered the photo used in the post was taken from an ABC news story from years ago which investigated the rock carvings and found that they were made only a matter of years ago – not thousands of years ago. But that hadn’t stopped the Facebook post being liked over 160 times and shared with other Facebook users. 

It’s a clear case of misinformation … which you and all of your class can find out more about thanks to Squiz E’s latest offering ..

As we’ve mentioned already this week: Newshounds is a new classroom resource brought to you by us – the good people at Squiz Kids – to teach kids how to recognised online fact from fiction – and it launched this week.

Why? Well – because there’s more information coming at you guys than at any other time in history – which is why there’s never been a more important time for you to learn to be critical consumers of media.

That’s really just a fancy way of saying we always need to STOP, THINK and CHECK before believing everything we see, read or hear on the internet. 

Newshounds is an eight-part podcast – with an instructional video for teachers and a classroom activity booklet for kids .. Join Squiz E in this media literacy adventure as he teaches kids to sniff out misinformation. 

It’s fun, for a limited time it’s free – and it’s available to all classrooms now – just get your teacher to pop on over to and set up an account – or hop in via our website or jump into the link in today’s episode notes. 



This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening … 

  1. In which country – an island nation on the Equator – is there currently something of an otter problem?
  2. A long time ago, women in Salem were put on trial, suspected of being what?
  3. What animal are Belgian researchers strapping a backpack to in the hope they’ll become a vital rescue tool during disasters?




It’s October 25 … 59 days til Xmas ..  yikes – we’re in the fifties!  

… it’s also the birthday of pop singer Guy Sebastian, country crooner Keith Urban and creator of the Family Guy and new sci-fi series The Orville, Mr Seth McFarlane.

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… 

Denys from West Beach, Indi from Deniliquin, Elijah from Seaford Rise, Oliver from Wagga Wagga, Lucas from Kingston Beach, Taj Mansfield, Olive-Mary and Poppy-Alice from Bendigo, Jayden from Robina, Harriet from Weemelah, Emma from Rutherford and Everton listening over in Saskatoon, Canada.    

Belated birthday shout outs go to Kieran and Desi from Sydney, Ben from South Kingsville and Lawrence from Epping West.

Classroom shouts go to… Year 5 and Ms Skilleter at Jindalee State School, class 4 white at St James’ Primary School in Kotara South, class 5H and Miss Hines at Mater Dei Primary School in Wagga Wagga, class 6A at Echuca Primary School, Ms Macumski’s kindergarten class at Red Hill Primary School in Canberra and lastly to class 6H with Mrs Ale and Mrs Hili at Ashgrove State School. 



The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Singapore
  2. Witch
  3. Rats