What are some hidden facts about diamonds

Do snakes puke diamonds? Whimsical facts about vomit

"I've heard stories of pythons vomiting diamonds," Enabulele MacDonald recently wrote to the Crazy Animal Question of the Week. "Is that correct?"

Some questions are just real highlights.

Phillip Scher, an anthropologist at the University of Oregon, emailed us that there are folkloric tales of Nigerian origin in which certain snakes choke up stones that illuminate a certain area for the snake to hunt at night.

These myths could be based on small stones - mineral deposits similar to kidney stones - found in the bodies of some snakes, according to Scher.

Even if reptiles are unfortunately not a source of gemstones, MacDonald's question gave us pause: "What strange things do animals vomit or choke so high?"

Get rid of unsightly things

Vomiting is a very active response the brainstem shows to a disease or stimulus, explains Charles Horn, a neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh. It involves contraction of the intestines, followed by gagging, and finally, the grand finish.

Snakes vomit for the same reasons as other animals - including stressed nerves. This python strangled an entire antelope, presumably because it felt stressed by the noisy people around it.

Most cat owners are dealing with hairballs, those adorable little tangles of matted hair that their cats leave behind. Hairballs are made when hair builds up in the gastrointestinal tract and irritates receptors that signal the brain to vomit, says Mark Rondeau of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Veterinary Medicine.