For a very long time the vanilla flavoring in ice creams baked eateries came from the anal secretion of beavers. Beaver butts secrete a goo or slime-like product known as castoreum, which these animals use to make their territory.

The food and drug administration listed castoreum as a “regarded as safe” additive, and manufactures worldwide have been using it extensively in perfumes and foods for at least 80 years. Castoreum is a chemical product that mostly comes from the beavers’ caster sacs, present in between its pelvis and its tail base.

Castoreum is often a combination of caster gland secretions, anal gland secretions, and urine. While most anal secretions stink due to odour producing bacteria in the gut, the is chemical compound is a product of the beaver’s special diet of leaves and bark.

Instead of smelling icky, castoreum has a musky, vanilla scent, which is why food Scientists like to include it in recipes. But extraction is a cumbersome (and gross) process which is why many Industries have started exploring other alternatives recently.

There’s a slim chance that vanilla favoring in your food has been sourced from a beaver’s butt. So you can wipe that disgust off and go enjoy a scoop of good-old-vanilla!


In 1964, china detonated its first nuclear device, and its neighbours, including India, were worried about the country’s drowning dominance. To gain an edge, the US collaborated with India to place nuclear-powered monitoring devices across the himalayas to spy on Chinese nuclear tests and missile firings.

In October 1965, a team of Indian and American climbers packed up seven plutonium capsules and surveillance equipment, which where meant to be placed on top of Nanda Devi peak and near India’s north-eastern border with china.

On their way to planting the devices on Nanda Devi, the climbers suddenly got stuck at the base camp as a blizzard struck. The winds were so strong that the team had to leave the peak and come back without the nuclear device, hoping that they would get the equipment back once the blizzard calmed down.

However, when they returned in the next climbing season, what they saw was extremely surprising and scary – the equipment was no longer there! After numerous search operations, the team presumed that it had been swept away by an avalanche, the print notes.

While the search operations might have stopped, the suspense about where the device is located remains to be a regular discussion topic amongst the locals as the device, which was lost in the mountains five decades ago, hasn’t been found to this date!

The topic has resurfaced as there are some murmurs that the last nuclear monitoring device could have caused the recent floods in Uttarakhand. After the unfortunate incident, rumours flew that the devices had “exploded” and triggered the deluge.

While Scientists believe that a piece of the broken glacier was responsible for the flooding, many locals refuse to accept that a glacier could simply break off in winter and blame the disaster on the lost monitoring device.