Who’s Germany’s Latest Animal Celebrity?

Germany, as a country, loves animals.  In fact, they love animals to the point that they cause sensations.  There was Knut, the polar bear raised by zookeepers after his mother rejected him.  And there was Paul, the octopus whose feeding habits could predict who won soccer matches, which we’re surprised didn’t endear him to all of Europe.  We even reported on Leona the tough-as-nails baby penguin just last week. So, what’s so distinct about Heidi the opossum?  We’ll tell you, and also reveal how Las Vegas has suddenly made the ATM even more insane, even if you don’t watch football, here at Uproxx News.

Well, did you see the photo?  She’s got big, adorable, googly, crossed eyes.

Seriously.  That’s it.

Still, that’s enough for Germany, and thanks to the Internet, Heidi-mania is spreading.  Heidi has a popular Facebook page, a plush animal coming, and, naturally, a viral video:

It all started in Bild, the best-selling newspaper in Europe, as well as Germany’s premier source for animal stories (Knut got his start there), where a photo of the googly-eyed pest ran. And pretty much that was all that needed to happen: Heidi is apparently adorable enough to Germans that she spread like wildfire.

Nobody’s really sure where Heidi-mania is going to end up. The zoo, for its part, is staying with its previous display plans and downplaying Heidi-mania, saying it was “unexpected and unplanned.” But they’ll be happy to sell you a ticket to see her. We just hope Heidi doesn’t develop an exotic bugs habit, or start hanging around with the wrong crowd.

Speaking of hanging around with the wrong crowd, Las Vegas has introduced a new and possibly bankrupting new idea into the world. Being that this is Las Vegas, naturally people like to gamble. Well, the Golden Nugget has extended that to even your investments, hopping on the goldbug craze and installing an ATM that spits out gold coins and gold bars.

You might be thinking that this is just a cute method of getting tourists to buy cheesy overpriced souvenirs, but this is in fact completely serious. It’s real gold. Granted, real gold with the Golden Nugget logo on it, but real gold nonetheless. You can’t take the coins up to the counter for chips, either: you’re buying gold to keep as an investment against the future, because commodity prices are always, always stable.

And how much will it run you? At current market prices, about $1000 a bar. The Nugget Dispenser (and if that’s not its name, it should be) uses an internal computer to track gold market prices, and charges a small premium above market price. Needless to say, it also has a host of anti-theft measures, although sadly none of them involve turning into a robot and firing golden bullets at thieves. So, if you want a guaranteed payout, as well as a bulk sample of a chemical element, now you know exactly where to go in Vegas.


  • This rodent is more famous than you ever will be. (Yahoo!)
  • Finally, Vegas has figured out another way to exploit greed. Keep diversifying, guys! (USA Today)



  • If you thought the anti-smoking bans in the US were getting ridiculous, you might want to avoid Bhutan, the Buddhist kingdom that views smoking as bad for your karma. So they’ll have the police kick in your door and demand that you produce receipts to prove your tobacco is legally imported and throw you in jail for five years if they catch you with too much tobacco or selling it. We admit we weren’t paying attention in world religion class, but we’re pretty sure Buddha would disapprove of this. (MSNBC)
  • Meanwhile, the American Legacy Foundation is trying just politely talking to people. They discovered that a web-based quitting program combined with phone calls from counselors helped smokers quit. Personally, we still think the anti-smoking campaign with James Woods getting stalked by the Mafia in “Cat’s Eye” is best, but to each their own. (Reuters)



  • How big a business is smoking? It pulls in almost $91 billion just from China. Keep flicking those Bics, guys. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Meanwhile, while Germany celebrates possums, New Zealand is spending $80,000 to keep them the heck away. (Stuff)