WTF Fun Fact 12444 – Roosevelt’s Pet Hyena

There’s an official Presidential Pet Museum dedicated to all the furry and feathered friends that have roamed the White House halls (and lawns).

Theodore Roosevelt has quite a few pets, and he and his family were animal lovers. However, he wasn’t terribly fond of hyenas. And that turned out to be a bit of a problem at first when Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia gifted him a male hyena in 1904.

It was reported by the captain of the ship that brought him to America that the hyena, plainly named “Bill,” “laughed all the time.” Apparently, this grew on Roosevelt, who became fond of the creature. In fact, he even let it into the White House and gave it scraps from the dinner table!

It has always been common for world leaders to give exotic pets as animals, but a hyena seems like a bit of an odd choice. Then again, what do you get the man who has everything?

Roosevelt reportedly was able to teach Bill a few tricks before he was sent along with his White House pal Joe the Lion to the National Zoo to live out his life. After all, Roosevelt was a busy man. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Theodore Roosevelt’s Hyena” — The Presidential Pet Museum

WTF Fun Fact #12394

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt became friends with “First Lady of the Air” Amelia Earhart 1932. That was the same year of Earhart’s famous nonstop trans-Atlantic flight.

On April 20, 1933, they attended a formal dinner at the White House when Earhart got a little restless and suggested they go on an adventure. The feminist trailblazers grabbed some friends and slipped out of the event in their ballgowns. Then they hopped on a plane to spice up the evening at Earhart’s suggestion.

The plan was to travel to Baltimore and back before dessert, and they headed to the air hangar at Hoover Field and hopped aboard one of Eastern Air Transport’s twin-engine Curtiss Condor planes.

Two of the airplane company’s pilots had to operate the plane, but the women managed to nudge them aside at some point and took over the cockpit, acting as pilot and co-pilot for at least part of the flight.

After the short trip, the Secret Service ushered everyone back to the dinner.

Of course, Earhart would eventually go on her ill-fated trip around the world in 1937, from which she never returned. Roosevelt continued her humanitarian deeds until her death in 1962.

When speaking about their adventurous evening, Roosevelt told The Baltimore Sun: “It does mark an epoch, doesn’t it, when a girl in an evening dress and slippers can pilot a plane at night.” – WTF Fun Facts

Source: Pilots in Evening Gowns: When Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt Took to the Skies — A Mighty Girl