The Astronomer Who Had A Pet Drunken Moose

Grace Higgins | March 27th, 2020

Tycho Brahe was an eccentric astronomer who lived from 1546 to 1601, he holds many scientific accomplishments such as the discovery of the supernova in 1572. He also published a series of essays on the movement of comets and let’s not forget his heated feuds with Galileo himself. You see Brahe had one advantage over other astronomers, he was extremely wealthy from birth. It is estimated that at the peak of his wealth he owed one percent of all the money in Denmark.

This meant that he had his funding for any scientific project, which he often used to pursue some rather unusual projects. For example, after losing a duel in 1566 due to being extremely intoxicated in which he lost his nose, he decided to replace his nose with a one made from gold-silver instead of the traditional wax version. This meant he always had a small vial of paste with him, to glue his golden nose back on should it fall off. There is also a story that says he hired a dwarf named Jepp who he believed to be clairvoyant.

But the oddest part of Brahe’s life was his taste in strange pets. These historians have confirmed by uncovering letters sent between Brahe and Lantgrave Wilhelm in 1591. Wilhelm asked him about a mysterious animal he had been told about, which was called a “rix”. According to the folklore legend, the creature could run faster than a deer but had shorter antlers.

To this letter, Brahe responded by asking Wilhelm if he had ever seen a live moose as Brahe had, in fact, a tame moose as a pet. His moose lived inside the castle with him and would trot alongside Brahe’s carriage as if the moose was a loyal dog. The problem was the moose found particular enjoyment in guzzling down large quantities of Danish beer. Brahe has always been the eccentric astronomer that he was could never resist the enjoyment of showing off his moose to fellow noblemen or associates.

The moose became so famous that people would ask for the creature to be sent to parties and castles to entertain guests. Until one fatal party where the moose became roaring drunk and then attempted to walk down some castle stairs, at which point it tripped up and died during the fall. So as they say don’t drink and drive, as you may hit a moose.

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