I have an ongoing project to make posts for mental_floss articles I wrote way back when that I do not have an archive for. Here's an early one that got a lot of mileage in its day.
It's not always fun to introduce visitors to your local flora and fauna. Dealing with tourists can be a real chore. So the habit of pulling their legs a bit can be a welcome bit of fun. It goes on all over the world, so when you are traveling, be aware that there may be a bit of poking fun going on ...especially if you're told of a scary local animal to beware. Read about snipes, hodags, jackalopes, and more in this 2007 mental_floss post.