Oh, the things we teachers sometimes say. Without intent. I was talking about evolutionary concepts in my comparative psychology class the other day and was discussing a type of finch found on the Galapagos Islands called a Vampire Finch. This finch obtains some of its food by pecking at the feet of other, larger birds, and then drinking the blood that runs from the wound. Its favorite prey is a species of bird called a “Blue Footed Booby,” which is much larger with big, somewhat fleshy feet. I’m going along in my discussion when I announce to the class: “So here we have a creature that makes its living sucking blood from boobies.”
It did not occur to me that what I’d said could be taken another way until I heard a couple of snickers from students in the class. Quite often when I make such a “slip,” I will call attention to it so we can all get a good laugh. We are still very early in the semester, though, with mostly sophomore level students, and this was just creepy enough that I decided to rush on to another topic. I’m quite sure there were some repetitions later outside of class. I also got quite a laugh out of it myself after I got back to the office.
Oh, the imprecision of language!