Human beings seek out the strange and unusual in books, movies, television, video games, and comic books. We dive headfirst into the worlds of C.S. Lewis, of Lewis Carrol, of Tolkien, of World of Warcraft, of superheroes, delighting in the magical things those skilled authors managed to think up. Sometimes we forget that the world we live in is just as weird, magical, and bizarre as the worlds we escape to.
Take, for instance, some of the amazing creatures that exist in our world.
Naked Mole Rat
This is the Naked Mole Rat. The standard size for one of these puppies (and “puppies” is an acceptable nickname, as these creatures are also called “Sand Puppies”)is about 3 or 4 inches, and they only weight a couple ounces at most. As a group, they have a highly organized social structure, almost like ants or bees. There is a queen and everything. They live underground and have tiny lungs that make it so they don’t need a lot of air.
OK, it’s weird enough that this frog looks hairy. It’s a land-dwelling frog that goes to the water to reproduce. Take that weirdness a step further and what do you get? A frog that intentionally breaks its own toes to allow claws made out of bone to protrude from its appendages. That’s all, I think. I think I’ll let you marinate in that one for a minute. For more info, google Trichobatrachus robustus. Weird, huh?
These furry creatures are mainly bred for their fabulous coats, which I think it super wrong. Unless they just shear the animal like a sheep and let it stay alive. In which case it might be kind of a relief for the rabbit to get all that hair of him or her for a while. Also, it would be neat to have these rabbits around just to pet every now and then. It would be even cooler if it could do tricks, or if it herded lesser rabbits.
The Pangolin is the only mammal that has scales. Or, the only one that is supposed to have scales. Keratin scales, that is. They curl up into a ball when threatened, and their fingernail-like scales protect them.
These guys also have very long tongues that extend internally all the way into their tummies. The long tongue is for finding and catching insects, a Panolin’s favorite food. Another defense mechanism is that they excrete foul smelling gas from their anus. Like my Uncle Phil.
Chinese Giant Salamander
Ew, right? This guy is seriously endangered, because the region of China where he is indigenous is all polluted and stuff. He eats bugs and frogs and fish. He can be this pinkish color, or green, or gray. He can’t see all that well, so he has sensory nodes all over his body that help him find his way around.
Star Nosed Mole
Maybe I should have saved the “ew” for now, huh? This star nosed mole eats worms and other small things, and is covered with water repellent fur so’s to repel, well, water. It’s easy to tell these moles from other moles because of those fleshy little things coming out of their faces. There are eleven of them total (so saying that they have eleventy fleshy appendages is correct) and they are how the tiny mole gets around.
Hungarian. Livestock-protecting. Dreadlocked. ADORABLE! You’ve probably seen these corded-coat dogs in dog shows on The Animal Planet. If you haven’t, they are super cute. They also look kind of like they are hovering. These are good dogs for family – like other herding dogs they are mostly calm and docile. Unless somebody messes with their charge. Then, watch out!
I know we already included a frog on this list, but come on! You can SEE THROUGH this one! How totally awesome/bizarre is that? There are technical names and all that stuff, but you can look it up. I don’t want to diminish the magic of SEE-THROUGH-FROGS!
These friendly-looking creatures are also salamanders. They are sort of undeveloped – the adults never go through metamorphosis, so the adults live underwater and have gills. They also (how cool is this) have the ability to regenerate almost every part of their body. Awesome.