Archive for the ‘animal oddities’ category

The Feline Avenger…

January 3, 2013

Batcat – – If Batman and Catwoman had a child, the offspring might look something like this magnificent creature whose image originally came from Reddit and was popularized by the Huffington Post before spreading like wildfire throughout the Internet.  Thought by a number of commentators to be a Maine Coon cat, this Batcat might not have a Robin, but could probably bring you one…Meow!

 

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Leggiest Creature!

November 16, 2012

– – When something has more than four legs, it generally tends to inspire a cringe factor.  Something with 750 legs would definitely then register high on the creepy and gross-out scale, and this little beauty is so compact as well; a white millipede named Illacme plenipes, which is Latin for “the pinnacle plentiful feet,” and measures a mere 1 – 3 centimeters long.

Found only in a small area of Northern California and looking like a thread, the millipede also boasts a rudimentary fused mouth with no known function, and hairs on its back that produce a silk-like product.

A useless mouth, and 750 legs (at least in the females)!  A related species in Puerto Rico only has 742.  I thought you’d get a kick out of that…

Giant Mystery Eyeball Discovered!

October 15, 2012

– – I’m always glad when giant eyeballs wash up on beaches, bringing to mind as they do such vintage sci-fi classics as 1958’s The Crawling Eye.  Eyeballs by nature tend to make people squeamish, especially disembodied ones…and in time for Halloween, too!- -What a gift from the sea!

Anyways, this treasure was found Wednesday by a beachcomber on Pompano Beach, Florida.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is preserving the eyeball, termed the “mystery eyeball,” which is slightly larger than a baseball.  Speculations as to what kind of species the orb hails from include a bigeye thresher shark, a whale, and of course, a giant squid. 

It will be several days before a precise identification is made by the agency’s research lab in St. Petersburg, so we’ll just have to wait and see…ahahahahaha!

UpdateIt would now appear that experts are tending to believe that the eyeball was hacked out of a swordfish by an angler.  This determination was made based on a consideration of the eye’s size, color, and structure…

Vampire Squid from Hell!

September 27, 2012

– – They sound like the perfect subject for a Saturday night original movie on the Syfy Channel:  The Vampire Squid from Hell (Vampyroteuthis infernalis).  They rather look like a bad movie monster, too, having a type of cloak-like  webbing, unusually large deep blue or red eyes, and light-producing organs covering its entire body which it can flash

A kind of living fossil originally discovered in 1903, the vampire squid lives at a depth of about 3,000 feet and feeds on “marine snow,” a mixture of dead organic material and feces that floats down from above, often embedded in a mucus matrix, yum!  The cephalopod grows to only about a foot long, and can survive in minimal oceanic oxygen zones, a fact which possibly enabled it to survive major extinction events in the evolutionary past.  Feeding rather passively, the vampire squid is the only cephalopod in the world that’s not a predatory carnivore…

…and wouldn’t Vampire Squid from Hell be a great name for a metal band?!

The “Real” Naked Mole Rat…

July 5, 2012

– – The real naked mole rat is even less attractive than the CG one featured in a recent MiO commercial, featuring wrinkled skin, stubby legs, and poor eyesight.  This rat native to East Africa is however a longevity champ, living 10 to 30 years as opposed to the three year life span of the common rat.  Although not  pretty, the rat also ages well, showing little of the slow decline in mental and physical health commonly associated with aging.  “Senior” naked mole rats maintain high levels of physical activity, strong bones, and can even continue to reproduce in their golden years!

The reason for this according to new research conducted in the U.S. and Israel seems to be unusually high levels of the NRG-1 protein, which is thought to protect the integrity of the body’s nerve cells.  This research could lead to new insights about human aging, and lest we feel too superior to them, rodents’ genes are 85% similar to humans!

Attack of the Killer Shrimp!

May 2, 2012

– – Some people have bucket lists of things that they want to do before they “kick the bucket,” that is, die…but I have a list of things to be worried about or afraid of, and I’ve just added something to that list…Run, ’cause there’s an invasion of Asian Tiger Shrimp!  I can see a Saturday night movie on the SciFy channel coming out of this, folks…

Now Asian Tiger Shrimp are not hideous mutants or skilled in the martial arts, although I could see them developed as potential adversaries for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They are, however,  jumbo shrimp, which as George Carlin pointed out was an oxymoron.  These are big suckers, measuring up to thirteen inches long and weighing up to a quarter pound, and they are cannibalistic…that’s right, shrimp that eat other shrimp.- -Isn’t that redundant?

Also known as tiger prawn, the black-and-white striped creatures are showing up in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast coast, and are preying on smaller, native sea life as well as competing for resources and carrying  diseases…a triple threat, if you will.  Scientists don’t know exactly how the Asian variety got to the Gulf Coast, but marine ecologists are looking into the shrimp’s DNA for clues, with breeding in the local waters or conveyance by ocean currents possibilities.

And if Asian Tiger Shrimp team up with Asian Carp, we could have seafood that would eat you…or at least take your computers for their young!  I’m paying protection money while I still can…

Mythic Mayhem!

March 29, 2012

— It’s not easy being a demigod; everyone expects great things out of you!  Pity poor Perseus; as if whipping the Kraken wasn’t enough in 2010’s Clash of the Titans, now he has to beat a whole host of other assorted monsters in Wrath of the Titans.  There will be a slew of them to boot in this special effects extravaganza, everything from a thirty-foot high Cyclops to a Minotaur to my personal fave, a Chimera…I just like things with multiple heads and incongruous parts that spew fire, that’s the way I roll!  Mighty Kronos himself enters the fray,  just dripping with lava…what more could a boy want?  Yes, I know, robots, zombies, mummies, aliens, and werewolves are extremely cool too, but you can’t have them all in the same movie and preserve artistic integrity.- -Besides, I’d die of too much happiness!

While most of the beasties are computer generated, the Minotaur is played by an actor in a latex suit who underwent four hours of makeup for each day on the set!   You’ll also see Perseus’ noble winged steed Pegasus, and the demonic Makhai, who attack like whirling dervishes.  

This isn’t Shakespeare, but it’s good guy fun…and what’s wrong with that?  Wrath of the Titans opens March 30th…and it’s a cornucopia of creatures!!!– -Woo-hoo!