My twin wrote a blog post ages ago about what she described as "nature's cutest WTF", a duckbill platypus. See it here
Then I saw an article on People: Pets and we had the following email exchange:
Saw these on People-Pets. Thought some of them gave the Duckbilled Platypus a run for it's money in the "nature's WTF" catagory.
The tiny Fennec foxes — native to North Africa — may look pretty cute, but they're actually nighttime predators whose oversized ears are so sensitive that they can hear insects walk on sand. Perhaps they can also get a better listen when they phone home?
Me: Really cute and mildly strange looking in an AW sort of way.
Twin: These are just cute, they’re not creepy at all. I like the big ears. It’s like your cat is trying to eavesdrop.
Me: Hee! For real. It’s all like “I’m not listening…really. Continue.”
With eyes as large as their brains, the furry little tarsiers of Southeast Asia are able to climb within a day of being born. That must make things easier when you take them to your leader.
Me: Okay those eyes could be scary.
Twin: The funny thing is that the eyes open REALLY slowly, so it’s like he’s shocked in slo-mo. I think he’s cute, though.
Me: Oh that’s hilarious. But yeah, he is kinda cute.
Ahh, it's coming to get you! Well, if you're a worm or small insect, that is. The star-nosed mole, often found in Canada and the U.S., literally inhales its food, taking less than a quarter of a second to find its prey, grab it and digest.
Me: FREAK-Y I kinda threw up in my mouth a little bit when I saw this one.
Twin: He looks like bad things happened to your personal bits or something. On the other hand, check out the awesome press-on nail action!
Me: Ew yeah totally. LOL he does have lee press on’s!
Is it a bird? A plane? Nope, just an albino hedgehog, so rare that there's only one for every 10,000 in the current hedgehog population. Though his look is intriguing, his upbringing will be solitary: Because he stands out so much in the wild, he'll have to live in a hedgehog home to survive.
Me: Not that weird and sorta cute.
Twin: Hedgehogs are cute. The end.
Named for a mythological Greek monster that was half-nymph, half-snake, the echidna seems like something that might want to whisk you away in its UFO. But these little guys are typically harmless — the toothless creatures feast predominantly on insects.
Me: Hee. Does he have a boner?
Twin: Looks like! Look how cute they get when they’re bigger, though!
Me: I must say, he’s cuter as an adult. And more nails.
COMMON-SIAMESE SOFT-SHELLED TURTLE
He may look like a spongy space creature, but this common-Siamese soft-shelled turtle can be a fierce fighter when necessary. The breed, found throughout the world, is known for a disproportionately long neck, which helps the animal to keep its body submerged in water, sand or mud while still getting oxygen from the surface.
Me: Ew. I hear a squishy sound for this one.
Twin: It looks like it’s been microwaved. Me no likey.
Me: LMAO he does looked nuked!
My, what really big eyes you have! Though its wiry hair and spooky yellow peepers give the Aye-aye a Martian-like look, the foragers — native to Madagascar — are kind of like woodpeckers, gnawing holes in wood to find food.
Me: I feel like he'd be all hyper-active. Too much sugar.
Twin: This is that thing the zoo’s getting! It’s all strung out and weird looking, like it’s been forced to survive inside of a Starbucks for a year.
Me: They are getting these a the zoo?! And yeah, totally beyond caffeine buzzed
It came from outer space! Or actually, cool waters off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania. The blobfish — literally what it sounds like — is a creature rarely seen by humans, that lacks muscle and floats just above the ocean floor.
Me: This guy looks like a loogie.
Twin: But a kind of cute loogie. I feel like he should have been in Finding Nemo, and that’s why he looks all depressed, because his part was cut for Dory.
Me: Gotta disagree here. He looks diseased. I do love that he appears to have a nose.
Though they're cute and furry, little is known about the golden monkeys, making them extra-mysterious. The endangered creatures are typically found in the mountains of Africa, restricted to highland forests filled with bamboo.
Me: Not weird! Cute! And snuggely
Twin: Not weird, just sweet!
Often compared to a "walking pine cone," pangolins have hard scales all over their bodies, and can curl up into a ball when feeling threatened. But their craziest characteristic? Tongues that extend into their stomachs!
Me: Okay the tounge part is icky.
Twin: Agreed, but I like this guy. He looks like a porcupine and an armadillo had a baby.
Me: Yeah, he’s got some cute. And more nail action…these animals could use some mani-pedi action.
You know that guy who never wants to leave the party? Well, this is that guy in the animal kingdom. The horseshoe crab (with Baker) has been around for half a billion years. If you see one — they're all over the eastern seaboard — thank it for its contributions to science. "We use their blood to screen for contamination in hospitals," Baker explains. "If you've ever had an operation, you owe something to the horseshoe crab."
Me: Cool animal. Low on the cuteness scale, and I wouldn’t want to cuddle him, but he’s got charisma, no?
Twin: If by charisma you mean the ability to make me want to pee my pants, yes.
Baker's love affair with this creature began in tidal pools near his home in the UK. "You flip over a rock and you see this weird fish. Yes, it's a fish!" says Baker. He explains its weird look: "Its pectoral fins have fused to form a huge sucker on its belly."
Me: EW. Sort of a speckly turd. I can’t believe this guy admits to having a “love affair” with this thing. And what exactly does it suck?
Twin: It’s an angry slug. I veto this creature.
They're fun to look at, but don’t get too close — those razor sharp claws can pull apart concrete in their quest for food! Baker learned the hard way when one grabbed on to his finger. "They have karate moves!" Sounds painful!
Me: On one hand, aw, cause it looks like he’s rubbing his eyes, all sleepy-like. On the other, lethal looking. He’s a cutie though…all fluffy
Twin: “I am so sleepy… HAHAHAHAHA you fell for that! Dumbass.”
This critter "uses its incredible muscular control to push its bodies into different shapes," explains Baker. "It can be a flat fish, it can be an eel, it can be a jelly fish." Never trust a shape-shifter!
Me: Dude, he’s kinda cool. Not very attractive. He’s like Odo on DS9 (Adam has turned me into almost a trechie)
Twin: It also looks like two naked snails doing it.
This slimy salamander — which can be as big as 18 inches! — lives all over the American Appalachians. Baker loves this animal, called a Hellbender, because of its unique gender roles. "The males guard the babies!"
Me: Ick, this guy is majorly slimy. And his tail is flat. Kinda hard to tell head from tail. I don’t get the name though.
Twin: I think that’s its head. I think God stepped on him, and tried to fix it and then was like, nah, it’s cool like that.