Apr 14 2013
When are you due?
OB-GYNs in Africa now unanimously agree that delivering babies would be extremely creepy if they came bundled in rags carried by a Marabou Stork. This bird won’t be carrying newborns anytime soon, but it will happily devour your baby’s diapers. The Marabou Stork is a scavenger – eating everything from carrion to small animals, and more commonly human trash around dumps in its native Africa.
The Marabou Stork is absolutely huge – reaching heights of up to 5 feet, weight of up to 20 lbs. and a wingspan of up to 10 feet across - the largest span of any bird. This stork is also uncannily known as the Undertaker Bird – it wears a black cloak of feathers, the hair-like head feathers “become clotted with blood and other substances when the bird’s head was inside a large corpse.” To keep cool, it defecates on its legs and feet. That is some undertaking.
Just a little crusted blood. No big deal.
The pouch. Filled with secrets.
Dumpster diving reaches new heights.
Photos via SkyscraperCity, EarthandScience, Flickr, Wildlife-photo.org
Mar 27 2013
I should probably cut my nails.
This is what would happen if a baby chameleon had a baby chameleon, and then that baby chameleon had a baby chameleon. Behold Brookesia Micra – the world’s smallest chameleon. As exemplified by the juvenile perched on a nail, this chameleon is very seriously diminutive – adults reach a maximum length of 1.2 inches from snout to tail. Brookesia Micra was only recently discovered in 2012 on the tiny island of Nosy Hara in Madagascar. It’s a classic example of island dwarfism – organisms gets tinier due to limited available resources.
Obligatory matchstick photo showing miniature scale.
Brookesia Micra is so micra, it doesn’t even require color changing for camouflage – it blends in perfectly among leaf litter.
Let's call this Chamouflage.
Photos via Nat Geo, Dailymail
Feb 4 2013
If a shy rabbit and a feisty kangaroo had a lovechild, it would be the Bilby of Australia – a nocturnal marsupial that digs extensive tunnels under the land down under. Above ground, it scratches the soil for insects, seeds, fruit, fungi and small animals. The Bilby has excellent hearing, rarely needs to drink water, and looks cute without really trying.
Nobunny can top this.
Unfortunately for the Bilby, its numbers have dwindled since the moment European settlers landed in Australia. Habitat destruction and introduction of invasive animals have not helped. While European rabbits have made their best efforts trying to make Australians forget about the Bilby, a national plan is underway to save the endangered creature – captive breeding, population monitoring and promoting the Bilby as an alternative to the Easter Bunny.
The Easter Bilby. Tastes like bunny.
Photos via NPR, Bilby Appreciation Society
Jan 27 2013
They say people get more boring with age. The same holds true in the insect kingdom. The Lobster Moth is an incredibly ordinary moth whose larval form is anything but. The caterpillar features spindly forelegs and a swollen abdomen that curves up at the end, resembling a lobster tail. If the Lobster Moth Caterpillar is provoked, it spreads its front legs and arches its head back, possibly spraying formic acid. As an adult moth, it simply flies away.
The Lobster Moth as an adult. Yawn.
Photos via Flickr, Bogleech
Special thank you to Alyen Bird, who notified us with the existence of this creepy creature.
Jan 21 2013
We know it’s not a bat, but does this really qualify as a fish? The Batfish has uniquely creepy pectoral and pelvic fins that let it ”walk” across the seafloor. Similar to anglerfishes, batfishes lure in small edibles like shrimp, worms and fish using a wriggle-ready appendage on their nose that acts just like a fishing rod. About 60 species of batfishes walk / swim the waters deep.
Longnose Batfish - top view
Longnose Batfish - side view
Louisiana Pancake Batfish - top view
Louisiana Pancake Batfish - pancake view
Photos via Flickr, Flickr, Marco News, Wikipedia, Diving Tank JP, Nat Geo, ASU,
Feb 14 2012
If Rihanna only knew about this.
If a mop and a feather duster had a baby....
The Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird is no stranger to falling drops of water. It lives in the Choco rainforests in Ecuador and western Colombia. While the hanging feather wattle at its neck doesn’t expand upwards and shade the bird, it is inflatable and amplifies its powerful calls.
Wow. What a wattle.
Photos via Lost in Birding, Nat Geo
Feb 2 2012
The devil wears leaves.
Okay maybe one leaf.
Tails from the creep.
The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko is endemic to Madagascar and is a master of disguise amongst foliage. One of many leaf-tailed gecko varieties, the Satanic version has horn-like formations on its head and often comes with red eyes. Madagascariffic!
Photos via DailyMail, Flickriver
Jan 28 2012
What's that sound?
The Bat-Eared Fox is the unprofessed Hearo of the African Savannah. This nocturnal
bat fox trails herds of hoofed animals to feed on the insects that feed on excrement. Ginormous ears let them hear termites, dung beetles and other underground creepy crawlies. That’s some superpower.
Jan 19 2012
The Turtle Frog of western Australia feeds on termites, digging through sand head-first — unusual for a frog but commonplace for a turtle. With a snub nose and stubby physique, this species only bring us to the Creepy Animals mathematical conundrum:
IF [heroes in a half shell = turtle power] THEN [heroes without a shell = frog power] ??
Photos via WAM, Blog on Forest Health,
Jan 16 2012
The ultra elusive, uber evasive, super rare Bornean Bay Cat had never been seen by a living human until a specimen was captured alive (above) in 1992. The nocturnal cat species lives only on the island of Borneo and due to rapidly increasing deforestation, a population of less than 2500 is estimated!
Cat. At bay. In Borneo.
Photo via Mongabay