Creepy Animals

…they're really interesting.

Aug 26 2010


Tarsier looking backwards.

Thinking about delicious crickets or contemplating suicide?

This creepy cutie is the Tarsier. Want to take one home and pet it? Too bad for you. It would rather kill itself. Tarsiers have never been successful in captivity: when caged, they often injure and even commit suicide due to stress. Head-bashing against a hard surface is the preferred method.

Other than that, these nocturnal mammals populate the islands of southeast asia and feast on insects after stunning em’ with their long middle fingers. The third finger is so long, it’s the same length and its forearm. Even creepier, their eyes are fixed in their skulls so they can only look straight ahead. Good thing they can turn their necks 180 degrees.

Tarsier skull.

Eye sockets or eye pockets? Debatable.

Photo via Tribung Pinoy

Many thanks to dear reader Sarah, who brought this darling little creep to our attention.

Jun 27 2010


Jerboa with large ears.

Creepiness is just a hop, skip and jump away.

This creepy-cum-cuddly creature’s oversized ears, snub nose and innocent beady eyes instantly recall memories of cute-overload cartoon characters. Then you realize that the Jerboa is actually a relative of the rat that can hop faster than you can run and easily top a full-grown man in one jump with its ‘roo-like legs. Adding to the shiver factor is the fact that it walks upright and uses its tail as a prop…a third leg, if you will. Inhabiting desert-like regions of Asia and Africa, it does not drink water but survives on moisture from its diet of insects and seeds…or produced by its own metabolism.

Not surprisingly, the shy, solitary and nocturnal Jerboa was filmed in the wild for the first time only a few years ago and was identified by the London Zoo as one of the 100 most evolutionarily distinct and endangered mammals in the world. Not just another rat is it?

Jun 14 2010

Chinese Water Deer

Chinese Water Deer with fangs.

Deer Xing? proudly presents the Chinese Water Deer. Cue images of an asian Bambi, prancing around tall reeds, munching on sweet grasses, swimming in rivers and kissing toadstools. Closeup on those doe eyes…wait! What are those fangs doing there? Nobody said this was vampire horror!

It isn’t, but close. In times of defense, the weapon of choice for the Chinese Water Deer is not antlers (it has none), rather it’s two downward pointing canines. While its name suggests a presence in China, an introduced population in Britain puts those suckers to good use.

Many thanks to Lauren, who emailed us with this exemplary specimen of creepy.

May 26 2010

Animal Anomaly: One-eyed Kitten

Kitten with one eye on blanket.

Another example of the creepy-cute paradox? The evidence is before your eyes.

It was 2005 in Redmond, Oregon. Late one cold December night, a small kitten was born with just one eye, no nose and no eyelid. He was christened Cy (short for Cyclops) and passed away just one day later. Cy’s unique appearance was caused by a form of holoprosencephaly, a brain development disorder that can cause cyclopia — the failure of eyes to properly separate.

May 14 2010


Geoduck held by woman.

Nice manicure.

Oyster and clams are nature’s original finger food. Jam it open, pocket the jewels and slurp down the goodness. And nature, being the good stewardess she is, sometimes asks you if you want to supersize that. Of course, nature is also a prankster, because next thing you know, you get handed a geoduck and the bivalve is eating you.

The Geoduck, pronounced “gooey duck”, can grow up to three feet long and outlive the most persistent of humans. This strange and delicious animal also possesses a disproportionate amount of cultural cachet. It not only stars in a clam-themed thriller, it is also the sports mascot of Evergreen university. It’s like the Justin Bieber of clams, just a mop top away from trending everyday on Twitter.

May 7 2010


Saiga antelope nose.

The Saga of the Saiga: creepy, but dwindling.

If animals were made of Lego-like pieces that you could wedge together, the Saiga is something an unscrupulous child would put together. Let’s see here: I’ll take the nose of an anteater, the legs of a paraplegic baby deer and let me mount these two carrots as a headpiece. Great, now let me run it over with my train set.

Sadly, this ungulate is critically endangered, all because some ancient culture’s mixed drink recipe included Saiga horns as an ingredient. As a result, these proudly-creepy creatures are running around the steppes of Mongolia with GPS units attached, hoping to attract mates while looking like cyborg-sheep-anteater-goat-vegetables. We wish them the best of luck in their reproductive endeavors.

[Photo via Spectacular Planet]

May 2 2010

Creature of the Deep: Giant Isopod

Giant Isopod legs.

Is this the prequel to District 9?

The Giant Isopod is a scavenger of the deep, deep seas that happens to be distant relative of the woodlouse, or pill bug. It can curl up into a ball of sorts. Want to see? Didn’t think so.

A very special thank you to dear reader Jessica, who surfaced this beast of the benthic zone.

Mar 30 2010

Underwater Curiosities: Glass Squid

Transparent Glass Squid.

The Glass Squid: a whole lot of nothing.

Okay class, now who can tell me where the brain is located? Anyone? Anyone know the answer?

Neither do we. But we do know the Glass Squid is one very creepy animal with not much going on. Transparent skin, ridiculously short arms, telescopic eyes and a enormous sack of emptiness. That’s it. Class dismissed!

Mar 15 2010

Underwater Curiosities: Nautilus

Nautilus swimming.

This is naut pretty.

The Nautilus is yet another living fossil we’re very fond of. These cephalopods haven’t evolved very much in the past 500 million or so years, which makes them creepy, old and faithful. Just the way we like our animals.

Its trademark coiled shell contains many, many chambers and is pressure-resistant to 2600 feet below. The Nautilus swims via jet propulsion and osmosis. Using its siphon, it draws water into its main living chamber, then pushes it out. While water is inside the chamber, a thin organ running through all the chambers extracts the salt. The salt diffuses into the blood and the Nautilus adjusts buoyancy by pumping gas and fluid into or out of the chambers.

The end result of this biological song and dance? It moves through water.

Nautilus Shell with chambers.

The living quarters contain many chambers. How quaint.

Mar 7 2010


Baby Tapir.

Mnaw. Look at the cute little...uh, wait what is that?

Congratulations! It’s a new baby Tapir! This animal is neither Pig nor Rhinoceros nor Elephant – but it is most certainly creepy. Tapirs resemble pigs with four toes and a truncated elephant nose. Their prehensile proboscis serves them well – they’re able to reach foliage otherwise unattainable. These herbivores can be found in the jungles of South/Central America and Southeast Asia though you may encounter some difficulty – all 4 species are currently endangered.


They grow up so fast!

Many thanks to dear reader Ming for suggesting such a fine addition to this menagerie of creepy.