Jun 30, 2006

PSA - Tortoise Mate Wanted

Anyone out there have a spare female Giant Tortoise from Pinta Island of the Galapagos? The authorities are offering $10,000 USD to anyone who can find a mate for this tortoise, known as Solitario George. You see, he is the last of his kind. There are no other tortoises of his species left. If you do have one and want to claim the money, hurry up and present the lass. Times a-wastin' - these animals only live to be about 200 years old!

Photo courtesy:

Jun 29, 2006

Sea Monsters

Here are some dead giant squids being combed over by folks in lab coats. These things are huge and are the bane of both sperm whales and the scientists who have been trying to document them alive. Check out the hooks and barbs on the tentacles.

Is it really any surprise that these beasts are the stuff of sea monster legends?

Photo courtesy: knuttz.yi.org

UPDATE: Amanda corrects me. This is a colossal squid (
Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni). Thanks, Amanda.

Jun 28, 2006

As Promised - the Blonde Pig

They say blondes have more fun, and this pig proves it. Look at it, grinning and showing off, clearly enjoying life. Don't you envy it, even a little?

Combine this pig with its good friend,
Black Pig, and you have an image of racial harmony. Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder would be so proud.

Thanks for the photos,

Jun 27, 2006

Kangaroo Be Gone

Dingos are typically handsome animals. Not this one.

These Australian dogs are in the news once again, but this time for a good thing. Researchers have discovered that dingo urine is a powerful kangaroo deterent.

I have a few of questions. Who thought to test that? Who is responsible for collecting dingo pee?

I didn't know that our friends down under were so eager to scare off kangaroos. You learn something knew everyday. Let me know if you have any kangaroo horror stories, or if you know of any ugly photos of them.

Photo courtesy:

Jun 26, 2006

Secret Identity Revealed ...

Been wondering what the answer to Thursday's quiz was? Want the secret identify revealed? Well, I have a question to ask before the big reveal: who are you, Rasmus?! You determined that the big eye belonged to an emu, and then that the blue butt belong to a mandrill. Who are you? You are the mongoose to my cobra ... or the cobra to my mongoose (I'm not so good with animals ...). Either way, you have foiled me twice - each time within minutes of posting.

Yes, the blue butt belongs to a mandrill. You can thank Clay for these photos. If you know what's good for you, you won't comment on a mandrill's butt to its face - they don't take kindly to mockery. And they are violent.

Jun 25, 2006

Chinese Take-out

Continuing with the Chinese theme, let's focus on their cuisine. Charlie (self-proclaimed 'white guy in China') has gotten to know some of the food items available for the daring palette ... such as cicadas and scorpions. Oh, yummy.

I forgot to ask what kind of glaze was used.

Jun 24, 2006

Man-made Addict

Come on, people, this is ridiculous. Isn't it enough that we are screwing with our own lungs? Do we really have to spread our addictions now to chimps? We fear species-jumping viruses, but what about species-jumping addictions?

But then, the Chinese government isn't known for being socially progressive ...

Thanks for the photo,

Jun 23, 2006

Huge Hog

This email was forwarded to me (thanks Melissa), and www.snopes.com verified the following details:

"We verified the details with Larry Earley himself, who told us:

"I shot a log boar hog on August 27, 2004. The pictures you have were taken on my property close to where the hog was shot. I have many more photos. I do not know the origin of the story on the Internet. It did not come from me. Half of the details are accurate. I shot the hog once with a .44 magnum (the one in the photo). The hog charged towards me after he was shot but he only covered about 20 feet of ground. I was 10 yards away when I shot, and I was backing up while keeping the crosshairs on the hog as he was moving towards me. That is typical with wild hogs, that is what makes them fun to hunt.

The hog was too big for scales that were available to me on a Friday evening (500 lb. scales), so we decided to let the processor estimate the weight for us. Smokin' Oak Sausage Co. in Branford, F,L did the processing for me and he put the weight between 1100 and 1200 lbs. The tusk on the right side was 8-1/4" above the gum line and the right tusk was broken and measured 5" above the gum. The hide with the head was weighed at 284 lbs. The taxidermist I am using measured the neck at 42" around and the length from his eye socket to the tip of his nose at 11-3/4". I just found out about the story on the internet yesterday. I think that it is hilarious that all of this has been going on. I'll be glad to talk to anyone about my hog."

Yikes, this is one huge pig. Still, all that bacon ...

Jun 22, 2006

Pop Quiz # 2

Here is your next mission. To what beast does this rear end belong? The race is on ...

Thanks for the photo,

Jun 21, 2006

Just Messing With You

Clay caught this guy pretending.

See big scary fangy face?

See big smiley goofy just-messing-with-you face?

I guess you have to create your own entertainment when you are in lockdown at the zoo.

Jun 20, 2006

Expectant Mother

As if flies aren't bad enough, Sean took this photo of a pregnant fly. See her swollen abdomen? How sweet, she's expecting. The lucky father will have to pass out a few hundred cigars.

What's that ball shaped gunk hanging from her mouth? Is that fly barf? Does she have morning sickness? I'll go throw up myself. Maybe I have sympathy pregnancy ...

Jun 19, 2006

Design Flaw?

I don't get these crocodiles. They have big bodies, but then these small heads with long, narrow snouts. Don't get me wrong, I understand the purpose of those teeth, just not the basic design. Why the narrow head? Oh well, they still serve my purposes. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Thanks for the photo,

UPDATE: A reader has since identified this as a gharial. Thanks for the help.

2ND UPDATE: This has been reIDed as a
False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii). Thanks, Swintah!

Jun 18, 2006

Grim Reaper

We're past due on a good vulture shot. Here's a head-on photo by Milly.

This isn't a face you'd want to wake up to. Might as well wake up to seeing Ol' Grim Reaper. Any vulture experts care to identify what species this one is? He looks more skeletal in the face than most I have seen. That's appropriate.

Jun 17, 2006

He's Just a Little Guy

I should ask Kim what kind of turtle this is. He's just a little guy, with an innocent, plaintiff look to him. The bug eyes and pebbly skin ruin all hope at being cute, though. Poor thing.

Jun 16, 2006

Dynamic Duo

Mark, photographer extraordinaire, has taken some great photos of a pair of pigs he encountered and is sharing them with us.

Allow me to introduce the black one. These two had a propensity for hamming it up for the camera (no pun intended), and had no shyness in displaying their unfortunate appearance. Stay tuned for the blonde one.

I don't know if images like these strengthen or weaken my desire for a BLT sandwich. I think I'll wait a few hours before heading to the deli.

Jun 15, 2006

Spiney Spider

I need to know now what kind of spider this is and where it lives. I might start pursuing a career in biology if for no other reason than to be able to identify creatures like this so that I might be able to avoid them.

My work on this blog has let me know that this world can be an ugly place, and that I am fortunate to live in a relatively benign region of California. At least I don't go outside to find these spiders clambering about my yard.

Thanks for the great photo,

Jun 14, 2006

Smart Bug

The cicada is a smart bug. Some species (such as the dog day fly below) spend between 13 - 17 years underground looking like the above picture (that is just the molted exoskeleton, but you get the picture). Only after shedding this skin (and turning out like the photo below) do they bother trying to find a mate. Very smart.

Thanks for the photos,

Jun 13, 2006

New Home Needed

I am proud of this one. I took the photos. I know the cat.

My mom is quite proud of her abominable Persian cat, named Princess. But she secretly hopes that this kind of exposure may result in Princess finding a new home. Any takers? You can't be a python owner, because we know what your intentions are!

The cat has possessed a variety of names over the years, most of which are far less affectionate than 'Princess'. She is a sweet cat but is profoundly dumb (and ugly, but that goes without saying). She sheds her body weight in hair each week, so she occasionally has the clippers taken to her to keep the tangles away. Here she is freshly shorn.

Again, thankfully she is a sweet cat. I'm just glad I don't have to live with her.

Jun 12, 2006

Answer: Emu

The pop quiz from last week - can you guess what owns this eye? - must now be answered.

I received guesses that maybe the eye belonged to a warthog or to an ostrich. Well, ostrich was close, but Rasmus got it right when he guessed that it belonged to an emu.

This bird, known for its goofy looks, is the largest bird native to Australia (coming in at 120 lbs!). Too bad not much of that weight is represented by its brain. They may have some fun personalities and antics, but you wouldn't find one winning a spelling bee anywhere.

Photo courtesy:

Jun 11, 2006

Steer Clear

Kim has captured the essence of the mandrill. See how he is wringing his hands? He's either busy hatching some wicked scheme, or else eagerly anticipating his next kill. Look at those eyes. He's up to something.

These old-world primates were once thought to be part of the baboon family. But no, that wasn't ugly enough. These monkeys are something more. They are now in their own genus (along with their cousin, the Drill). What you see below is a male, whose colorful face not only indicates his gender, but also that he has possibly become excited about something (perhaps that evil plot?). Whatever the reason, steer clear and be thankful you'll probably only encounter them with a fence or plexiglass between the two of you. Though they aren't typically hunters, the mandrill is
"well adapted to fighting and is not to be provoked." Ya, I figured that out. Thanks.

Jun 9, 2006

Dutiful Mother

Motherhood is wonderful, but wolf spiders make it tough appreciate. The dutiful moms carry around the egg sack, and then the baby abominations hang on to her until partially grown. It seems like it should be touching, but it is just too creepy.

These hunting spiders (no, they don't spin webs) are often mistaken for brown recluses - but they lack the distinguishing violin pattern behind their heads. If you see one, just know that they are harmless (nonvenomous). But still, it is best to chase them off, for the childrens' sake.

Thanks for the great photo, Sean.


It's bad enough having a dog underfoot at the dinner table, begging for scraps. Can you imagine having a hippo doing the same? You can't just shove it away with your foot. You might lose the foot in the process.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Jun 8, 2006

Baby Hercules

The hercules beetle is the largest beetle on the planet, being a type of rhinoceros beetle of the scarab family. You know these huge insects for their horns and iridescent hides. But did you know that they start life as abominable, bloated grubs? Didn't think so.

Thanks for the photo, Sean. His photos will be featured over the next several weeks. His flair for photography and training as a biologist makes for some great photos of our creepy, crawling friends.

Jun 7, 2006

Pop Quiz

Here is an eyeball of an ugly animal. Can you name what species it belongs to? I happen to know this particular creature myself.

Go ahead and post your answers. I'll let you know in a few days.

Thanks for the eyeball, Spencer.

Jun 6, 2006

Return to Normalcy

This white alligator (not an albino) was restored to its home recently. It had been displaced by Hurrican Katrina. It's the small things, like being able to go down and see your neighborhood white alligator, that has helped restore a sense of normalcy to the region.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Jun 5, 2006


For reasons unknown to me, Digg featured the Asian Giant Hornet. All we can do is thank them and The Flippant Fox for alerting us to this insect's existence.

Not only are these hornet's huge (the largest hornet on the planet), but they feed on honeybees. Yummy. Read all about them by clicking the link below:

Photo courtesy:

Jun 4, 2006

Bits of Flesh

You are looking at the mug of a goosefish, one of the many species of anglerfish. There is something so disturbing about an animal that lures its prey in close by dangling bits of its own flesh in front if its gaping maw. Thankfully, this fish is near invisible when it is lying flat and in wait. That invisibility is a blessing, given its ugliness. Hey, we count our blessings where we can.

Photo courtesy: www.ramseydoran.com

Jun 3, 2006

Something in the Symmetry

I can't explain what is so weird about tapirs. They look like an amalgamation of several animals. The lines of this one's head and the placement of the ears make it look as though its head has been placed on its neck upside down. The symmetry seems off. I feel like I am looking at an optical illusion. I am going to leave now.

Thanks again,
Kim, for the great photo.

Jun 2, 2006

Meet the Groom

Proving that love has no boundaries, here is the lucky cobra who recently got married to a woman from Orissa, in India, as reported by Yahoo! This special event was a traditional Hindi wedding, and was celebrated by over 2,000 well-wishers, most of them human.

The bride was quick to proclaim her love and affection for the serpent. The cobra, however, was unable to comment. There was no parselmouth on hand to translate.

Jun 1, 2006


Hello spidey. So little. So spikey. So spidery. So ugly.

Thanks for the great shot, Kim. We'll be seeing a lot of her photography over the next few weeks.