Jan 31, 2007

Ugly Dog and Smug Pig

This duo was put on display at a shopping mall in Hong Kong to celebrate the upcoming change of the year from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig.

One might think that this sharpei's expression stems from his jealousy that the pig will now be in the limelight. But I think it comes more from the shock that, possibly for the first time ever, the change from Dog to Pig will result in a better looking animal. What is this world coming to?

The piglet looks a bit smug, too.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo

Jan 30, 2007

UV Love

This may be of some interest to those of you hoping to cash in on the booming industry of jumping spider breeding. Per this article, a study done by the journal Science demonstrates that members of the cosmophasis umbratica species of jumping spiders can not only see UV light, but they also reflect the light off certain parts of their bodies. The presence of UV lighting turns out to be vital in the mating process.

Great. Now someone is going to add 'UV-infused jumping spider faces' to the list of aphrodisiacs, along with the spanish fly, tiger parts, sea urchins, sea horses, and rhino horns. Sorry, Mr. & Mrs. Jumping Spider, but you are pretty much doomed to extinction now.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo

Orcs Riding Guinea Pigs

Here is a bonus post for y'all.

Jack saw my post on the baldwin guinea pig and thought that the beast would serve well as a frightening mount for an orc or a behorned Viking, a la Frank Frazetta. To demonstrate this truth, both he and Ian provided us with visual proof. I think these dramatic renderings say it all.

Thanks for the orc-riding-guinea pig action, Jack.

Thanks for the orcish plug for UgO, Ian.

Jan 29, 2007

Quick Follow Up

Just a quick follow up to the frilled shark post from a couple of days ago - here is what that bad boy looks like from the side. See what happens when eel meets shark? A double post on this blog, that's what.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo

Jan 28, 2007

1 of 125

Of the roughly 125 species of monkey out there, most are known for being mischievous and naughty, not for being evil. Any primatologists know what this fello is? I think this species will provide for a few more posts, and a few more nightmares.

Update: This appears to be a Drill.

Photo courtesy: Knuttz.net

Jan 27, 2007

Carpathian Edibles

Alcessa encountered this pair of Hungarian Mangalica pigs in a German Zoo last year. You can also call them poodle pigs, or blonde pigs - just check out their luscious locks. According to my online sources, this swine was bred in the Carpathian basin for its edibility.

These pigs have a certain charm to them.
I'll be a bit less eager to partake of a BLT the next time I'm offered one.

Thanks for the photos, alcessa.

Jan 26, 2007

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

Peer sent these photos in. What can I say? They speak for themselves. This blog is making develop an affection for pet owners who take on such uglies.

Thanks for the pooches, Peer.

Jan 25, 2007

Move Along

This post isn't for the squeamish. Seriously. If you have an aversion to maggots or parasites, move along.

Phlimm sent me this beastie, and it has made me never want to travel abroad. Behold the bot fly, or rather, its lavae. There are several varieties of this pest, but the one you probably care most about is the one that can end up in you.

What happens is an adult bot fly lays its eggs on a mosquito (why the mosquito hangs around for that, I don't know). Then, when the mosquito lands on its next victim, maybe you, the egg(s) is deposited on the new host. And, ta-da, you end up with a maggot living in your scalp or back (or anywhere the mosquito decided to take a sip).

For the daring, trying searching for 'bot fly' on YouTube. You'll lose your appetite.

Thanks for this monster, Phlimm. The world is a grosser place now.

Photo courtesy: Armed Services Pest Management Board

Jan 24, 2007

Claim to Fame

This beauty was sent to me by both Berstler and Julia. What you're looking at is a frilled shark. This fish is rarely seen alive because they live at a depth of around 600 meters or more. That's pretty deep.

This particular specimen was accidentally caught by a Japanese fisherman, who then called the authorities. I can't imagine what went though his head as he brought this eel-like shark to the surface.

Frilled sharks, like many of its cousins, give live birth. It is estimated that they are pregnant for one to two years, which would give them the longest gestatation of any vertebrate - even longer than elephants. That is a claim to fame I'm sure no mother wants.

Thanks for the photos, Berstler & Julia.

Photos (1 & 2) courtesy: Reuters & Yahoo

Jan 23, 2007

Baldwin for Sale

Chrissie has tapped into a veritable font of ugly animals, and she's struck gold with this one.

Behold the Baldwin Guinea Pig. This is one of two hairless guinea pig breeds, the other one being called a Skinny Pig. These rare critters come with a hefty price tag, upwards of $150.00!

"But wait," you say, "this one has some hair left on it!" Never fear. All that useless hair will eventually fall out, leaving the rodent perfectly hairless. They evidently make for great pets, so have at it, people. Just make sure you purchase from ethical breeders; breeding for very narrow genetic traits can be a difficult and sad process (for the animals involved, that is).

Thanks for the photo, Chrissie.

Jan 22, 2007

Amazon Crawling

Here is a tarantula from the Amazon jungle near Manaus, Brazil, sent in by Steve via Switzerland. Once again, someone shows themselves as having far more courage than I possess. There are very few things that could compel me to pick up a wild Amazonian tarantula (at night!), and none of those reasons exist in the jungle (they exist only in the blessedly hypothetical).

Neither Steve nor I possess the knowledge needed to identify this spider's exact species. Anyone care to take a stab at it? Not literally, figuratively.

He also sent me this photo of a web he came across. I hope the spider got the proper permits for that sucker. I've heard Brazilian building inspectors are very particular.

Thanks for the photos, Steve.

Jan 21, 2007

Amphibiophile Needed

I need some help here. Are there any herpetologists that can ID this frog for me? Anyone?

Just seeing it takes me back to my youth as an older brother. I need to track one of these down and hide it on my little sister's pillow.

Photo courtesy: Knuttz

Jan 20, 2007

Peek A Boo

I love the wolf eel. So when I cam across this peek-a-boo face in this Flickr pool, I had to share it with you.

Wolf eels are denizens of cracks and crevices, and are known to be friendly around scuba divers. If you want to encounter one in the wild, though, you had best strap on your tank and dive the Pacific coast of North America. Watch out, though. They get as big ast 7 feet and 40 lbs. But once you've found one you like, you'll most likely find him there the next time you visit. Once they've set up shop they like to stay put.

Thanks for the link, Joe, and thanks for the photo, Calvin.

Photo courtesy: Calvin Tang

Jan 19, 2007

Molting Beast

Antero told me the story of a killer bug he encountered in his garden pond in Finland. This creature is able to hunt down and eat frogs. What beast could he be talking about?

I imagine most of us have encountered the adult form of this insect, but not many would recognize the larval form. What am I talking about? A dragonfly nymph, of course. They are unpleasant - I know, from personal and painful experience.

I've tracked down a photo of a dragonfly molting its youthful skin. These insects are some of the largest on the planet, though they live most of their life in larval form. But you should count your blessings that you don't live Permian age, when dragonflies could reach nearly double the size of today's average specimen.

Photo courtesy: Royal Photographic Society

Jan 18, 2007

Damon Variegatus Abominationus

You folks have been leaving some great comments of late. I'm beginning to feel unfit for the task of posting for this blog, because my readers are so much more clever and knowledgable than I am. Oh well. I'll keep truding on.

Back to the uglies ...

Tiina sent in this photo of a damon variegatus, commonly known as a Tanzanian Giant Tailless Whipscorpion. I could go into how it belongs to the Amblypygi order of the Arachnida class of Arthropods. I could also discuss how some people believe this venomless creature makes for a great pet and a wonderful addition to any arachnid collection.

But no one can sum up the whipscorpion as well as Tiina herself; Spawn of Satan (which she derives from the 'damon' genus to which it belongs). Such a laconic definition might not aid in the taxonomy of this abomination, but it is good enough for me.

And just so you know, the specimen in the photo below is young. These suckers get as big as 8 1/2" with the legs spread out.

Thanks for the link, Tiina.

Photo courtesy: Stefan2209

Jan 17, 2007

Evolutionarily Distinct

Both J. Carr and Alan sent in this article from the BBC. Though this baby slender loris isn't exactly ugly, you can certainly file it under 'wierd' - at least according to the Zoological Society of London.

They've begun a campaign to protect some of the most evolutionarily unique and endangered animals on the planet. Such animals include this slender loris, the pygmy hippo, and the bumblebee bat. Each of the species targeted have been identified as 'one-of-a-kind,' meaning, they are very distinct, evolution-wise. This uniqueness is being combined with their numbers in the wild (or lack thereof) to create a better plan to preserve them. I like the effort. I'm behind it. The world is full of kittens and puppies. We could use more bats and loris's and pygmy animals.

Photo courtesy: ZSL

Jan 16, 2007

Further Proof that Pelicans Have Poor Eating Habits

Ann sent this photo to follow up on my post about a pelican eating a pigeon. Unlike that pigeon, I'm sure this cat fared just fine. You just have to wonder at the thinking going on in this pelican's brain (and the cat's, too).

Photo courtesy: Beautiful Corpse

But there's more. Check out this video of a pelican trying to dine on a school of catfish. It is an exercise in lack-luster futility. I never knew that so much material could be found on the eating habits of pelicans.

Jan 15, 2007

Hatchet Fish Scales Wanted

I'm proud of myself on this one. I've identified the ugly little beasts below as hatchet fish. Any ichthyologists want to challenge me on this one? Eh? You'll most likely be right, whatever you say, because you're smarter than me and know lots of stuff about fish.

This fish is colored dark on top, pale on the bottom, and silver on the sides. That makes it very difficult to see from any direction, at least underwater. I'm thinking of devising my own clothing line based on this camouflage principle. I'm just afraid it's going to take a lot of hatchet fish scales to make even a simple trench coat - could be expensive.

Photo courtesy: Knuttz

Jan 14, 2007

Terror Dog

Chrissie sent me this photo. See what you get when you take a mastiff, lay it on its back, take a photo, and flip the picture upside down?

You have the good-natured, goofy cousin of the terror dogs from Ghostbusters. Good call Chrissie, and good photo.

Jan 13, 2007

Camel Spiders and the US Military

Jessica sent me this famous photo of two camel spiders found by US troops in Iraq. It's been floating around the internet for quite some time, but I have been remiss in not including it in my repository of ugly.

I thought it'd be interesting to see what the US military had to say about this beast. Sure enough, the camel spider is featured prominently by the Armed Services Pest Management Board. Specifically, this arachnid is found on a section of their site called, "Field Guide to Venomous and Medically Important Invertebrates Affecting Military Operations: Identification, Biology, Symptoms, Treatment". Guess what? It turns out they are a nuisance - a painful one.

courtesy: ASPMB

Jan 12, 2007

Per Wee Beastie

Mhairi sent in this photo of a stonefish she saw at an aquarium near Edinburgh. The stonefish is one of many well-camouflaged ambush-hunting fish.

This particular fish was being kept in a 'poisonous fish' tank along with a puffer and a zebra fish. But why the sad face? Quite possible because he was being picked on by the puffer. As Mhairi put it (listen for the Scottish accent), "per wee beastie".

Thanks for the photo, Mhairi.

Jan 11, 2007

Paparazzi Moment

I feel paparazzi-ish for posting this picture. You know how you can catch even the most beautiful of people in the most ugly of postures and facial expressions? The same goes for dogs.

Ismo sent me this photo that his brother, Sami, took in Finland. This dog is normally a very attractive wolf hybrid. But Sami's camera caught it at exactly the wrong (or right, depending on how you're looking at it) moment. It's the teeth/gums/tongue combo that kills me. I love it!

Just so you know, most people agree that wolf hybrids (more accurately called wolfdogs) make for poor pets, though they can be fine companions for the right person. They're usually more active, intelligent, and demanding than the average pet-owner is prepared for.

Thanks for the photo, Ismo and Sami.

Jan 10, 2007

Pelican vs. Pigeon

This post is a bit more 'wild kingdom' than I usually do, but, hey, sometimes nature gets ugly.

James in the UK sent me this article, which tells the story of an Eastern White pelican that decided to defy pelican tradition and dine on a fellow bird. Pelicans, as a rule, only eat fish. But this particular pelican scooted down the towpath at St. Jame's park to scoop up an unsuspecting pigeon (sometimes known as 'rats with wings'). The episode was caught on film and video, and took twenty minutes to conclude. In the end, the pelican had a pigeon meal, though the pigeon was "kicking and flapping the whole way down."

According to the article, Pelicans were introduced to the park during the reign of Charles II, as a gift from the Russian ambassador. I'm sure the pigeons are thrilled that Russian ambassadors are so generous.

I've done posts on ugly pelicans before, and this just seals the deal. Ugly is as ugly does.

Thanks for the article, James.

Photo courtesy: BBC

Jan 9, 2007

House Centipede Benefits

Chrissie sent in this photo of a house centipede. She's had to bring in an exterminator to erradicate this abomination. These nasties have fifteen pairs of legs, which makes them fast. So fast in fact, that she even mistook one scampering across her floor for a rat when she first saw it.

According to her exterminator, these are the most beneficial of household pests, since they eat termites, spiders, bedbugs, cockroaches, and silverfish, etc. You just have to watch out for their poisonous stings.

Like Chrissie, I believe that the 'benefits' of this ugly pest do nothing to counterbalance the horror I would feel at having one climb up my leg. I don't think any home seller would place "free house centipedes included" in their real estate ad.

Thanks for the photo, Chrissie

Jan 8, 2007

Psycho Crustacean

Joe came across this pool in Flickr, and it holds a cache of diving photos that belong here. Take this crab eating a fish. Nothing too extraordinary about this picture at first glance - just your typical circle-of-life scenario. Until you look into the crab's eyes. Then you see mania and psychosis. Perfect. Welcome to Ugly Overload.

I'm not well-versed when it comes to crustaceans. Is this a crab or a lobster, or some other creature I don't know about?

Thanks for the link, Joe, and thanks for the photo, Calvin.

UPDATE: Both Chrissie and Rasmus have identified this as a Norway Lobster. I think they're correct.

Photo courtesy: Calvin Tang

Jan 7, 2007

I'm Thinking Baboon

I need to hone my primatology. Especially when it comes to developing my baby-monkey-identifying abilities. Now, that is a marketable skill set.

I'm thinking this one is a baboon. Any takers?

A lot of you are going to be upset that I posted on a baby, because you think I am disparaging this little one for being ugly. Mind you, he is ugly, but I'm fully aware that his large eyes, big ears, and endearing countenance are going to evoke your care-giving and 'aww' reflexes. It worked on me, too.

I'm just giving this baby some web time here, becuase I don't think your average cute animal site will give it the time of day. It just isn't in the same category as fluffy bunnies and floppy-eared puppies.

UPDATE: A reader has identified this as a baby macaque. My guess wasn't far that off at least. Thanks for the help.

Photo courtesy: Steve Evans

Jan 6, 2007

Watch Where You Step

The earthworm has been referred to, in ancient times, as The Destroyer, the subverter of monuments, and the leveler of empires. But don't let that prejudice you. Or the fact that they are slimy (especially in clumps like this), or that they are always squishing underfoot after the first rains.

Stop being a hater for a moment and give some thanks for this member of the Oligochaeta family. These worms help renew our topsoil and are indespensable in many agricultural endeavors. The next time you're enjoying some nice fruit juice, raise a glass for the earthworm. And watch where you step.

UPDATE: I need to have Rasmus edit my posts before I send them live. Oligochaeta is the class to which earthworms belong. The family is Lumbricidae. Thanks, Rasmus.

Photo courtesy: Ben McLeod

Jan 5, 2007

Crocodile Tail

How's that for a close-up of a crocodile tail? This tail comes in quite handy for these reptiles. When the eating's good, this is where they store a lot of their fat for when the eating's not so good. The tail's also useful for hunting you down in the water.

And don't think you'll be able to wrestle it Steve Irwin-style. The Nile Crocodile has been known to get as large at 20 feet long, and weigh over 2,000 lbs.

Photo courtesy: Knuttz

Jan 4, 2007

Ugly Bull

Any cattle wrestlers care to ID what breed this is? I don't dare to hazard a guess, for fear of getting some cowboys mad at me. I've already angered my share of cows, or 'domesticated ungulates,' as I like to call them.

Photo courtesy: Evil Monkey

Jan 3, 2007

Microwaved Hotdogs & Mole-Rats

I've posted on the naked mole-rat before (see this link), but I've recently received a couple of requests to invite them back. Katy sent me this photo, then Lani sent me this article, which has this to say about this rodent's appearance:

"Picture a hot dog that's been left in a microwave a little too long, add some buck teeth at one end, and you've got a fairly good idea of what a Naked Mole Rat looks like."

I love it. But you needn't fear running across one of these in the wild, unless you are one of my African readers. Even then, you probably haven't ever seen one. They live underground and never venture top-side.

The naked mole-rat makes for great children's book material. That's a good thing; we want our kids to know that ugly has its place, too.

Thanks for the links, Katy and Lani!

Photos (1 & 2) courtesy: Lisa

Jan 2, 2007

Set a New Fishing Record

I can't believe I haven't heard of the alligator gar before. Thankfully, I have alert and resourceful readers, like David, who send me photos like this one.

The alligator gar is so-named because of its size, its gator-shaped head, and because they've been known to take chunks out of swimmers. They get as big as 300 lbs, and are found in the Mississippi River Basin, from Ohio down to the Gulf of Mexico. They aren't fished for very often, though; their size is intimidating and they are hard to clean.

But, if you want to make set a new fishing record, go after one of these. There aren't that many on the books. That's how I intend to get famous. Or, if you are looking for new employment, local governments are hiring fishermen to catch these. So many possibilities!

Thanks for the photo, David.

Jan 1, 2007

Bathing Ferret

Anna sent in this photo of her pet ferret, Bonnie. Bonnie is an older ferret, and her less than comely appearance is exacerbated not only by the fact that she is in the bath tub (prime photo-taking-time for Ugly Overload), but she also has adrenal gland failure, which contributes to her sparse coat.

Although this malady is ultimately fatal, Bonnie is still expected to live out the normal life expectancy of her ferretdom, and she's in no pain. But, we're all about making lemonade out of lemons here. Her condition gives us one of the few ferret posts we'll ever have on this blog; despite being a relative of the weasel, the ferret is more often a resident of your cute sites.

Thanks for the photo, Anna. Your security in the loveableness of your pet, despite her appearance here, is an inspiration to us all.