Sep 27, 2010

Beautiful Babirusa

I posted this picture over at my other blog this morning and someone looking over my shoulder said, "Aren't you posting that on the wrong site?"

Well, no, but it's certainly an animal that belongs here too. In fact, I was illustrating the following quote:

The Babirusa is one of the ugliest of the wild swine.

Really, what else do you need to know?

Babirusas by Flickr users cactusbeetroot and su-lin.

-Wombat (No Relation)

Sep 25, 2010

Fish with Teeth!

First fish with feet, now fish with human teeth! What's going on?

Nothing, actually, except that this fish was in a place that it shouldn't be. Caught by a man in South Carolina, this is a pacu, a relative of the piranha, and it's native to the Amazon. But they're sold in the pet trade, and when they get too big, irresponsible people let them go in local waters. Then, periodically, a fisherman catches one and there's a big kerfuffle of "baffled wildlife experts" - or at least baffled local journalists - until someone says, oh yeah, that's just another pacu.

Here's an even better picture of the teeth:

That's from National Geographic, and don't click on that link unless you want to see a picture of a fish with much scarier dentition. I'll take a fish with human teeth over a fish with two inch fangs any day.

Keeping my fingers out of the water either way,
-Wombat (No Relation)

Sep 22, 2010

Shark! Oh, wait...

It seems like there was a lot of news about shark attacks - or at least the fear of them - this past summer. But most sharks have more to fear from us than we have to fear from them, and this couldn't be more true of the basking shark, which lately got a federal designation of "Species of Concern." (That means that we don't know whether they're endangered but they might be.)

These animals are huge - 30 feet or more long - but unless one sits on you, it's unlikely to do you much damage. They're filter feeders, which is nice work if you can get it. They don't have to chase anything down and fight it to the death - they just open that huge mouth and basically sift plankton out of the water.

They do have teeth, but not so's it matters. As biologist Heidi Dewar at NOAA told National Public Radio, "If you took a grain of rice and cut it in half, that's what the teeth of a basking shark look like."

Biologist Dewar is obviously a person after our own hearts here at Ugly Overload. She also said of the basking shark, "They're just really cool and amazing-looking and beautiful."

Wombat (No Relation)

Thanks for the heads-up to the always interesting Cryptozoology Online.

Sep 18, 2010

Your Weekend Antelope Snouts

I could say that I posted this picture because of the important news that an international conservation treaty has been signed to preserve the saiga antelope, which is threatened both by demand from the market for traditional medicine, and by a disease that killed about 12,000 of them in Kazakhstan earlier this year.

But really, it's just an excuse. This blog can't have too many pictures of saiga antelope, don't you think?

-Wombat (No Relation)

Photo from The Guardian's Week in Wildlife.

Sep 17, 2010

Shark Tagging

Typically, when you see a great white shark and humans in the water at the same time, you wonder what the shark is doing to the humans. But not here. What in the world has given these blokes such huge smiles? They've successfully tagged the shark and are preparing to release it back into the wild.

First they hook a shark, then they haul it into a metal cradle. Once it's secured, they lift it out of the water and affix it with a satellite tag. All the while water seawater is pumped into its mouth and gills and it is injected with a hearty blend of drugs and vitamins to help it recover.

Of course, you've got to marvel at the folks who pioneered this technique. So much can go wrong just with the ocean. But adding great white sharks to the mix? I'm just glad there are people out there smarter and braver than me (not difficult to accomplish, really). The shark does too, even if he doesn't know it.

Thanks for the link, Rusty.

Photo source: Linda Staverees/Wildlife Conservation Society via Mother Nature Network

Sep 16, 2010

Fish with Feet!

This walking anglerfish was photographed on a deep-sea expedition in the waters off Indonesia. Scientists predict they'll find at least 50 new species in the thousands of photos and many hours of video taken by a robotic vehicle.

I would have said that fish was both ugly and unnatural, but just to show you how much I know, apparently finding out that fish can walk is not one of the big discoveries of that expedition. Take a look at this:

Turns out there's a whole family of fish that everyone but me already knew about, called "handfish," that maybe ought to be called "feetfish," that do the same walking-along-the-sea-bottom-instead-of-swimming thing. That pink guy is one of nine new species of handfish that were reported to be discovered earlier this year.

Read more about the Indonesia expedition here.

Anglerfish photo via the Daily Mail.

Strolling along,
-Wombat (No Relation)

Sep 14, 2010

Gratuitous Spider Faces

I thought you all could use a gratuitous spread of spider faces. May they haunt your dreams, drive you to gratitude that they're itty-bitty, and give you pause to consider the dizzying variety of arachnids this planet has given us. (For myself, I'll lie awake wondering which one of these will creep onto my pillow to lap at the saliva at the corners of my lips.)

Photo source: Geoff Burrows

Photo source: jose

Sep 9, 2010

Stuff the ballot box for ugly

This photo of a coot chick, entitled "Bad Hair Day," by Keith Humphrey, is an entry in the 2010 photography contest of Britain's Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

The competition includes a People's Choice award, and if you don't go over there and vote, some beautiful swan or something like that is going to win. And wouldn't that be sad?

Wombat (No Relation)

Sep 8, 2010

Gazelle takes bold fashion step forward?

If you've never seen anything like this antelope before, you're not alone. No one else had either, before photographer Paolo Torchio captured a series of pictures of a uniquely hairy Thompson's gazelle in Kenya.

Experts have suggested that perhaps this little guy has some kind of disease that causes the excessive hair growth. But I'm not so sure. Take a look at this picture of your average Thompson's gazelle:

Boring, right? Does the world really need more pretty, graceful animals like this? If you were a teenage Thompson's gazelle, wouldn't you try to be different, too?

Wombat (No Relation)

Photo of conformist gazelle by Flickr user Colin Jackson.

Sep 4, 2010

Hard Not To Stare

It would be hard not to stare, wouldn't it? Like talking to someone with a growth on their face, it's hard not to stare. But little monkey had better be careful, lest mommy should come to an abrupt halt. You don't want a face full of that.

Why do some monkey species have red butts? For some, it's a sign that a female is sexually mature. For others, the rear becomes nice and swollen, and it's used as padding for sitting (I've got similar padding, though not due to swelling or redness).

Sep 2, 2010

Sitting With Your Food

I sometimes do exactly what this bearded dragon is doing. I'll head outside to my favorite basking spot and take a seat with my favorite meal, pizza. I'll take a slice and set it on my head, close my eyes, and give a deep sigh of contentedness. It's an almost spiritual moment, sitting there with my food.

Most of my meals don't try to leap away when I go in for the first bite, but I still think this lizard and I could be close friends. A common love of food makes for a strong bond.

Photo source

Get ready to party

It's time for a fantastic ugly animal holiday: Saturday, September 4th is International Vulture Awareness Day. Hope the following portraits inspire you while you're making your shopping list for carrion and other delicacies for your celebration.

Black vulture from Flickr user digitalART2.

Hooded vulture by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar.

White-headed vulture from Flickr user SantiMB.

King Vulture by Flickr user Axel Foley.

Another black vulture by Flickr user Jeremiah McBride.

-Wombat (No Relation)