Jul 14, 2013

Horned fighting frogs!!

The familiar horned toad isn't a toad, but this is really a frog that really has horns, and it knows how to use them. Those nasty spines which are as sharp as a pencil point grow during breeding season and the males use them to fight (and also to "try to stab you a bit when you pick them up" according to the scientist who studied them). The fights happen because the males are protecting their eggs - which the females just lay and go back to the forests where they live the rest of the time. Nice to see that sort of division of labor in a species once in a while, if you ask me.

You can see video of a fight and read more at this link.

Jul 12, 2013

Giant cuddly isopod

Are you a fan of the giant tongue-eating isopod? You read this blog, so of course you are. So you will be soooo jealous of the lucky people who got one of these stuffed ones from an aquarium in Japan. Reportedly when it was introduced, the entire stock of 140 sold out immediately, even at about 60 dollars apiece.  Here's another photo with a guy from the Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium for scale:

Jun 23, 2013

What is the world coming to?

This is the World's Ugliest Dog? This is really the best we can do?

Update: look at this pug that could have won instead!

Jun 5, 2013

Ugly animal news roundup

Proof of what we always suspected: Who you calling ugly? Zoos prefer cute animals to less attractive species, research shows.

"Selection of species into world zoos is determined by decisions made by humans, and intelligent and beautiful animals seem to be favoured," the researchers say.

More than seven million animals are kept in 872 zoos and aquariums worldwide. Zoologists from Prague's Charles University investigated the range of mammals kept and which were left out. Out of 5,334 mammalian species, only 1,048 of them, or 16 per cent, were found in the world zoo collection. The team used data on brain size and attractiveness to humans to see why some species were being left out in the cold.

But! Much more cheerful news: Zoo showcasing 'five evil animals' ahead of Dragon Boat Festival

An exhibition featuring animals traditionally mislabeled as sinister symbols is currently on display at Taipei Zoo to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, seen as a time when evil spirits are awakened, zoo officials said Tuesday.

Snakes, scorpions, centipedes, toads and geckos -- also known as the "five poisons" -- were believed in ancient Chinese culture to be evil and their spirits were thought to "possess" unfortunate human beings during the festival.

But zoo official Lin Hui-chen said the zoo hopes its exhibition, which runs until June 30, can help break the myth and raise awareness of animal protection.
Building on the momentum of the "Year of the Snake," Lin said, some of the creatures most feared by human beings will have a chance to show their true colors.

(Lovely and not at all evil Asian common toad from Wikipedia.)

May 30, 2013

Synchronized skipping

A trio of absolutely stunning mudskippers from the Japan Times. And some good news for a change: there are actually more of them than there used to be!

Apr 27, 2013

Happy World Tapir Day

Hey, why wasn't I invited to this party? After all the times I've posted about tapirs!

From the Facebook page of Zoo de Cordoba, Argentina.

Apr 22, 2013