Apr 30, 2006


In English, we know this South American rodent (the largest rodent on the planet, and recently introduced to Florida) as the capybara. This word comes from the Guarani word, kapiyva, meaning "master of the grasses."

German speakers, though, know this animal as the Wasserschwein, meaning "water pig." A much more suitable name, no?

These ugly rodents (am I repeating myself?) don't seem very rodentlike. They can grow as big as 140 lbs and almost 6 ft in length. They live in herds, have partially webbed feet, and spend quite a bit of time in and under the water.

One interesting sidenote: back in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church designated this mammal as a fish, based upon inaccurate descriptions and the animal's aquatic life. This fish designation makes the capybara eligible to be eaten during Lent. This in turn has led to Venezuelan farmers exporting 400 metric tons of capybara meat annually onto Catholic dinner plates. Capybara fans may want to petition Rome for a change of status. But then, pig (even water pig) is good eating.

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Apr 29, 2006

Odd Hunter

Just trust me. That's a fish. It's a shark. It's a wobbegong shark. See those wormlike appendages around its mouth? It uses them to suck its prey toward its razor-like teeth. Wouldn't that be a horrifying death.

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Apr 28, 2006

Too Ugly to Eat

The Galapagos marine iguana is basking in his own ugliness. Do I detect a bit of a smug smile?

In 1798, Captain James Colnett wrote:
"The guanas are small, and of a sooty black, which, if possible, heightens their native ugliness. Indeed, so disgusting is their appearance, that no one on board could be prevailed on, to take them as food."

These guys have always been repulsive, evidently to their benefit. That might explain his smile.

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Apr 27, 2006

Baby Hippo

Thanks, Brian, for pointing the way to this picture of a baby hippo at a Japanese zoo. Once again, we have proof positive that babies can be cute and ugly. Being slimy-looking helps. And yes, this is a real hippo.

Photo from: yomiuri.co.jp

Apr 26, 2006

Cannibal Cricket

The Mormon cricket is back in the news today. These ravenous insects, the bane of farmers in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, are expected to march across these states soon. Scientist have been studying these uglies in an effort to understand why they rampage across the landscape periodically. The tentative answer: they are on a forced march for protein and salt.

In 2003, 12 million acres were overrun by these crickets in Nevada alone! The first crickets in the swarm get all the good stuff, leaving those behind them with less and less to eat. Guess how the late comers get their food? By eating their fellow crickets. In fact, your average Mormon cricket can eat a cricket of equal body weight in one hour. That is a world record among animals that actually chew their food.

Cannibalistic and ugly. Nice.

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Apr 25, 2006

Big Nose Barker

Oh yes. Most animals with oversized noses will be ugly. Add in several thousand pounds of blubber, and you have yourself a winner, like this elephant seal. The nubby teeth help, too. I just won't say any of that to its face.

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Apr 24, 2006

Honey Baked

Once again I am horrified at how tasty ugly things can be. Poor pig makes me want some honey baked ham.

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Apr 23, 2006

Molting Dragon Fly

Dragon flies spend their youth as hideous-looking aquatic larvae. Then, like the butterfly (but without the cocoon), they transform into a beautiful ... well, their adult form is definitely an improvement. Great photo, Franz.

Apr 22, 2006


This vulture's scowl makes me wonder what he is thinking. Something to do with carrion, no doubt. Disgusting.

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Apr 21, 2006


These poor orangutans have been in the news quite a bit lately. Dozens of them were smuggled into a Thailand zoo and now the authorities are trying to decide how best to deal with them.

Back in 2004, Thai officials confiscated 100 orangutans from a private Thai zoo that was forcing them to participate in boxing matches.

This youngster really knows how to pose for the camera to evoke a sense of pity. Pose on, brother.

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Apr 20, 2006

Such Detail

True Bavarian takes some great photos. Check out hs close up of this green snake. Such detail. Such evil.

Apr 19, 2006

Ugly Dog Exhibition

This chinese crested pooch was spotted at the International Dogs exhibition in Moscow. Sorry, dog, no tongue is big enough to cover that ugly face.

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Apr 18, 2006

Get a Room

These african lions were caught in the act. The male is going to be mating every 25-30 minutes for the next several days. It would be pointless to ask them to get a room, but does the camera man have no shame? Give them some privacy.

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Apr 17, 2006


You can chalk this up under the cute category, too. Franz offered this shot of a red-footed booby, native to the Galapagos islands. This species is the smallest of the booby family. Baby birds are often ugly, but this one simply looks alien: a puff ball with a muppet face.

Thanks, Franz!

Apr 16, 2006


The matamata turtle is one of the ugliest animals on the planet. Though they are soft-shelled, they are accomplished hunters. That smile is so misleading. Good camouflage.

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Apr 15, 2006

More Collectibles

This photo is getting us one step closer to rounding out our Sam collection. Look at the sidebar categories for more.

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Apr 14, 2006

Ugly Gift

This is one of the Tasmanian devils that was given by the Tasmanian goverment as a christening gift to Denmark's newest prince. Odd taste.

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Apr 13, 2006


Look at those eyes. Look at the grit on the face. Look at the nobules at the corners of its mouth. So wonderful. Thank you, toad.

Photo courtesy:
True Bavarian

Apr 12, 2006

Knoxville or Bust

Yahoo is just cranking out the uglies. I couldn't pass up a reference to the naked mole-rat - one of the ugliest denizens of Africa. This particular set is awaiting transfer to the Knoxville Zoo.

Apr 11, 2006


Our poor English brothers have been plagued by a monster rabbit. This rabbit is so large and has wreaked such havoc, that many villagers have taken to hiring armed guards to preserve their gardens. This rabbit isn't the actual culprit - but is believed to be of the same variety. Be afraid.

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Apr 10, 2006

Blood Squirters

Here is a good close-up of the hornytoad, or horned lizard. These harmless but ugly lizards are known for their spikes and for the fact that they occasionally squirt blood from the corner of their eyes. Thank you for that, mother nature. We can always use a few more blood-squirting animals.

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UPDATE: Swintah has properly IDed this as a Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus). Thanks, Swintah!

Apr 9, 2006


Yahoo included this photo in a news story featuring a chemist who is working on chameleon clothing for people. The colors are beautiful, but did anyone notice that tongue? Will the clothing include one? Or will that be an upgrade?

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Apr 8, 2006


Reptiles can often run the risk of looking mechanical. Alligator snapping turtles look robotic.

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Apr 7, 2006

Big & Tasty

So big and ugly, but so tasty! What to do?

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Apr 6, 2006

Too Easy

I won't even bother with commenting on this one. It speaks for itself.

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Apr 5, 2006

Our Closest Cousin

The bonobo is the rarest great ape on the planet and is hailed as being humanity's closest cousin. This fellow looks like some people I know, so I don't doubt it.

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Apr 4, 2006

Such Courage

The African naked mole-rat has everything wrong with it. I just can't imagine the courage it must have taken to pick it up. Thanks, Riude.

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Apr 3, 2006

A Classic

This photo has been around the internet for a while. It deserves another look.

Some things to look for on this cat: fox snout, shaved belly, awkward pose, rat tail. So much to see.

Photo courtesy: cementhorizon.com

Apr 2, 2006


Behold the komodo dragon. These ugly, abominable lizards are thankfully island-locked. They can get to be 9 feet long and over 250 lbs. That's not enough, though. Their saliva is so nasty that it causes lethal infections in any creature that manages to escape its bite. I'll be taking my vaction on a different Indonesian island. Thanks.

Photo courtesy:
M. Shane Glass.

Apr 1, 2006


The wobbegong shark is one of our favorite Aussie fish. Sometimes mother nature can be so ugly its beautiful.

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