Sep 30, 2006

One Big Buffet

The maw below is that of a cookie cutter shark. These nasties cruise up to a large fish or a marine mammal, latch on with their suction-enabled mouths, dig in with their teeth, and then spin. At the end of their spin they have taken out a cookie-shaped bite out of their prey. They then swim on, leaving the wounded animal wondering what just happened to it.

One theory proposes that the cookie cutter shark poses as a smaller fish (thanks to its light-colored underbelly), waits for a large fish to attack, and then turns the tables on its would-be attacker by attacking it instead. Gutsy little fish, isn't it?

These sharks have even been known to take bites out of the sonar equipment of submarines. Now that is ambitious. I don't know what I think about this creature. Most predators kill their prey and gobble them down. This one just takes bites and moves on. The ocean is one big buffet to it. Not a bad life to live, on the whole.

Thanks for the link, Rasmus!

Photo courtesy:

Sep 29, 2006

Triple Take

I normally don't post on mis-shapen lumps of yellow coral. Unless, wait. I see it now. That is a fish! In fact, it is the frog fish. This fish might require more than a double take if you were to spot it while diving. A triple take might be needed. The first one to see its color; the second one to discover it is a camoflauged fish; and the third to discern that it is an ugly fishie that uses its pectoral fins like limbs.

These slow-moving ambush predators also sometimes come equipped with the dangly lures that anglerfish have. That must be an upgrade this particular specimen didn't sign up for.

Photo courtesy:

Sep 28, 2006

Freakish Armies

The lynx spider is being considered a key player in a new phase of pest management. It turns out that these large green spiders like to do their very effective insect hunting on low shrubs and herbaceous plants. This means that some of our farmers might soon be employing freakish armies of these beasts in an effort to fight off pests.

I can't imagine anything more frightening. Ghengis Kahn and Alexander the Great would be so proud.

Thanks for the photo, Photo_Freak.

Sep 27, 2006

Instead of the Morgue

I have considered that if I ever caught my kids smoking that I would take them to a morgue and have them shown a smoker's lung - to scare the desire out of them. Instead, I think I'll show them this photo.

Photo courtesy:

Sep 26, 2006

Ego Killer

Yummy. Here is a nice crispy and long-dead bee that didn't survive its meeting with a venus fly rap. I must say, that has got to be an ego killer. Of all the many ways an insect can die - to be caught by a plant and eaten? A plant? True, they are one of the fastest plants on the planet, but still.

And why do venus flytraps dine on bugs? I would have chosen to ambush nice western bacon cheeseburgers or pepperoni pizzas instead.

Thanks for the photo, Jonathan.

Sep 25, 2006

Watch Your Back

Put the phone down, Mr. Walrus. There is no plastic surgeon, dentist, barber, or opthalmologist alive that can help you.

I can only imagine that it is no easy task to train a walrus to hold a phone to his ear. But I wonder at how smart it is. Look at his blood-shot and bulging eyes. He just might be at the break point. Watch your back, Mr. Trainer.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Sep 24, 2006

With Pride

I'll admit to being proud of these photos. Not that they are of high quality, mind you. I know they're not. I just feel that warm fuzzy glow of having contributed to society. The web has two new photos of warthogs thanks to me. You're welcome.

Take a look at the mane on the second one. He is wearing it with pride. Thanks, San Francisco Zoo, for housing these uglies.

Sep 23, 2006

Eons and Eons

This coelathan was caught off the shores of Kenya in 2001. It's in the news now because some fossils have been found that show that other ancient fish, that hint at the first animals to walk on land, have been found in the fossil record a full 20 millions years earlier than previous specimens. Yay. Abominable animals have been around for eons and eons. Thanks for the affirmation.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Sep 22, 2006

Think Hard

If you were stumbling through the jungles of Brazil and came across, to your horror, a new and huge species of tarantula that looked like this, what might you call it? Think hard ...

Why yes, you would call it the brazilian whiteknee tarantula. How clever of you! These spiders supposedly are a prefered pet, though they are moderately aggessive. Ugh. People, come on.

Photo taken by me at the San Francisco Zoo.

Sep 21, 2006

Don't Judge a Fabric by Its Weaver

Silk is a beautiful fabric, but not its creator. Here is the silk worm. Of course, any creature with 'worm' in its name is going to have a hard time being anything other than ugly, but these larvae don't make any attempt at being attractive. They settled on 'corpse' white for their coloring. Not too creative. I guess I can't complain, though. I wouldn't mind having a set of sheets woven from their product.

Photo taken by me at the San Francisco Zoo.

Sep 20, 2006

My Contribution

I spent part of this weekend at the San Francisco Zoo, which allowed me to take some photos of animals to feature. You see, I peddle in photos of ugly animals taken by other people. I thought it high time I contributed my own images to my growing library (I apologize for my feeble photography skills).

Here is one of my favorite birds, the marabou stork. This guy was one of three who were basking in the sun and not doing much. I fought the urge to frighten them into flight. Don't you love his curly blonde hair? I don't. I wonder what carrion is stuck in it.

Sep 19, 2006

Goblins & Aliens

Here is the goblin shark. So aptly named, I love it. These fish can be found at depths of 1,300 meters. That's deep.

The long snout is endowed with sensory organs that detect electrical fields. But get this: their mouths are extensible - like in Aliens. They can retract or extend them. Freaky.

Photo courtesy:

Sep 18, 2006

Get Your Snarl On

It's a shame that so much color should be marred by so much ugly. This mandrill has his snarl on, but from the look of his eyes, his heart just isn't in it.

Any orthodontists care to take on this primates mouth pro bono? Come on, it's charity.

Sep 17, 2006


Rasmus directed me to this one. Take a gander at the hagfish. This primitive fish comes with some interesting factoids:

1) It has no fins, save for a rudimentary tail.
2) They excrete an obscene amount of slime when threatened.
3) They can tie themselves into literal knots.
4) Though they feed primarily on invertabrates, they have the pleasant habit of burrowing into dead animals and eating them from the inside out.

Now, isn't your life all the richer? You're welcome.

Photo courtesy:

Sep 16, 2006

Ugly Even for a Bug

Even the photographer, Photo Freak, didn't know what this bug is. Any ideas from our friendly neighborhood entomologists out there? Even for a bug this one is ugly. I could almost pity it.

Update: Brigette has identified this bug as a nymph of the leaf-footed family of bugs. Thanks for your expertise!

Sep 15, 2006

Homage, Not Mockery

I love orangutans. Really I do. They are my favorite of the great apes. Am I wrong to feature them so often? It's more of in homage than in mockery. They're just too much to pass by - especially the males.

This particular one is called Punkin. I hope that means something tough and manly (apely?) in some other tongue, because I would be upset to be called Punkin if I were an orangutan. In fact, I might start rending people's arms off, just because I could.

Thanks for the phots, Kim.

Sep 14, 2006

I Stand in Awe

I stand in awe (and sometimes horror) of folks who can stand close to uglies, like this tarantula from Tanzania, and snap photos of them. You are braver than I. But then, I am less likely to be attacked by one, so it all evens out in the end. You're braver and I'm less spider-bitey.

Thanks for the photo, Pixel Disaster.

Sep 13, 2006

Filling the Void

(must fight urge to refer to Hungry Hungry Hippos ... must not ... must control ...)

Whew. There. I was able to wrestle that demon into submission.

Speaking of wrestling - and taking on wildlife bodily - I hope this guy doesn't think he can fill the void left by Steve Irwin's death. Crocs are one thing, hippos quite another, my ambitious friend. Shear bulk and having a brain larger than a walnut make this beast far more formidable.

Photo courtesy: Yahoo!

Sep 12, 2006

Could It Be?

I normally don't display images of feces, even if in the form bird guano. But, I was thinking ... wait. What? Could it be? Yes, it is. That's a moth! Why, it's none other than the pearly wood-nymph.

Isn't camouflage a wonderful thing? Tigers have stripes, chameleons can change color, walking sticks look like sticks. This bug was dealt a rough hand, though. Of all things to be disguised as ... It beats getting eaten, though.

Thanks for the photo, Sean.

Sep 11, 2006

Armored Bird

With the exception of raptors and your water fowl, it seems that most large birds have a high ugliness rating (I need to work on a means of quantifying that ...)

Certainly, every super-sized flightless bird is abhorrent. Take the double-wattled Cassowary for instance. That horn on top of its head is used for battering its way through the underbrush. This species is the only armored bird. Way to go, Cassowary!

Photo courtesy:

Sep 10, 2006


Pixel Disaster hit pay dirt in Tanzania. Take a look at one of the denizens of that East African nation. Here is odonturus dentatus, aka "ugly stinging thing."

What I like about this site is all the new things I find out. For instance, the wikipedia article on this scorpion refers to this creature's high 'aggressivity.' I didn't know that was a word. I will be sure to use it more often. Also, did you know that poisons have a quantifiable toxicity rating known as its LD50? This particular creepy has a high LD50, though no actual number is listed.

I wonder what my brother's LD50 is?

Thanks for the photo, Pixel Disaster.

Sep 9, 2006

Show Off

This python, native to Kuala Lumpur, decided that swallowing a pregnant ewe by the roadside would be a good idea. Maybe it wanted to show off? The bulk of the ewe, however, has adversely impacted its ability to slither.

Perhaps this snake is one of Kaa's (of Jungle Book fame) descendants. He showed some poor judgment, too.

Photo from: Yahoo!

Sep 8, 2006

Dig Deep

Behold the geoduck clam (pronounced gooey-duck). The Chinese call it the 'elephant trunk clam' and you can see from these photos why. 'Geoduck' comes from an American Indian word for 'dig deep' - refering to what people have to do to get to them. I'm proud to say that I have gone clamming for these myself, though I have never pulled one as large as this one from the muck. Look at that thing! How can something so visually disgusting be so very tasty when made into a chowder? This is one of the many mysteries of life.

This clamming party had quite a haul this particular day. I'm truly jealous. It is a very messy and muddy process. But bringing in this many pounds of clam would make it all worth it (otherwise it is just a hazing for in-laws or your sister's new boyfriend).

Thanks for the photos, Emily.

Sep 7, 2006

I Don't Think You're Ready for This Jelly

I didn't believe this shot when I first saw it (though I think the diver has been shrunk for effect). This is a nomura jellyfish, found off the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese coastlines. These bad boys can get to be 450 lbs and are choking fishing lines. This makes me want to strap on my scuba gear and jump in.

No it doesn't. That's false bravado and a lie.

Sep 6, 2006

Thank You, China

There is a limitless supply of ugly photos of Chinese Crested dogs. I want to thank the Chinese for that, and for General Chicken.

Sep 5, 2006

Crocodile Hunter

Normally celebrity deaths don't impact me at all. Not so with Steve Irwin's death. It actually got to me. The Crocodile Hunter, dead? He was one of those guys that really inspired me when it came to animals (especially the ugly ones).

He seemed like a real nice guy, and a family man. It is amazing that it was a sting ray that killed him, not one of the countless crocs or vipers or spiders that he handled and grappled with. The one consolation is that he died doing what he loved.

Thanks for all the work you did, and for bringing us goofy images like this. Ugly animals the world over owe you a debt.

Sep 4, 2006

Sympathy for an Insect

I abominate garden spiders. But, out of a sense of integrity, I don't discriminate and I feature them prominently. I cannot imagine the death that this grasshopper suffered through. It is honestly my worst personal-death-scenario nightmare. I have never felt such sympathy for an insect.

Photo courtesy:

Sep 3, 2006

I Demand an Answer!

No one has answered this for me yet. Why do these crocodiles have this narrow snout? I demand an answer!

Thanks for the photo, Clay.

Sep 2, 2006

Evil Bug

This reminds me - the Transformers movie is coming out next year.

Thanks for the photo, Kim.

Sep 1, 2006

Not Sure What to Say

I'm not sure what to say about this one. Maybe some clever reference to drool or bubbles, or letting sleeping dogs lie? It's beyond me. I just know it's disgusting.

Photo courtesy: