Jun 26, 2010

World's Ugliest Dog Contest 2010

Even as a lover of the ugly, the winner of this year's World's Ugliest Dog contest in California gives me pause.

Princess Abby Francis, thought to be a Chihuahua mix, is ugly all over, from her permanently closed eye to her strangely curved back to her deformed legs.

The good news for some of us is that it's not another Chinese Crested, the breed that has dominated in the past ten years. Last year, their streak was interrupted by a boxer called Pabst with a unique underbite:

Pabst's victory gave me hope. As a pug owner, I follow this contest closely: surely, one year victory will be ours! As the statement of one pug contestant, Grovie, said:

He feels that the pugs need to continue to be represented in this event. Also he feels his smooshed in mug, layers of deep facial wrinkles filled with gook, crooked teeth and unusual bow legged stature can qualify him for an ugly look worthy for entering this competition.

Look at this guy! If he's not a contender, I don't know what is! We were robbed!

What is sadder, though, is that there are some spoilsports who think it's wrong to celebrate an animal for being ugly, but we here at Ugly Overload know better. And so do many others, fortunately - it was world news when previous winner Miss Ellie (another Chinese crested) died in June.

Enjoy your year, Princess Abby. We're pleased you're keeping those Chinese Cresteds in their place. But the pugs will be back and we won't give up!

-Your humble servant,

UPDATE: Great photo of one of the other pugs here.

Jun 24, 2010

These Kids Today

Looking at a streaked tenrec, you could be forgiven for wondering if the photographer had perhaps not caught the subject at its best. Surely this animal just rolled out of bed hungover after a wild party that ended up in an unfortunate amateur hair-bleaching event:

I know. You're thinking that if you turn him over and look at his belly, you'll also find a tattoo of his girlfriend's name that he'll regret someday, but that once he takes a shower and blow-dries that mess, he'll clean up nicely, right?

Sadly untrue. Here's a picture of the representative of this species at the newly renovated hall of mammals at the Smithsonian Institution. Presumably the best taxidermists in the country labored over this guy for weeks or months, and this is the best they could make it look:

(by Flickr user cliff1066)

Our friends at Zooilogix (from whence the first photo above) accuse this critter of looking like "a cross between a colorful sea slug and a shrew," but as they well know, it's related to neither. The tenrecs are a family of small mammals that have evolved to fill all sorts of ecological niches on the island of Madagascar. Since there are no hedgehogs there, there are hedgehog-like tenrecs, since there are no shrews, there are shrew-like tenrecs, and so on.

Since they're so flexible, then, the ugliness of the streaked tenrec is no accident. It's hard to see what evolutionary advantage lies in that appearance, but there must be something, because they could have instead chosen to be this cute:

(Hedgehog tenrec, by Flickr user artbandito.)

Well, I've gotten to the age where I look at how the teenagers dress and wonder how they attract mates, too. I guess ugly works for the streaked tenrec.

Submitted for your consideration by Wombat (No Relation).

Jun 22, 2010

Oil spill affects lovable uglies too

When news reports of the Gulf oil spill talk about the effects on wildlife, they tend to concentrate on majestic birds and cuddly mammals. Unfortunately, environmental damage is one of the few things that doesn't discriminate against the ugly. Consider the Louisiana pancake batfish:

This batfish is a little guy, about as big as when you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger. It's not just weird to look at but has some unusual behavior as well: it hops around on fins that are almost like feet. The ichthyologist who discovered it told CNN:

"They're not like a flounder; they are much more mobile, more like a pancake with feet."

People are knitting washclothes to help oil-covered birds, but don't bother sending them to help the batfish - it lives on the seabed, a thousand feet or more deep, so getting covered by the surface oil is not its problem. Probably the biggest issue is the effect of the spill on the invertebrates at the bottom of the food chain that make up its diet.

Let's hope this species pulls through. A pancake with feet! I think we at Ugly Overload can agree that the world needs that just as much as it needs pelicans.

Your humble servant,

Jun 21, 2010

A couple of followups

Recently our fearless leader posted about the remarkable Titan Arum, also known as the Corpse Flower and remarked that although it is stinky (hence the nickname), it isn't particularly ugly in appearance.

After stumbling across this photo of the same flower about to bloom at the Huntington Gardens in California, I think we may need to reconsider:

The Huntington Gardens takes ugly seriously: this flower has its own blog: Stinky Huntington.

Also, in case you think the baby birds in my previous post are not fair representatives of baby birds the world over, check out these baby blackbirds at a wildlife hospital in Tel Aviv, Israel (from Reuters via The Telegraph):

Respectfully submitted by Wombat (No Relation)

Jun 19, 2010


Everyone loves to fantasize about the idea of immortality. For this jellyfish, there's no fantasizing, it's a reality. Turritopsis nutricula is a species of jellyfish found to possess the amazing ability of transdifferentiation, they can revert back to the polyp stage and begin their life cycle again.

Other animals use transdifferentiation for equally amazing things like regrowing limbs and organs, but this is the only creature that has been found to have this amazing ability to get a fresh start on life.

While cool, there's a drawback for everything else. These jellyfish are native to Caribbean waters, but are now found to be spreading much further out than their native range. I say that a good old stake to the heart stops most immortals from getting out of hand. What's that? Jellyfish have no hearts? We are truly doomed.


Jun 18, 2010

Faces Only a Mother Could Love

It's the time of year - at least where I am in the Eastern US - that we're infested with the most hideous little animals possible: baby birds.

Fortunately, usually they're well hidden, but last year, a nest of robins rudely took up residence right next to my back patio table. Take a look:

Isn't that enough to spoil your appetite? What is it with baby birds? Every other baby animal is adorable. Even little baby snakes are adorable - if you don't believe me, look at this one:

Come on, even if you're not crazy about snakes, don't you just want to kiss its eensy weensy wittle tiny cheeks? Compare that to those baby birds from an even more horrific angle:

There is one bright side, though, which is that they look like that for a very short time. Here's one of those guys only about a week later, looking like it's ready to fill out its college applications:

By the way, if you see one of these teenage birds flopping around on the ground in your yard, be aware that you probably don't need to "rescue" it. Unless it can't move or is obviously injured, you're just watching its clumsy attempts to learn to fly. Scores of overworked wildlife rehabilitators across the country would appreciate it if you don't catch up perfectly healthy baby birds and call them in a panic when you realize that you don't have a clue what to do.

(P.S. Ahoy! I am Wombat (no relation) and I am honored to be helping carry on the grand tradition of Ugly Overload. You can read my ravings about the ugly behavior (not always entirely safe for work) of our fellow creatures at my blog, where you will learn never to trust a pretty animal face.)

Jun 15, 2010

Trawling Too Deeply

Thirty-eight fish species were recently hauled up from the ocean floor by scientists working off the coast of Greenland. Ten are new to science, and the others have never been seen in these waters.

Why? Two theories have been put forward: 1) warming of the oceans, and 2) over-fishing of the ocean floor.

Regardless, have these scientists learned nothing from the cautionary tale of the Dwarves of Moria. Those dwarves delved too deeply and were struck down by the Balrog. These scientists trawled too deeply, and found all sorts of ugly. Notice: not one ethereal, angelic creature was dredged up. Only ugly. Some things were never meant to see the light of day.

Thanks for the link, Coralie.

Jun 12, 2010

More about Hippos!

Go on, laugh, I dare you! Photo care of Animal Review (which is VERY funny!)

Hippo’s have been featured here at UgO a lot. There is a reason. There are few creatures that skirt that thin line between cute hilarity and bone-gnawing Terror like Hippopotamus amphibious

Picture thanks to Tetrapod Zoology in fact this entire post is inspired by the latest post there. :) Love you Darren!

I bring them back because truly, they are the MOOSE of Africa. This means two things:

1) They are one of the most lethal animals on their continent. While people are freaking out about big cats, crocs or bears, Hippos and moose are happily kicking the crap out of anyone that crosses their path, in the wrong way.

YOU say you want a hippopotamus for Christmas Bi@#$? Photo thanks to Animal Review

2) They will stomp you to death in the split second you spend wondering if you want to run, cuddle or sing about them.

The guy in the video lived, he's lucky. Next time, approach a Bison in Musk maybe...

I consider this a public service. I’m telling you that while you may have a visceral reaction to spiders mice or bears, statistically speaking, you are WAY more likely to meet your maker face-to-snout with an enormous ungulate. And if that sounds funny to you, consider this picture of a hippo skull:

All the better to NOM YOU TO DEATH with my dear! Picture care of Laelaps!

So here are some fun pictures and videos to bring the message home. I have fewer Moose shots because the majority of them on the web seem to be hunting-related.

Go ahead and tell her that her butt looks big. I'll just be over behind this boulder, laughing
Picture care of CUTE OVERLOADJust in case you didn't realize Moose were FRIGGIN HUGE, view from an Alaskan back yard window. Care of What's Cool In Alaska which has a GREAT set of rules when dealing w/ Moose.

Just in case you're not convinced yet this video shows a hippo SCHOOLING a huge croc and dragging off it's meal. Yes, they do eat meat sometimes. Nature is crazy like that.

If you are sensitive, skip the last bit of the video after the hippo goes back for the Croc's meal. It's not quite dead. The Croc gets away though, if you are worried.

Are you a gamer? Here's some Moosie Mahem of a World of Warcraft Nature: Boy Attacked by moose 'feigns death' saves his sister.

Previous Hippo UgO:

Dentist's Worst Nightmare

Hippos like to lick crocs

Half Ton Hide

Other things they do to Crocs. :(

how do you think you'd fair?

Jun 3, 2010

Your little Eyelash Buddies!

Greetings Ugly Readers! I mean READERS of the UGLY. For my first post I'd like to introduce you to to a creature you are already likely intimate with: Demodex folliculorum

This creature is mostly benign but still prepare yourself to feel squirmy and itchy. This lil' fella lives around your eyelashes - going so far as to embed itself in the follicle as pictured here:

Photos from: Here

I've known about these guys for years and I am not the squeamish sort at all but I can tell you that I've felt itchy all morning while going over these pictures.

Really this mite just feeds off of the dead skin and such around your eye lashes. They are doing you a favor. Still, it's not pleasant to think about.

hoto thanks to Things that Scared me as a Kid

Just in case you weren't squirmy yet, here is a vid
eo of the lil' ones actually moving.

A final word: Once again, these guys are harmless. Don't go pouring acid on your eyelashes. You are part of an ecosystem, much of which lives in, on and all around you. Embrace and celebrate the fact that the world is even more diverse and amazing than you may have realized.

For more in formation about eye lash mites see:

Demonex on wikki
Parasite of the Day