Dec 30, 2011

Year-End Reviews: Whose side are you on?

You have a choice. You could look at more of photographer Alex Wild's favorites from the past year on his blog Myrmecos, like the photo above. That's a type of army ant biting the photographer - getting a grip like that makes it easier for the ant to use her stinger at the other end.

Or you could look at The Telegraph's Review of the Cutest Animals Pictures of 2011. After all it does contain ugdorable babies like this orphaned wombat in a teacup:

Only you can decide what's right.

-Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 27, 2011

Life imitates art

I'm not sure the lined leaf-tailed gecko counts as ugly, especially compared to some of its creepy-looking relatives that we have seen on this blog. But it sure is the opposite of warm and furry - in fact it looks almost exactly like a carved wooden animal:

Apparently this is its way of trying not to be seen in the bamboo forests where it lives, like so:

That's not bad, but I think it might be even better off trying to hide in a gift shop full of wooden souvenirs... except I would probably buy him and take him home.

Thanks for our friends at Archie McPhee's Geyser of Awesome for introducing me to this gecko and for photos, to Flickr user David d'O and Wikispecies.

-Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 21, 2011

Holiday baking inspiration... or not

Distracted by my urge to post pictures of my pugs in Christmas outfits, I was finding it a bit of a challenge to come up with a respectable idea for a holiday-themed post about ugly animals.

But then I realized - of course! For many people, the holiday season is all about baking those Christmas cookies, so why not the cookie cutter shark?

The cookie cutter shark uses the impressive teeth in that picture to gouge nice round pieces out of the flesh of large prey. And in fact, there's some recent cookie-cutter-shark news that I neglected to report on: in November, a paper was published documenting the first recorded attack of a cookie cutter shark on a HUMAN. The critter took a chunk out of the leg of a guy who was attempting a long-distance swim from Hawaii and Maui.

This was actually fairly widely reported, but for the first hand account, check out this interview at Deep Sea News. It's complete with a clear photo of the actual wound which may spoil your appetite for those Christmas cookies for a while.

-Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 15, 2011

Up close and personal with ugly creatures

According to The Telegraph, "Senior invertebrate keeper Evan Armstrong is adorned in various species of stick insects to celebrate the opening of the Bugs Garden habitat at Wild Life Sydney." Do YOU love ugly animals that much?

And while I've got your attention: a shark-themed gift guide from our friends at Southern Fried Science.

-Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 13, 2011

Hairy germ-eating sea life

I'm sure you all remember the yeti crab, an amazing creature that was first discovered only in 2006. It's a deep-sea species that lives around methane-belching hydrothermal vents, and to top it off, it's got all kinds of bacteria growing in those hairlike filaments all over its legs.

Now the existence of a second species of yeti crab has been announced
. It's actually somewhat less hairy than the first, making it more authentically ugly - the silky-looking hair on the original species would really be attractive, if only it weren't on a crab.

And even better, scientists have discovered something new about that hair-bacteria as well. It's the crab's main source of food, and the crab even seems to actively "farm" it by waving its arms around (you can see videos here). "This 'dance' is extraordinary and comical," says one scientist, but it's not just good for a laugh: the behavior exposes the bacteria in the "hair" to the oxygen and sulphide that it needs to grow.

Another appreciative scientist commented, "The original yeti crab was charismatic. This one is even more so."

-Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 12, 2011

Your Monday ugdorable

This is a trailer for a show about the baby sloth orphanage at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica, to air this coming Saturday. Check out for more info, or just watch this and be careful your head doesn't explode from the onslaught of ugdorable.

Dec 7, 2011

Ugly rebel baby

We've seen echidna babies on this blog before: from one that's younger and creepily hairless, to one that's old enough to have reached the ugdorable stage. But this one... even knowing that baby echidnas have the cute name of "puggle" isn't enough to make this anything but hideous.

Its ugly childhood is actually far from the most notable feature of the echidna: it's an egg-laying mammal. The egg hatchs after about two weeks and then the mother carries the puggle in her pouch for about two months. Then, says the Perth Zoo where this one was born, “Once the puggle’s spines started to emerge the mother deposited it in the nursery burrow.” Ouch.

Along with the platypus, echidnas belong to a group called monotremes that thinks it's too special to obey the rules that everyone else has to follow to join the mammal club. I suppose the echidna figures that as long as it doesn't have a duck's bill, it's still less of a radical than its closest relative.

Thanks to Zooborns for the tip.

-Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 4, 2011

Ugly holiday shopping

I've been researching a holiday shopping guide for my other blog and came across a couple of T-shirts that might be of interest to all of you lovers of less-lovable animals. The shirt above is available at TopatoCo. Maybe if we buy enough of them we can encourage them to have a whole line: personally I'm dreaming of "Saiga Antelope Are Cute Too."

I'm also particularly fond of this three-banded armadillo shirt by Kevin Sherry at Squidfire. Just so you know: that's NOT a tail:

(And hey, if you like his drawings, he illustrated the Animals Behaving Badly book, which I think is also an excellent holiday shopping choice. But you knew I'd say that.)

And if you want something other than a T-shirt, I feel confident that you're all exactly the sort of people who'd enjoy sticking worms in your ears to listen to music:

Available from the fine people at Archie McPhee.

-Happy shopping,
Wombat (No Relation)

Dec 1, 2011

The stuff of nightmares

You may be trying to comfort yourself that that is a child's hand and a baby carrot. It is not.

That's the largest specimen ever found of an insect called the weta, and has been declared the largest insect in the world in terms of weight. It has a wingspan of 7 inches and weighs 71g, which I am not going to translate into a weight system that I understand because I am afraid of the answer.

You can read more about it here, if you dare. You can also read more about Mark Moffett, who discovered it, here. The news coverage refers to him oddly as a "nature-lover" and "former park ranger," but he's actually a rather famous naturalist, explorer, and photographer.

-Wombat (No Relation)