The last 26 animals in one shot, but this time, the bits I left out!
Another weird tale of Inuit wolf legend Amarok.
We’ve all been there. Your cousin was murdered by bears, and in your grief and boredom, you kill an amarok. But beware. A seemingly awesome guest will appear for dinner, and when served boiled amarok, they’ll reveal themselves as one half of a human cut in two, or an “igdlokok”. At least it leaves you baffled rather than scared. (Or amused, if like me you have the mind of a 12 year-old.)
How now, “mountain cow“.
It turns out there’s a fifth version of the national animal of Belize snuffling about with its tap-like nose. Discovered by none other than Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, Tapirus kabomani sat patiently for 101 years before we realised it was a distinct, dinkier species. Just when I thought tapirs couldn’t get any cuter.
How could I mention the Cainarachi poison frog and not its poison?
If you’re unlucky enough to get its skin secretions in your mouth, eyes, or (somehow) up your nose, it could be lethal. The same goes for the other frogs in its family, Dendrobatidae.
Dickinsonia needs low and high tech treatment.
It’s not just one of the oldest known animals. Dickinsonia is also the oldest one that can be seen without a microscope. On the other hand, it had to be dug out of the Russian cliffs via helicopter.
The eastern hognosed skunk can handle a trunk.
You’d think the big claws and hideous stench-spray would protect it, but this striped critter has been seen escaping up to 5 metres (16 feet) up trees.
The fiery-billed araçari is put out by the cold.
This jungle chatterbox is so fond of the heat that it can catch hypothermia at less than 15°C (60°F), especially when wet.
A shout out to the male garden spider.
Take heart, boys. Her size won’t affect your chance at romance, and your age won’t necessarily get you eaten. Best bulk up to be safe, though. It’s rude to stiff your date on the bill, even when you’re the main course.
Hector’s dolphin is a detector needing a protector.
A group is called a fission-fusion, and traditionally the Maori used them as a weather forecast. We just hunted them as bait, so we probably deserve to have stuff rain down on us.
(Possibly finned) dino Irritator was just like a flower.
Really! It had a bulbous rosette. In its mouth. Of teeth, which it could re-grow. And if you ever came across one, there’d suddenly be fertiliser everywhere.
The jackdaw can tempt a cat to the (even) dark(er) side, apparently…
In the 1897 Victorian light show Pussy’s Road to Ruin, a sinister tom-cat uses the delicious taste of jackdaw to lure a she-cat from dutiful mousing to killing pet birds and stealing. I bet the jackdaw was as annoyed as the people who found this page by accident.
Just in case you considered that Kodiak bear holiday…
…they have hearing as keen as a dog’s, and a sense of smell 4 times better than a bloodhound’s. So wearing a disguise won’t get you in.
The lazy beekeeper would love a leaf-cutter bee.
Only if you don’t want any honey, of course, but they rarely sting, and as long as you have the right plants like rose and peas, they’ll happily stick around in a “bee hotel” of drilled holes or tubes. Just make sure it faces east and isn’t left outside in winter!
The moonrat isn’t impressed by the exchange rate.
Sir Stamford Raffles, who discovered the moonrat, also founded the port town of Singapore, but that’s not the part our hedgehog takes issue with: hunter-gatherer nomads the Penan used to trade its meat for currency.
The Nilgiri tahr is a dirty, dirty goat.
The female is raring to go just two weeks after popping out a kid, and the male Nilgiri tahr covers himself in “cologne” for intimidation. Well not cologne, but something that rhymes with “tea”.
Even Onmoraki’s name spells trouble.
In Japanese, the “On” part evokes the shadowy demon world, “mora” is after the Buddhist demon “Mara”, who himself is a reference to half-hearted funeral services, and “ki” on the end is yet another reminder that we’re dealing with a demon. Just in case the shrieking bird with the glowing eyes wasn’t enough.
For Patagotitan, slow and steady wins the race.
The largest land animal of all time was so long it would have taken a full second for a signal at the end of its tail to reach its head. It’s beaten in mass by the blue whale, but it still weighed 70 tons and had splayed legs to keep its bulk in check. That’s what you’d need without all that water support, blue boy.
The Quebracho crested tinamou is still upside down.
Well, from a mammal-centric point of view anyway – it’s the teenagers who have the longer crests, and unlike legions of other bird species, the ladies have the brighter patterns.
The ribbon seal doesn’t need to see-all.
Rubbish eyesight might be why it doesn’t flinch at humans approaching, but underwater, the ribbon seal can hear a wide range of frequencies, and might even use an echo-location knock-off to detect its prey.
I wasn’t joking about Simbakubwa’s dynasty.
Believe it or not, the hyaenodonts were the first carnivorous mammals in Africa. Ever.
The tuatara travels like a boss.
When the tuatara was loaned to the first zoo outside New Zealand, Air New Zealand waived the usual “no animals on board” rule, and a breeding pair was presented on arrival by a fully costumed Te Ati Aawa chieftain. That would spoil you for all other holidays, wouldn’t it?
Something the umbrella conger‘s discoverer didn’t know.
“Where the hell are its nostrils?” – Gilbert P. Whitley, 1946*
*Not a direct quote
As if we needed any more proof the vicuña is a badass…
…it apparently finds the combination of blind fold and scissors the least terrifying way of having its wool sheared. And I’m talking about the wild ones.
There’s another chilling theory why the woolly rhinoceros died out.
It’s more creepy than chilling, but one suggestion, based on some cervical neck ribs, is that they died out due to genetic abnormalities from inbreeding. Perhaps they got too hairy to distinguish one another.
The Xingu river ray has a double-pronged attack if needed.
Xingu is also covered in mucus similar to that used in its venomous stinger. So as well as helping sand stick to it, it’s a backup weapon if something comes a-chomping or a-stomping.
The yellow mantella can vary more than its colours.
This little poison frog sometimes has diamond or horseshoe markings in its pattern, and clambers about during the day so everyone can see it. That’s probably not as lucky, though.
The music scene sounds (mostly) the same for the Zapata sparrow.
Its three populations live in different environments, but their courtship songs sound mostly similar. Why? Maybe because their duets are insanely complex, so why ruin a classic?