With a new year just beginning and prophecies of doom in the air, geneticists have decided –
“What the heck, let’s make some monsters. After all, it’s twenty twelve and the people will be disappointed if nothing crazy happens. Sure, the world could end, but if it doesn’t, we’ll have a literal Jackass to keep you up at night.”
Unfortunately that wily lass, Mother Nature has beat us to it, having been turning out Haronkeys for ages.
Meet the Patagonian Mara or Cavie.
Elusive in the wild and monogamous – (They mate for life.) this eleven pound critter is a taxonomist confuser. It is all rodent – the world’s fourth largest, and grows up in herds tended by only a few adults.
If danger threatens on their watch they stuff the kids down a hole and run. Which seems like a good idea until someone calls child protective services. Mara’s raised in captivity are said be social with humans, and are occasionally kept as pets. Which would explain all the stories of small children having to be fished out of wells.
Too cute for ya?
Meet the Gastropede – (Gastropod + Centipede) Centislug or more officially, the velvet worm.
This one is truly mind blowing. It lives in tropical regions in the southern hemisphere and looks like a cross between two of the earth’s more disgusting creepy crawlies. However it still manages to be ever-so-slightly cute.
It’s behavior is something us mammals will find familiar – females bear live young who then stick around in tight-knit and isolated family groups.
Clans fight fiercely to defend the rotting logs they live in from murderous outsiders, and when prey is spotted all participate in the hunt – lassoing dinner with spectacular slime cannons mounted on their heads.
Size does matter. Females are the biggest and the alpha eats first. She reminds her underlings of who is boss by climbing on top of them. Kids often ride the adults but no one cares. After all, they are just kids. When two meet they seem to compare their respective sizes before choosing a course of action. This is all made possible by one of the most complex brains a small invertebrate can be blessed with.
Lets us try something a little more insane.
Crossing an elephant and a baboon spider yields something that is horrifying but still disappointingly small. It may not be able to devour whole villages but most will agree it is plenty big enough.
The – arachniderm. (Arachnid + Pachyderm) is another invention nature has beaten us to.
Rather then joining two very distant relatives in unholy matrimony, she has merely taken the common hermit crab, and super-sized it.
The Coconut crab is native to the Philippines, and as the name implies it enjoys eating coconuts, climbing trees and cutting down fruit with it’s powerful claws.
Little is known of the life and habits of this otherworldly, and by some accounts tasty, arthropod, but rumor has it they sneak into peoples houses at night and – steal their pots and pans.
Weather these giant hermits are merely in search of a portable home in a world that lacks giant seashells, or simply protecting themselves by hampering our ability to cook them is uncertain. Either way, Lovecraft needs to tell these arcane horrors that they are doing it wrong.
Not crazy enough?
Why not combine the world cutest endangered poster child with a germ. After all, panda’s are endangered, germs are here to stay weather we like them or not. If one must acquire a deadly disease wouldn’t it be a comfort to know that the critters crawling about in your veins look adorable under a microscope? Guess what, such a critter already exists. Gee, thanks nature.
Fortunately the Ameba Panda – affectionately named, Amanda, feeds solely on moss and algae and is in no way harmful to humans. This is especially fortunate because it lives on every single inch of the earth’s surface – and apparently – can’t be killed.
Meet the water bear, moss piglet or specifically – the Tardigrade. Capable of withstanding 1,000 times the radiation needed to kill just about everything else, and able to survive in the vacuum of outer space. One wonders if that isn’t where it came from.
Images and info courtasy of who else? -Wikipedia. Thanks for the free stuff. Someone send them money because I’m broke.