These are some of my favorite animals. After I started collecting them, I realized there's a relationship between all the animals I love best. It's that they're all a little bit off. Just like all my favorite people. This little guy to the right is a fennec fox. I bet all the other animals make fun of him for those ears. Poor guy. And I bet he can hear them talking about him behind his back, since he can hear bugs crawling beneath several centimeters of sand and can distinguish between very subtle difference in his friends' vocalizations.
Over here on the left we have the California moray eel. That's a face only a mother could love. These things are so ugly, the only roommates they can find are the red rock shrimp, bottom-dwellers who clean up after the eels in exchange for the food they bring back in. The eels have huge nasty teeth, too. Bleh.
Below we have one of the most fascinating creatures in existence: the fossa! It's pronounced "foosa." This thing climbs trees and eats primarily lemurs. You have to find a nature documentary on Madagascar so you can see how these guys climb. They're so graceful. They wouldn't make it onto my animal outcast list, except that they are endangered and are relegated to living on one small island. I will own one some day.
Now over here we have that inbred, white trash salamander known as the hellbender. These things don't have gills; they just breathe through folds in their skin. They never complete metamorphosis, and their lungs are only used for bouyancy control. They live in the deep south, and their wives are larger than they are.
If crazy old Asian men were marsupials, they'd be koalas. Koalas might look cute to you, but I can tell that they're secretly grouchy. No matter when you see them, you can tell you just woke them up. They have bedhead, sour expressions, and sore throats. At least, I am guessing their throats are sore because of all the eucalyptus they're always chewing on. I bet they want us to go away and stop looking at them right now, so we're going to.
Most fat people I know just avoid the beach. The poor manatee, though has no choice. She must live there all year round, and naked, to boot! They are sometimes called sea cows, but I think they are sea dog-poops. All that extra fat helps to keep them warm, I guess, and it helps them to float. Plus, there's just more of them to love, huh?
Nobody knows what nature had eaten the day it barfed out the pangolin (left). Also known as the scaly anteater, it's the only mammal with scales. Its only hair is its eyelashes. A sad fact about the life of the pangolin: only once has a pangolin been discovered by humans with another pangolin. The two were in an underground burrow with a baby pangolin. Otherwise, this pathetic creature walks all alone at night, presumably so that the animals that aren't freaks can't see it. It eats nasty insects and climbs trees with its powerful tail, or digs using those sharp claws. You can find it in Africa or Asia.
I have a huge soft spot in my heart for this li'l feller. He's called the pink fairy armadillo. Yeah, that's right, it's an armadillo. He hails from Argentina, so everybody give him a warm "iHola!" So as though it weren't bad enough to be pink, fuzzy, and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, they had to call him a fairy, too. The saddest thing about this creature's existence, though, is the fact that scientists haven't been able to find any impact this thing has on its ecological system. If all the fairy armadillos dropped off the face of the earth, nobody would ever notice. Sorry, fairyboy. You matter to me. Almost.
Speaking of fairies, did you know that the male sea horse has the babies? Poor guy is totally whipped. His wife probably goes to work or hangs around in sand bars all day while the guy stays home and changes diapers, tries to keep the sea stable clean, and have 36,000 live baby shrimp ready for the seamare to eat by the time she gets home. They have to eat that much live shrimp every day! If they eat dead food they die. They swim too slowly to catch anything, so instead they use their little snouts as vacuums to suck up the food, with pretty good accuracy up to one inch. The horsey you see to the left there is a lined sea horse. See how forlorn he looks? That's because evolution somehow screwed him up and his body is not very hydrodynamic at all. Plus he knows that beastly wife of his is coming home soon, and he's just been sitting on the couch watching Orka all day.
The sea horse is not a real horse.
You know that one crazy cousin or uncle who never gets invited to family reunions? Meet the secretary bird. This is actually a bird of prey, though his closest relatives, such as the eagle, the osprey, and the peregrine falcon, would love to keep that a secret from you. And who wouldn't? He's got a drab grey coat, acne-esque skin, capris, a stupid hairdo, and worst of all, those ridiculous gangly legs. It's no wonder he's stuck with the job of secretary to the other, cooler birds. I bet the other birds call him "secretary nerd." He even wears a pocket protector. Or at least I'm sure he would if he wore pockets. And one time the kite locked him in his own locker and he was in there for two periods before they found him. He didn't mind, though, because he missed gym class. He eats snakes and rodents, and is so lazy he prefers to walk everywhere, even though he can totally fly.
The black swan has it pretty rough. When swans migrate, the black swan has to give up his spot for a white swan and fly in the back of the V. Haha, no, just kidding. Swans don't form V's, but I thought that would be funny to say that. The black swan does have a lot of parallels with the black inner-city youth, though. He communicates by visual signs, for one, and sticks together with other black swans throughout the adolescent years until a mate is selected. He is also bigger than other swans and is really good at basketball. Holy cow, I'm going to get into so much trouble for this one. On to the next animal, before some swans do a drive-by on my house.
You probably didn't know this animal exists, but I have wanted one for years. It's a kangaroo. But not the red or grey kangaroos you're probably more familiar with. This is a tree kangaroo. Isn't it other-worldly? If I owned him, I would name him Fuzzbucket. He's especially good at jumping back and forth between the trees in the upper levels of the rainforests of Australia and the surrounding islands. My theory is that the other, bigger kangaroos chased him out of the wide open outback and he had to go hide from them in the tops of the trees. And he will be mine some day. Oh, yes. He will be mine.
Ok, I leave you with two pictures of the animal I want most of all. He's called the kinkajou, and if anyone has a few thousand dollars he's dying to spend on my birthday, he can glean some inspiration from these photos. Kinkajous are nocturnal in the wild, but diurnal as pets. They can live up to 24 years in captivity, so you can count this as all my birthday presents until I'm 48. And they just eat fruit, so it's really easy to shop for them. Please please please somebody get me one. If this doesn't work, I'm writing Santa.
Well, folks, That's the end of Wild Smurf's animal tour for today. Maybe in the future he'll team up with grouchy and tell you about his least favorite animals. For now, I'm going to be over there in the corner dealing with the fact that I've just realized that I want to be a TV host for a children's educational animal program instead of anything realistic.