Animal Planet is filled with countdowns for the New Year. I found one that I thought would be particularly interesting called Top 10 Animal Oddities. I hope you enjoy it!

10. Albino Alligator – The common urban legend about these creatures living in the sewer system of Manhattan is just that, there are no facts to back it up. Albinism is a condition caused by a lack of pigmentation in the skin and hair, giving a person or animal a whitish appearance. Alligators rely on camouflage to survive and when born with Albinism it decreases their chance for survival. Do not fear! Most Albino Alligators are collected when found and put in zoos, aquariums or farms that have facilities to care for them!

9. Two-Faced Kittens – This deformity is actually more common than you would think. Cats born with two faces happens occasionally in this wacky world. This double-faced kitten was born in Ohio in August 2008 had two noses, two sets of eyes and two mouths, which mewed in unison. Yes, you read that right.

8. Conjoined Nile Tilapia Twins – The Nile tilapia is a freshwater fish native to Africa but sold for food in nearly all parts of the world. These lucky conjoined twins however, won’t be going to the market. They live in a Bangkok aquarium and have worked out a mutually beneficial arrangement. The larger fish acts as the muscle and protects the little one, while the little one scours the tank floor for food. What team work! If only the rest of us could learn from these two.

7. Unicorn? What? – This small roe deer found in Italy, has a single horn growing from its forehead. The nickname they gave it? Can’t you guess…. Unicorn. Scientists are still trying to figure out the how and why but some speculate that this creature truly is a “unicorn”. Animal planet thinks “Such anomalies may occur with some regularity in mammals, which might account for the persistence of the unicorn myth through the ages.” No fun!

6. Elbowed Squid – A Squid with elbows, now I’ve seen it all! What makes this so amazing is that the squid is squishy, no vertebrate! This makes it impossible for a bend like that to happen in its ‘arms’. A dive team working for an oil company in the Gulf of Mexico in 2007 was shocked when they caught a glimpse of this bent-limbed beast. There seems to be no explanation found and this one will continue to puzzle us.

5. The White Lion – White cats… yes. White Lion? Apparently they are beautiful creatures that have been revered in folklore for centuries. No, they’re not Albino. The coloring is a result of a genetic mutation that occurs. The result is normal pigment of the eyes, paws, but lack of pigment in the hair. This is called leucistic and the condition can vary greatly enough to give some a blondish look, rather than all white. Again, this is an animal that has less of a chance in the wild since the coloration gives them the underhand as a predator.

4. Two Headed Turtle – This adorable little anomaly is more common in reptiles. The term for being born with two heads is called Polycephaly. In some cases, turtles are found with two heads side-by-side. In others, turtles may have two heads protruding from opposite ends of the body, a difficult situation to be sure. These creatures are sought out as fantastic pets and usually cost a hefty penny. This is great for them since the survival rate of one in the wild, doesn’t have great odds.

3. Yoda, the Four-Eared Feline – My personal favorite. Not only is he named after one of my favorite Star Wars characters but this cat has a wonderful adoption story. Yoda had been living in a bar near Chicago when he was adopted by a couple who had stopped in for a drink. They took him home, made him part of the family and then posted his picture on the Internet. Since then, this four-eared feline has enjoyed international notoriety. This cat definitely used the force to bring a loving couple into his life!

2. Giant Bunny – I’ve actually posted this before, awhile back. Bred in captivity, rabbits can grow to be more than 3 feet long and weigh more than 30 pounds. Giant rabbits do not occur in the wild, but they have been known to escape captivity and breed with local wild rabbit populations. Many want one as a pet but local farmers despise them since just one of these rabbits could wipe out their crops in a blink of an eye!

1. Henry the Hexapus – This six armed octopus is aptly called for its lack of two arms! “Henry the Hexapus,” as he is known to the staff of Blackpool Sea Life Center in England, was found in a lobster trap and taken to the center to be given a permanent home.

Election day tomorrow. Here’s a little something for all you Animal Lover Voters out there.

Animal Planet has come out with a new show called “Dogs 101”, and on the website they have a game called “Guess the Breed”. I thought I would share it with you since I found it pretty entertaining.

I thought this video was just gorgeous. I love being awed by the strange and beautiful ocean creatures.

It’s the time for candy and dress up. My favorite Holiday… Halloween. Thinking of pet costumes? Check out PETCO for some great costumes. Here are some great photos of animals all decked out for the Holiday. Make sure you vote in the poll about animal dress-up. Thanks!

The extinction of animals is a very real but tragic topic. I have often researched many species that will never be seen again. I find myself getting emotional over the fatality of so many different species. One species in particular fascinates me, The Dodo. Not just because the name is quirky and seems to fit the bird perfectly, but because of the history behind the Dodo. The Dodo is a lesson in extinction. It was sighted on Mauritius around the 1600 on an island in the Indian Ocean. About sixty years later, it became extinct.

When most people think of a Dodo, they remember the Dodo depicted in the children’s story “Alice in Wonderland”. Much of the fascination with Dodo’s comes from this tale. Unfortunately, the tale is what it is… a story. The facts of a Dodo are very few and scientists are still trying to figure out the birds existence and how it ticked.

The Dodo is bigger than a turkey, approximately weighing 23 kilograms. They would wade in ponds to catch fish for food. They inhabited the forests on the island where they would lay one large egg on a mass of grass. Scientists have deduced from studying the DNA that the Dodo is a descendant of the pigeon. The written reports and illustration of sailors and ship’s naturalists, as well as the information gathered by scientists are all that we have to see a glimpse into the Dodo’s life on Earth.

Unfortunately, there are no complete Dodo specimens. Many theories as to why this is have arisen. Some say the birds may have been eaten by Dutch sailors who discovered them. Others believe the primary cause of their demise was from the destruction of the forest, which cut off their food supply. The animals the sailors brought with them also destroyed the Dodo nests.

From the history and remains collected we can tell the bird was a flightless one. The Dodo’s wings are stubby and heavy, and it’s body ungainly. The small breastbone is too small to support the pectoral muscles a bird this size would need to fly. Scientists believe that the Dodo evolved from a bird capable of flight to a flightless one. Once the Dodo landed on Mauritius, it found a habitat with plenty of food and no predators giving the bird no need to fly. It was more efficient, energy wise, for the bird to remain on the ground. This is how the flightless Dodo evolved.

What remains of the Dodo? Only odd skeleton and other body parts, such as head and feet, scattered around the world in museums. Scientists have discovered the evolution of the Dodo by using fragments of DNA that have been extracted from the bones. The search for information still continues to this day but much of the Dodo’s existence is still a mystery.

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