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.