Zebra

Zebra

When I began this internet web blog four years and 199 animals ago, I started with the aardvark. I did so because the aardvark is the first animal alphabetically, and I had to start somewhere. [Ed. Note: You did not have to start. We all wish you hadn’t.] Today, with my 200th animal rating, to celebrate the site’s fourth anniversary, I am featuring the other side of the coin dictionary: the zebra.[1]

There’s a critical question that comes with the territory when discussing the zebra. Namely, how do I tell it from the horse? Well boy have I got a lifehack for you. Just check for protruberances on the back of its hind legs called chestnuts! The horse has them on all four limbs, but the zebra only has the front two.[2]

Also, it has stripes.

Also, it has stripes.

Special powers

In a herd, the zebra’s stripes can create a disorienting effect that makes it hard to zero in on any one zebra. This is why the zebra is known as “the sniper’s foil.”

Furthermore, the zebra is capable of breeding with similar species, leading to the creation of the zorse, zony or zedonk (known collectively as zebroids).

Nice leggings, kid!

Nice leggings, kid!

Weaknesses

It can’t change its stripes.

Number of legs

Four.

Favorite video game

PaRappa The Rapper.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear will have to catch it first.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

“Zedonk” is one of the greatest words, and we owe its existence to the zebra. Beyond that, it’s just a rock-solid animal. It doesn’t have the incredible career of the horse, but it looks considerably cooler and won’t sell out its principles for an apple.

 

 

10/10

 

 

[1]To be clear, this is not my final animal rating. Fingers crossed that I don’t ride a rollercoaster that flies off the track and explodes before next week, despite what the prophecy predicts.

 

[2]I got this pro-tip from the Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals, in which “chestnuts” happens to land on a line-break and is essentially rendered as “chest-nuts,” which makes the word look a million times grosser.

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Slowbro

Slowbro

To make it up to you for last week being bereft of animal ratings, today we’re featuring a double shot of sorts: the Slowbro.

Two for the price of one.

Two for the price of one.

The Slowbro is a Pokémon,[1] which means it can be domesticated, trained to fight or carry humans across bodies of water, and fits in a small ball or a madman’s computer network. It is essentially a Slowpoke that is being bitten on the tail by what the Pokédex describes as a Shellder. This is the widely accepted explanation, despite the fact that that thing on its tail is clearly not a Shellder.

This is a Shellder. I don't need to be a Pokémon professor to see the difference.

This is a Shellder. I don’t need to be a Pokémon professor to see the difference.

Special powers

The Slowbro has access to water and psychic attacks, along with all their respective type advantages.

Perhaps more notably, it does not feel pain. That’s not just something some trainer tells you when he’s trying to brag; that’s a real fact.

Under special circumstances, it can transform itself into something called Mega-Slowbro.

Weaknesses

This is what Mega-Slowbro is:

Come on now. This is ridiculous. Even the Slowbro looks upset by this development.

Come on now. This is ridiculous. Even the Slowbro looks upset by this development.

Also: Bug, Ghost, Grass, Electric and Dark Types.

Number of legs

Two.

Insightful Bulbapedia Quote

“Slowbro is a combination of slow and bro (short for brother).”

What if it fought a bear?

Given that the bear is a Normal-type, neither animal would have an advantage.

Is it noble?

The Slowbro, yes. That thing called a Shellder? No.

Final rating

The Slowbro is an amiable sort with an apt name. That mystery creature with intentions to devour it alive is some kind of demonic parasite attempting to pass for a real animal – and insulting us with the transparency of its deception.

 

 

Slowbro: 7/10

“Shellder”: 1.5/10

 

 

 

[1]You may remember hearing about Pokémon on an episode of ABC’s Norm.

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Man o’ war

Man o’ war

When an animal also goes by the floating terror, there are going to be a lot of expectations on it. Will the man o’ war live up to either of its dramatic names? You be the judge.

Well, actually, I will be the judge but please feel free to write your own score down at home and show it to no one.

Well, actually, I will be the judge but please feel free to write your own score down at home and show it to no one.

Special powers

The man o’ war is equipped with a venomous sting.

Weaknesses

It has an extremely limited capacity to move itself. It floats on the ocean surface, subject to the whims of the winds and waves. It can manipulate gases inside itself to sink a little and use a “sail” on its body to give itself some direction. That is better than a stupid plant, but pretty pathetic for an animal.

Number of legs

Not applicable.

Nemeses

The man o’ war particularly despises the blanket octopus for its immunity to its venom, the loggerhead turtle for having skin too thick to sting (and for eating the man o’ war on the regular), and Meghan Trainor for canceling her planned concert in international waters in the mid-Atlantic. To a lesser (but still substantial) degree, it also hates everyone who has ever lived.

What is its secret?

The man o’ war’s deep secret is that it is not actually a single organism, but instead a colony of specialized “zooids” which cannot truly function individually.

What if it fought a bear?

That bear’s getting stung. Unless the wind gently blows the man o’ war somewhere else.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

It planned on trying to sting Meghan Trainor; I just know it. Fortunately for her and all us would-be victims, its aggression is balanced by its inability to move sizable distances with purpose. It is by far the animal most like if a piece of day-glo driftwood was holding a poison-tipped shiv and seethed with hatred at all life.

 

3/10

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Treehopper

Treehopper

Have you ever known a hat guy? The treehopper is the hat guy of the animal kingdom. Its usual “go-to” headgear is an unobtrusive green number. If you didn’t notice it was attached to its head you might think the treehopper was just a humpy little bug instead of a tremendously odd little bug.

Relatively reasonable.

Relatively reasonable.

Not all its hats are so subtle.

RImage  FRENCH GUYANA - SEPTEMBER 2005: Bocydium globulare, fullface. The sensory hairs or sensillae around the little balls may act as a warning for the insect by capturing air vibrations when any predators approach. (Photo by Patrick Landmann/Exclusive by Getty Images)

This is just too much.

Special powers

Some of these crazy hats have certain advantages. The hairy globes above serve as a disincentive for anyone considering eating the treehopper. Its antler hat gained it access to the hottest deer club in town.

“I don't see your name on the li-... Oh I'm sorry, sir. Welcome to Salt Lick.”

“I don’t see your name on the li-… Oh I’m sorry, sir. Welcome to Salt Lick.”

Weaknesses

It calls socks “foot hats.”

The treehopper’s more elaborate hats have drawbacks in terms of mobility.

The wings just seem overly optimistic here.

The wings just seem overly optimistic here.

Number of legs

Six.

Is it secretly balding?

I don’t know for sure, but it has to be, right?

Choice Wikipedia Quote

“Distinguishing males from females is accomplished only by looking at the genitalia.”

What if it fought a bear?

It would lose.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

It’s not intrinsically wrong to be a hat guy. But there’s limits, and the treehopper does not recognize them. It will go full Duchess-of-Chiquita-at-the-Kentucky-Derby, regardless of whether the venue is appropriate for it.

Dial it back, treehopper.

Like, a lot.

Like, way back.

 

2/10

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Manakin

Manakin

For a dark, nearly two-month period this year, Jaden Smith did not tweet. People wondered: why? Where would he put his thoughts? The answer is he rented a small space on this blog. Unfortunately, due to publishing lead times, our lengthy vetting process, and weather patterns, only now – after his triumphant return to Twitter – are we revealing this collection of things Jaden would otherwise have tweeted in the time he was gone from our social media lives.

Of course, he did not rent the entirety of this web space. There is still animal-rating business to attend to – specifically, the rating of the manakin.

It has a fun new haircut, courtesy of the folks behind the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game series.

It has a fun new haircut, courtesy of the folks behind the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game series.

Special powers

There are numerous varieties of manakin, each with their own special power. Some can make a pronounced sound with their wings like a grasshopper rubbing its legs together or a violinist rubbing his/her legs on a violin. The helmeted manakin can do incredible skateboard stunts. The jet manakin is extremely fast. The fiery-capped manakin is immune to lava. The white-collared manakin has connections in the federal government. The tiny tyrant-manakin can levy taxes and execute prisoners.

All can fly.

Weaknesses

Like a troll, the manakin can be defeated by solving its riddle. Its current riddle is “Without looking it up, name the full title of the second Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes.” It is basically unstoppable.

Number of legs

Two, not counting the wings.

Jaden’s Wisdom Corner

  • Forrest Gump Has All The History I Need To Know

  • Moses Was Put In A Basket On The River. Do The Same With Your Fear.

  • Maybe What I Call Purple You See As Sour Cream

  • Due To The Empty Space Between Electrons. We Are Nothing Just As Much As We Are Something. I Will Be Doing A DJ Set In Miami Tonight.

  • The Realest Adventures Of Jonny Quest Were In QuestWorld.

  • If It’s A Touch Down Why Does The Score Go Up

  • “You Look Nice Today,” Mateo Said. “Sight Is A Lie We Tell Ourselves In Real Time,” I Replied.

  • All The History I Need To Know Is In A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

  • Never Let Anyone Tell You You’re Not Tall Enough To Ride. Your Mind Isn’t Short.

  • The World Would Be Better If Instead Of Making Dogs Mayors We Made Mayors Dogs

  • In This Universe We Process Time Linearly Forward. But Outside Of Our Space-Time, From What Would Be A Fourth-Dimensional Perspective, Time Wouldn’t Exist. And From That Vantage, Could We Attain It? We See Our Space-Time Would Look Flattened. Like A Single Sculpture Of Matter And Super-Position Of Every Place It Ever Occupied. Our Sentience Is Just Cycling Through Our Lives Like Carts On A Track. Everything Outside Our Dimension: That’s Eternity. Eternity Looking Down On Us. To Us, It’s A Sphere, But To Them It’s A Circle.

  • Mateo Says Somebody Already Said The Stuff I Talked About In My Last Message

  • After Earth Is The Greatest Movie I’ve Ever Seen

  • If We Just Stop Teaching Shapes In School, No One Could Build Another Prison

  • The Moon Is Impossible

What if it fought a bear?

The bear skipped both RDJ Sherlock Holmes movies because it “doesn’t like foreign films.” It is doomed.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Even the tiny tyrant-manakin?

No. Not that one.

Final rating

There’s a little something for everyone with the manakin. And it looks dynamite, manga hair or no.

It just realized it left the oven on.

It just realized it left the oven on.

 

 

 

8.5/10

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Red-handed tamarin

Red-handed tamarin

Because the red-handed tamarin has gold hands, it is also known as the golden-handed tamarin.

You can see why.

You can see why.

Because of its ability to turn everything it touches into gold, it is also known as the Midas tamarin.

Special powers

The red-handed tamarin turns everything it touches into gold. It is the richest, loneliest monkey.

It is an extremely nimble climber, strong jumper and wise counselor.

The locust pictured above got very good advice in the moment before it died a golden death.

The locust pictured above got very good advice in the moment before it died a golden death.

Weaknesses

It turns everything it touches into gold. You can’t eat gold. And neither can the red-handed tamarin. An unpaid intern feeds it smoothies every day to a) keep the red-handed tamarin alive and b) have more experience on her résumé. Some critics say the red-handed tamarin should just eat things with gold silverware[1], but the red-handed tamarin has blocked them all on Twitter.

Number of legs

Four.

Celebrity birthdays

The red-handed tamarin shares a birthday with…

  • Ian Craig Marsh, who convinced his bandmates in The Human League not to name themselves The Definitely Not Sentient Plants Bunch.

  • Emily Cranston, developer of the Rally’s “You Gotta Eat” campaign, which was the second draft of her original slogan pitch “It’s Better Than Starving!”

  • Spuds MacKenzie, the original party animal.

Potent quotables

“Major League is a slam dunk!” – the tamarin’s review of the 1989 film Major League

What if it fought a bear?

One touch and the red-handed tamarin has a new bear statue.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Don’t touch the red-handed tamarin.

 

 

2.5/10

 

 

[1]Goldware.

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Chameleon

Chameleon

Have you ever seen the chameleon? How many times? What if I told you the real number was four times that, and you didn’t even know it? That would be crazy. It’s actually only twice what you guessed.

Special powers

Its toes and tail are perfect for clinging to branches. Its eyes swivel independently of one another. It has a long sticky tongue – longer than its body, in fact.

But I’m burying the lead. The chameleon changes color. It does so for camouflage, in reaction to temperature, or as an expression of mood. For example, when the chameleon is angry, it turns black. I’m sorry. It’s not politically correct; it’s just what it does. Blame the chameleon.

In an effort to attract females, the male will take on multi-colored patterns. Mostly plaids and ginghams. The chameleon pictured is on acid.

In an effort to attract females, the male will take on multi-colored patterns. Mostly plaids and ginghams. The chameleon pictured is on acid.

Weaknesses

The chameleon is very slow and deliberate when moving. Do not do a three-legged race with the chameleon. Do not even play a board game with it. It takes a long time to take a Chutes and Ladders turn. Chutes and Ladders! There’s not even decisions to make in that game!

Number of legs

Four.

Do I own a Beanie Baby of it?

Yes.

What if it fought a bear?

It did, and it shot the bear with a gun.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The chameleon is a sneaky trickster. You can try to keep your eye on it, but it moves so slow, it’s hard not to get bored into ignoring it. But you gotta admit, those special powers are really cool. And it’s got a distinctive look for an animal known for going invisible. Trust me; I have the Beanie Baby.

 

 

8.5/10

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Peccary

Peccary

Did you know Josh T. from elementary school isn’t the only one to sometimes go by “skunk pig?” So does the peccary!

sooo good for its skin

Dirt is its favorite.

Unlike Josh T., the peccary works in the music industry. Currently, it is waist-deep in sorting through Billy Joel’s submitted lyrics for a sequel song to We Didn’t Start the Fire, which seem especially tonally inappropriate and possibly present some copyright implications.[1]

Special powers

The peccary’s stomach has three chambers, a mere thirty-three short of ideal.

It’s real good at identifying any monument on sight. Washington? Boom. Identified. Arc de Triomphe? Knew it in a heartbeat. Atomic Bomb Dome? You can’t trick the peccary with that one.

Weaknesses

Unlike the pig, the peccary only has three toes per hind foot.

It has ordered and ate the new hot dog bites pizza from Pizza Hut twice already.

Number of legs

Four.

Potent quotables

“People like to say nothing rhymes with purple but what about nurple?”

 – the peccary

Sample lyrics from We Still Didn’t Start That Fire From Before

James Cameron’s Avatar! Obama’s healthcare law!

Guitar Hero! Pikachu! Hurricane in the bayou!

Teletubbies might be gay! They can get married anyway!

Dubstep! Kangaskhan! FOX airs and cancels The Swan!

Peter Pan Live on NBC! Seriously!

Man’ti Te’o’s girlfriend! One Direction meets their end!

The Blacklist! I Can’t Breathe! Entourage on silver screens!

Edward Snowden! WikiLeaks! Robin Thicke! Eyebrows on fleek!

Ghost Protocol! Magnemite! Meowth! Drone strikes!

Politoed! Benghazi! Ash says goodbye to Butterfree!

Zubat! Zubat! Zubat Zubat Zubat!

What’s its astrological sign?

Tumor.

What if it fought a bear?

It would lose, but it would squirm and squeal in a way that really drags the whole thing out.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The pig got a 9. The skunk got a 2. I give the “skunk pig” a…

 

5/10

 

 

 

[1]It’s a task the blue whale delegated to it.

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Mudskipper

Mudskipper

The mudskipper rejects your preconceived notions. It won’t fit in your neat little boxes. Fish live in the water, you say? Screw your labels; I won’t do what you tell me, says the mudskipper. The mudskipper is straight up amphibious.

A creature of both water and earth. Ponder the duality of mudskipper. (Photo by K. Leonard)

A creature of both water and earth. Ponder the duality of mudskipper. (Photo by K. Leonard)

Special powers

Seriously, the mudskipper is a fish that can get up on land and walk around on its pectoral fins and breathe. It stores water in its gill chambers, trusty waterskin, and an adorably small flask so as to be both hydrated and aerated for its jaunts to the surface.

It puts the principles of good home decoration into practice in its burrow designs.

The mudskipper’s eyes give it an incredible field of vision – nearly 360 degrees. Don’t even try to do the thing where you tap it on the wrong shoulder. It sees what you’re up to. It’s seen all your tricks…

Weaknesses

…It’s seen perhaps too much.

The mudskipper made a Neopolitan pizza with non-standard mozzarella and was convicted of pizza fraud.

It is extremely bad at singing karaoke and doesn’t know it.

“UNDAH PRESSURE!”

“DON’T GO BREAKIN’ MY HEART!”

Number of legs

None, technically. But two, kind of.

Celebrity birthdays

The mudskipper shares a birthday with…

  • O. Henry, the writer who revealed on his deathbed that the O in his name stands for “Original Twilight Zone.”[1]

  • Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, hero airline pilot who secretly hates birds with every fiber of his being. “Y’ see this?” he screams every time he takes off. “You’re not better than me, you flapping sky garbage!”

  • Emperor Norton, the United States’ only emperor.

What if it fought a bear?

The mudskipper would refuse to fight.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

I’ve forgiven the mudskipper for its cheese crime. I gotta take my hat off to it for breaking down boundaries for fish. It’s a true pioneer and it doesn’t care how silly it looks in the process. Skip on, mudskipper

 

 

9/10

 

 

 

 

[1]What a twist!

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Dementor wasp

Dementor wasp

I’ve said before that we here at Rate Every Animal don’t often cover current events. But sometimes there’s huge news in the animal world that can’t be ignored, and this week is one such time. A newly published report reveals 139 new species that have been discovered in the Greater Mekong region.

They include the color-changing thorny toad as well as new kinds of coral, bat, moth, and stick insect. Today, though, I’d like to talk to you about the dementor wasp.

May I have a moment of your time? (Photo: Michael Ohl/Museum für Naturkunde/WWF)

May I have a moment of your time? (Photo: Michael Ohl/Museum für Naturkunde/WWF)

The dementor wasp is named after a Harry Potter thing. I was more of an X-wing novel kid and I only ever saw the one movie where they go camping and a little bit of the one where one of the Harry Potters finds the Ryder Cup in the hedge maze from The Shining, so I don’t know much about that.

possible dementor (UNCONFIRMED)

Is it this one? Is this it?

Special powers

The dementor wasp’s favorite thing to do is sap other insects of free will, using its venom to make its prey into a “passive zombie.” That’s not my exaggeration; that’s in the words of the World Wildlife Fund.

Weaknesses

As a brand-new animal, there are still some glitches in the user interface, but most can be solved by a quick manual restart until the patch comes out.

Number of legs

Six.

Romantic ties

I heard the dementor wasp likes Karen as more than a friend.

What if it fought a bear?

We’ve only just discovered the dementor wasp. We don’t know how vulnerable the bear would be to its zombifying venom, but the last thing we need is a soulless undead bear. We must ensure they never meet.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The dementor wasp is a figurative monster. And its name is super-nerdy.[1] But it is fearsome and looks pretty cool. And hey, it’s still in beta, so we can assume its rating will only increase with time and refinement.

 

 

7/10

 

 

 

 

[1]If you disagree, why don’t you name your next child “Dementor?” …That’s what I thought.

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