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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Blister beetle

Blister beetle

Only one animal was used in the creation of the world’s first stink bomb, and it wasn’t the skunk despite what it claims. It was the blister beetle, a.k.a. Spanish fly, a.k.a. Boss.[1]

Special powers

The blister beetle secretes cantharidin, a poison that causes blisters.

Weaknesses

It secretes cantharidin because it has no conscience and doesn’t care who it hurts.

Number of legs

Six.

Nemeses

The blister beetle has no enemies any more than it has friends. We are all just objects to its mind.

sociopath

Sociopath.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear hates blisters. It won’t bother with this beetle.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The blister beetle may feel nothing for or against me, but I consider this sociopath my foe.

 

 

1/10

 

 

 

[1]It is called this by every single customer-facing male employee it meets. Even the judge at the blister beetle’s arraignment called it that.

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Fruit bat

Fruit bat

Not as spooky as most other bats, the fruit bat is the perfect entry point into the order Chiroptera for beginners.

Special powers

It has the usual bat powers: flight, hanging upside-down from stuff. The fruit bat also has a tongue so long that when it’s not in use, most of it has to be stored in a pocket dimension within the fruit bat’s innards.

nyaaaaa

The fruit bat is part krampus.

It’s smart enough to eat fruit instead of bugs, a decision I’m sure most of us would agree with.

Weaknesses

The fruit bat feels a burning need to compose and publish comments on pornographic internet videos.

Despite there being 160 species of fruit bat, it lives exclusively in the Old World.[1] First off, that’s the past, man, and second, it’s just never been to Disney World? Euro Disney doesn’t count.

The fruit bat has no tail. It also lacks the facial skin folds that aid in echolocation in other bats. Fortunately, fruit is easier prey than insects.[2]

Number of legs

Two, plus wings.

Aliases

The fruit bat is also known as the megabat and flying fox. One of these names is inaccurate and the other seems braggy.

Celebrity birthdays

The fruit bat shares a birthday with…

  • Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson. An earlier version of the line “I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral” was “I’m the kind of guy who cries at a child’s birthday party,” which itself was a replacement for the original line “I am like an opposites guy.”

  • The Premier League footballer known only as “¡Philip!

  • Kel Kimble, the man on whom the Nickelodeon character was based, as of 2000 tragically dead of a soda overdose.

What if it fought a bear?

Two animals or fruits enter. One animal or fruit leaves.

It doesn’t always win fights against fruit.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

“Megabat” may be braggy, but it’s not far off.

 

 

9/10

 

[1]There are bats that eat fruit in the New World, but they are from a different suborder. Don’t get it twisted.

[2]Hence the comparatively very low sales of fruit swatters.

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Blue jay

Blue jay

The crow family is not typically known for its good looks or outgoing nature, but today’s featured animal is something of a blue sheep in those regards. It’s the blue jay, and it’s both those things despite its familial ties.

Special powers

The blue jay has the gift of gab. The Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals uncharitably describes this by saying “The colorful but elusive jay is best known for its harsh, scraping call.”

It also has high-level television decision-making power. Along with its fellow executives, it has approved numerous new series to air in the 2015-16 season, as announced this week at “upfronts.”[1] These include…

Chicago Animal Control: From superstar producer Dick Wolf comes the latest tale of the men and women who keep the Windiest City safe. This team specializes in what can happen when our furry friends… become furry foes. From Wolf Films.

The Unit: Declassified: All your favorite heroes from the original run of The Unit are back in this special eventized limited edition foil-packaged series! Donald Palmsbert! Bill Ryan! Swan McTavish! Cara Burpentallh! Tex Negroni! Fott Scully! When a threat returns from their past infiltrates the highest levels of the government, only The Unit can be trusted to save the nation. From MiddKid Productions.

Pop Sensation: Contestants try desperately to win big prizes by popping balloons in several fast-paced party games, as hosted by Mr. T. From Millennium Squared Studios.

Thin-Skinned: Dr. Blake Berger (Adrian Pasdar) is one of the most talented dermatologists in the world. Ironically, the one skin the perpetually offended doctor can’t strengthen is his own. From Weebletone Signature.

Great Old One: This time, it’s Cthulhu who will start taking calls when the ancient water god comes up from the deep and helps Detective Joanna Thurston (Amber Stevens West) catch criminals. The mystery thickens when bodies start turning up related to a cult worshiping the Elder Things. From FlanderWest Studios.

Untitled Apparently Kid Project: A Pennsylvania child (Apparently Kid) strikes it rich at a carnival game and uses his newfound millionaire status to fund a documentary crew to follow his daily adventures. Apparently, it’s a wild ride! From Bruntwad Productions.

Oh Henry!: A sitcom about a man who just can’t stop overthinking things, and his friends who are at different points in their lives. Charles Shaughnessy, Larisa Oleynick and ALF star. From Cundleswick Studios.

Weaknesses

The blue jay experiences unironic emotion when hearing that Wiz Khalifa song from Furious 7.

It never uses crosswalks.

It has a neckbeard:

The sideburns are really something too.

The sideburns are really something too.

Number of legs

Two, plus wings.

Do I own a Beanie Baby of it?

Yes.

Unfortunate duties

Due to an ill-advised bet it made many years ago, the blue jay has to go every Friday to Hell to take sticks to the Devil. What does Satan do with sticks anyway?

Nothing good, we can presume.

Nothing good, we can presume.

What if it fought a bear?

It did try to fight a bear. The blue jay was so aggressive, the bear got freaked out and assumed against all evidence that the blue jay must know something about its fighting prowess that the bear didn’t, so it backed down. Score one for the blue jay.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

With the blue jay’s colors, it is probably my all-time number one favorite bird to look at. But those shows don’t look very good.

 

 

9.5/10

 

 

 

[1]This is a time when the networks are very “upfront” with everyone about how much they love Matthew Perry and Kyle Bornheimer.

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Barreleye

Barreleye

With most other animals, barrel-shaped eyes with an upward-facing default setting would be the weirdest thing about them. Not so for the barreleye. The barreleye does have those eyes, but it keeps them in a straight up see-through head.

It's not any happier about this than we are.

It’s not any happier about this than we are.

Special powers

The barreleye can see above itself very well. It loves the first row of the movie theatre.

Weaknesses

It’s always borrowing things from the siphonophores and not returning them. It has an excuse every time, but at a certain point, the problem is the barreleye’s.

It’s got no teeth.

Number of legs

None. Unless they’re just invisible. This requires further investigation. Uhhh incomplete.

Aliases

Spook fish, glass-head, ghostface swimmah, hombre.

What if it fought a bear?

There’s a pretty major weakness specifically highlighted on the barreleye.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

You’re an unreliable thief, barreleye. I see right through you. Sorry for the choice of words, but you know what I mean, weirdo.

 

 

3/10

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Praying mantis

Praying mantis

As one might guess, the praying mantis is very religious. Exactly what old god it prostrates itself before is known only to itself and to its victims when it whispers this secret just before biting their head off.

Special powers

The praying mantis is an expert in camouflage and cleanliness.

found you

I was lucky to find it and take this picture.

It is also very, very good at murder.

Weaknesses

The mantis is a Level 150 Nexus Paladin in its religion. That sounds impressive[1] until you hear that some of its peers at church are nearly Level 300. Don’t ask the mantis about it, though. Even hearing your question will taint the mantis’s aura with negativitatrons.

Number of legs

Six.

Fierceness factor

High.

Mating rituals

The female is larger than the male. It often starts eating the male immediately following coitus, as is its religious right. It is a voracious user of Tinder.

What’s its astrological sign?

Alibi. This is folded into its own belief set – how I don’t pretend to know.

What if it fought a bear?

It is a bug, and thus squashable.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The mantis doesn’t look so much like a real creature as it does concept art for a somewhat implausible movie alien. That’s pretty cool, if a little scary. Fortunately any fright is mitigated knowing that (a) it is far too small to bite my head off, and (b) we’re Facebook friends so I won’t come up on its Tinder.

That secretive religious stuff and all the murdering and cannibalism, though. That’s sketchy as all get out.

 

 

4.5/10

 

 

 

[1]If that’s the right word.

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Echidna

Echidna

Welcome back to Rate Every Animal! The hiatus was a little longer than planned, so today we bring you a real top-notch, primo selection: the echidna.

grade-A

Nice.

Special powers

The echidna is covered with spines. Even its four-headed penis[1] has its own kind of spines. It can become the world’s most dangerous volleyball.

no bump, no set, lots of spike

Do not serve this, Ice Man. You either, Maverick. I know you want to.

It has a bit of electroreception, a sense for electricity, and diggin’ claws.

Weaknesses

The echidna is a mammal, but it lays eggs. That’s what we call a serious identity crisis.

Also, it’s got no teeth.

Number of legs

Four.

The Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals Says

I have never been more disappointed in the Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals than when I saw it had no echidna entry.[2]

Wikipedia quote implying an unsettling disappointment

“Therefore, no one has ever seen an echidna ejaculate.”

What if it fought a bear?

The echidna goes so hard it left all its teeth on the hockey rinks of its youth. The bear lacks such dedication.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The echidna may just be making it up as it goes along, but it’s turned out wonderfully weird. I salute you, echidna. Please don’t show me your crazy penis.

 

 

9/10

 

 

 

[1]Oh, yeah, it has one of those too.

[2]Related: I have only rarely been more disappointed in my word processor than when I saw its spell check did not recognize “echidna.”

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Tetra

Tetra

As of this online web blog post, we are only a little more than a week away from Opening Day of the major league baseball season, the day when the commissioner opens up a baseball to find out what’s in there.[1] No one is more excited for baseball to begin than the tetra.

Look how big its smile is.

Look how big its smile is.

The tetra, you see, is a diehard baseball fan. It watches its favorite team play about 500 games a year, which is well over two thirds of a season! It can name the family lineage of Mr. Met going back six generations. It has a sizable collection of baseball cards, including…

    • Honus Wagner
    • Studs Bancker
    • Topsy Hartsel
    • Buddy Sachs
    • Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown
    • Boog Powell
    • Drum Duggan
    • Barclay Charles
    • Matt Stanchion
    • Knute Rockford
    • Bernie Titcomb
    • Slim Hardaway (a private investigator)
    • Harvey Kootz
    • Doc Abbey
    • Red Blackwell
    • Hamilton Leithauser
    • Chip Dipson
    • Dip Dobson
    • Bing Gardner
    • Cole Harbor Jr.
    • Fritz Ganon
    • Troy Brownfield
    • Phil Jimenez
    • Big Jim McLain
    • Slaw Johansson
    • Tom Ziljac
    • Chud Przlkzxby
    • Riggs Briggs
    • Leon J. Panetta
    • Flim Flammerman (a flim-flam man)
    • Slick Willie Gossett
    • Unus the Untouchabl
    • Gil Gilchrist
    • Billy Pope
    • Torg Arbuckle
    • Pudge Barrett
    • Sheen Splitcher
    • Jocko Blurst
    • Oyster Burns
    • Trent Hernandez
    • Keith Sweat
    • A six-foot party sub wearing a baseball cap
    • Buttercup Dickerson
    • Flip Chuntwad
    • Yutz Ploopie
    • Grim Fandango
    • Ngao Mbitu Lee
    • Jonah Beauregard
    • Jimmy Wolf
    • Ham Hamm
    • Bud Sexmagick
    • Walton Goggins
    • Cappy Fulmer
    • Stoddard
    • Leonard Snart
    • Bumpus Gunkle
    • Cradley Booper
    • Dread Forrestor The Tree Lord
    • Glenn John
    • Yahoo Sirius XM
    • Ned Geggus
    • Moses Farrell
    • Horace Hornswaggler
    • Dewey Defeatstruman
    • Jack Krampus
    • Muddy Samson
    • Dick Peppers
    • Ponyboy Dunn
    • Alabama (the band)
    • Otto Van Buxley
    • Spitwad Mullitzer
    • Oaky Pinewood
    • Ollie-Ollie-Oxenfree Smith
    • Fatty Mack
    • Charlie Schlong
    • The Baseball Furies
    • Scoops Turkel
    • Percy Childs
    • Denethor Driscoll
    • Beagle Bagley
    • Vic Wittels
    • Finn Berkelbach
    • Spuds MacKenzie
    • Dick Hunt
    • The Duke Ellington of Kicking Sand
    • Fivel Ladew
    • Pop Carroll
    • Pappy Figgemeier
    • Dad Yuengling
    • Pitch-A-Tron
    • Tug Mazzetti
    • Deacon Flick
    • Erve Scheffler
    • Air Bud

…As well as many other cards, too many[2] to list.

Special powers

The tetra is exceedingly patient.

Weaknesses

The tetra thinks its reflection is another fish. Way to go, idiot.

Number of legs

No.

Favorite video game

NHL: Eastside Hockey Manager 2007. I know; it’s inexplicable.

What if it fought a bear?

The tetra doesn’t stand a chance. The bear can just stop buying fish food.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

I should probably mention the tetra is a big-time embezzler. You can get way cooler fish for your aquarium who won’t abuse your trust for financial gain.

 

 

2/10

 

 

 

 

[1]Usually it’s more baseball, but if the commissioner sees his shadow, there may be six more weeks of spring training.

[2]Seven.

Programming note: Rate Every Animal will be on hiatus for a week or two. Hope to see you soon.

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