Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes! The word alone fills most people with fear and anxiety, because they have no experience in dealing with snakes.”

So says the San Diego Zoo website, and I agree. Give it a try! Run wildly into the conference room at your job and scream “Rattlesnakes!” People will be… rattled.[1] That’s because they know nothing about dealing with snakes so they don’t know that the word itself does not carry a magical power. This might not work if you are employed at the snake store.

Meanwhile, if you’re employed at the Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, or Winn-Dixie, you have a very good chance of meeting the rattlesnake as it rotates indecisively among all three for its grocery needs. Asked to explain its behavior, the rattlesnake drawls, “This ‘conomy won’t ever make a fool out of an Alabama lieutenant.” (See Notable accomplishments)

Special powers

The rattlesnake is venomous. That’s pretty common for a snake. Less common is the rattle at the end of its tail for which it is named. The rattlesnake uses it to warn others away and to lay down sick beats.

Also, it can see your heat signature like a dang Predator.

See like a Predator

But without the predilection for murdering future governors.

Weaknesses

The rattlesnake does not employ constricting in its killing, nor in its personal life. It is not a hugger.

It gasps “Lord almighty it’s Spook’ums” every time it sees the Scream mask.

Jeepers.

Jeepers.

Number of legs

No.

Notable accomplishments

The rattlesnake has been honored with the title of Alabama lieutenant – a sort of off-brand Kentucky colonel. The position’s duties include wearing a seersucker suit, drinking juleps, and keeping the secret of Boggy Cove. The rattlesnake innovated what it calls the tequila julep, a cocktail which is several ingredients more complicated than it sounds. The International Bartenders Association condemned the drink as criminal.

In high school, the rattlesnake was voted Most Likely To Be Run Over By An ATV He Or She Is Driving On Four Separate Occasions. This prognostication proved false for two reasons. Firstly, this has only happened twice to the rattlesnake; in its third ATV accident, it could not be called the driver. Secondly, one of the rattlesnake’s classmates surpassed it, having run over himself with an ATV six times.

The rattlesnake is a beloved referee/emcee in a local independent wrestling organization. It holds the high score in Beer Beer, a variant of Beer Pong that replaces the pong elements with more beer.

What if it fought a bear?

The rattlesnake has seen the Power Team perform two dozen times, so it’s picked up some moves.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The rattlesnake is just a good ol’ boy. Never meaning no harm. Giving a fair warning before it engages in its combat dance. I do advise against going drinking with it.

 

 

7.5/10

 

Programming Note: Rate Every Animal will take a couple weeks off for the holidays. Please join us when we return in 2015.

 

 

[1]Sunglasses spontaneously appeared on my face as I wrote this.

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Pony

Pony

When a horse refuses to grow up, it becomes a pony. There are many reasons this could happen, including societal pressures, the influence of Peter Pan, or a trainer pressing B during the evolution animation.

Whatever the case, the pony has its own vibe, and is worth discussing on its own merits and failings. For example, the horse has extremely poor instincts when it comes to clothing choices.

a horse in space clothing

“I think I look fine,” it said like an idiot.

By contrast, the pony is a real fashion plate.

Shetland ponies in sweaters

They look good and you know it.

As a special treat for our readers, I now turn it over to the pony for some timely fashion tips:

“Thank you, human Nathan.

Readers, it is almost winter. All fall, the trend has been earth tones and wind tones. The new colors of the season are green and ultraviolet. Be sure to also wear patterns for the winter: polka dots will let heat escape. Trap it in with the interlocking squares of a plaid. That’s not just fashion; that’s science. Trust me. I’m the pony.”

Special powers

Pound for pound, the Shetland pony is stronger than any horse, or as it puts it, “PONY STRONGEST THERE IS! PONY SMASH!”

It no longer ages.

Weaknesses

The pony is constantly beset by its rival in the fashion world, the Japanese macaque. Try as the pony might, it cannot escape that monkey.

remember the internet monkey?

It looks good and you know it.

Its eternal youth means it is eternally kind of snotty.

Number of legs

Four.

Online presence

The pony has exactly one Yelp review, of a music venue. It reads, in its entirety, “It was just a bunch of human men with instruments, not a train at all. I give this concert zero stars.”

Celebrity birthdays

The pony shares a birthday with…

  • Tom Hanks, who loves to play Tom Hands, a game of his own design

  • ALF, which is not really his name, but an acronym short for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

  • Benedict Arnold, a blacksmith who had to explain no, he’s not that one so many, many times.

Shots fired at the Wikipedia page for Shetland pony

“American Shetland Ponies are more refined than the traditional Shetland.”

You know where you are right now, traditional Shetland? You’re on blast, and some American Shetland-loving Wiki user just put you there.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear has no chance against the pony’s strength and low center of gravity.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

No matter what year it is, the forever-young pony hasn’t heard of the good music thing you like from several years ago. This, as we all know, is the worst sin anyone can commit. But dang if it doesn’t look good.

pony in human shoes

Accessorize sparingly, but boldly.

 

 

 

7/10

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Goose barnacle

Goose barnacle

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. There are two sides to every coin.[1] For every Gallant, a Goofus. For every butterfly, a moth. Most anyone will agree that the barnacle goose and the goose barnacle have just such a yin-yang relationship. Where no consensus can be reached is the question of which is yinnier and which is more of a yang.

barnacle goose

goose barnacle

You be the judge.

Special powers

I’ve looked at a considerable number of pictures and diagrams of the goose barnacle and I still don’t fully understand how its crazy body is set up. To put a positive spin on it, we could say it has the advantage of surprise.

Weaknesses

We know that the barnacle goose is literally unkillable, so we can infer that the goose barnacle is very much mortal.

Number of legs

Who knows, man.

What’s its astrological sign?

Aloysius.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear is big enough, the goose barnacle would probably just try to stick to its side.

Is it noble?

Moderately.

Final rating

I can make neither heads nor tails of the goose barnacle. I’m not sure it has either of those things.

One diagram pointed out its penis and I haven't slept since.

One diagram pointed out its penis and I haven’t slept since.

 

 

5/10

 

 

 

 

[1]Seriously! Turn any coin over if you don’t believe me. I’ll wait.

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Monitor lizard

Monitor lizard

There is one inescapable question we must ask ourselves about the monitor lizard.

What is it here to monitor?

WHO SENT YOU

Who sent you?
(Source http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-769606p1.html)

Special powers

It is watching. Always watching. Its motives are unknown. Is it, like Uatu, sworn not to intervene? Is it a spy, sent in advance of a malevolent force to perform reconnaissance? Is it an agent of Santa Claus?

Sometimes, in addition to watching, it will reproduce asexually.

Weaknesses

The monitor lizard complains like an old man, but it uses insufficiently old references. These are quotes it has been heard to say:

  • “In my day, our smartphones only had 2 Gs and we liked it.”

  • “I’m tired of all these Arian Grandos and Izzy Arugulas. Whatever happened to real music, like Ke$ha?”

  • “Kids nowadays don’t know how good they’ve got it. Used to be you wanted to edit a Vine, you had to do it outside the program. Now it’s all in-app.”

  • “Once upon a time, NBC was on top of the world, you know. My Name Is Earl, Celebrity Apprentice, Lipstick Jungle… They had it all.”

  • “It’s disgusting how the art of communication has been lost. AIM chats. Those were our snapchats.”

  • “I can’t go to these loud modern movies, all destroyed cities and Hans Zimmer music. It used to be, Hollywood made intelligent, restrained films, like Reindeer Games.”

  • “Now I gotta learn how to deal with Lollipop? I was just getting used to Jelly Bean!”

Number of legs

Four.

Status of tongue

Forked.

Notable relatives

It is the komodo dragon‘s kin.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear has sworn to tear out the monitor lizard’s eyes as a message. To whom and why, it will not divulge. The bear knows something.

Is it noble?

I wish I knew.

Final rating

I don’t know your game, monitor lizard. I know you’re a mild pain to be around, but I can’t help but wonder if all that kvetching isn’t an act to disguise your true purpose. I’ll crack you yet. Until I do, you remain an enigma. Say hi to the komodo dragon at Thanksgiving for me.

 

 

 

5/10

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Raccoon dog

Raccoon dog

The raccoon dog, a.k.a. the tanuki, used to be bad. It was a malevolent force, a trickster spirit with cruel aims. Since those days, it’s gone straight – or at least somewhat. It’s still an impish prankster, but a lovable, mostly harmless one.

raccoon dog

Aww, you scamp.

Special powers

The raccoon dog has a beautiful, soft coat of fur. In fact, mankind hunts the raccoon dog for its fur, on account of we are nature’s ultimate prick. It is a superb musician; its instrument of choice is its own belly as a drum. As one can guess by this choice, its talents are more in the area of technical skill than satisfying songwriting.

Also, it is a shape-shifter.

Weaknesses

The raccoon dog has an enormous scrotum. Most any person who has a scrotum will tell you it is a very fragile weak spot. The raccoon dog may as well paint a big target on its crotch while it’s at it. It’s like that classic schoolyard song goes: “Tan-tan-tanuki no kintama wa, kaze mo nai no ni, bura bura.”[1]

It gets seasick.

Number of legs

Four.

Drink of choice

Sake.

Celebrity birthdays

The raccoon dog shares a birthday with…

  • Gerard Butler, whose real name is Gerald Butrer.

  • Kim Jong-Un, who has his basketball number shaved into the back of his head every month.

  • Judah Friedlander, who, for the credits in every episode of 30 Rock, performed his famous point live.

bom! bom! bom bom-bom-bom bom! bom!

He nailed it every time.

What if it fought a bear?

The raccoon dog would befriend the bear and get it drunk. We’re looking at arm-in-arm “Piano Man” singing within three hours.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The raccoon dog is friendly, fluffy, and jolly. As long as you train yourself to avoid staring it directly in the scrotum, it’s a good time. At least until you remember you have work in the morning.

 

 

9/10

 

 

 

[1]“Tanuki’s balls, there isn’t any wind but they still go swing, swing, swing.” It’s as true today as it was then.

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Ladybug

Ladybug

There are more apps than ever before. If you don’t believe me, just check the nearest mobile “smart” telephone. What do you see? You guessed it – apps.

These programs do not appear fully formed out of nothing. Someone has to develop them, and in the case of several apps, that someone is the ladybug.

Pictured here soaring over Silicon Valley

Pictured here soaring over Silicon Valley

The ladybug has been fully or partially responsible for…

  • Qarma

  • fone

  • Blokkr

  • CanItMelt?

  • mega

  • picpop

  • Sleestak

  • AccountClam

  • Grundlr

  • Xzibit

  • MeltIt!

  • KAZOW

  • lyme

  • Vend.Me

  • SandyCab

  • Flurnge

  • Plumly

  • zerocool

  • AcidBurn

  • phazify

  • Sumppd

  • Simulvine

  • shovl

  • ShouldIHaveMeltedIt?

  • Linxxxx

The ladybug is insufferable to talk to.

Special powers

In addition to its programming expertise and start-up experience, the ladybug has nine lives and sensitive whiskers.

Weaknesses

If you touch the ladybug, you will find that it stinks horribly.

Number of legs

Six.

A note on categorization

Entomologists prefer to call the ladybug the ladybird beetle, because it is not a true bug, but it is a true bird and as many as three times a lady.

The Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals Says

“One larva will eat several hundred aphids during its three week development.”

The ladybug is a mass-murderer.

What does Mark Trail think of it?

He finds it useful. For now.

He finds it useful. For now.

What if it fought a bear?

A bear is not an aphid, so it is fine.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Don’t talk to the ladybug. It thinks it’s going to save the world by charging money for weird things. And it stinks. And it hangs out in your house uninvited in the winter.

 

 

3/10

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Elephant

Elephant

You forgot to vote this week. Yeah, that was this week. You missed out on a totally free sticker. The elephant is disappointed in you.

So it says

It’s not mad.

The elephant is highly invested in the political process. Political cartoonists and logo designers have used it as a symbol of the United States Republican Party, but its actual views are much more diverse. It has cycled through a number of third parties in search of one that fully captures its unique opinions. To this end, it has been involved in the Bull Moose Party, the Hen Buffalo Party, the Brunch Party, the Plutocrats, the Aristocats, M.O.P., #TeamBreezy, the Baseball Furies, a group of hobos led by Brother Soupcon, and the Super Sweet Sixteen Party. It is currently registered as an Independent.

Special powers

Every study about the elephant is about its gentle artist’s soul and how emotionally supportive it is. The elephant went to therapy and learned to paint, so now it thinks it knows everything about relationships. Do not ask the elephant for advice. It might be pretty good, but it’s not worth the tone.

The elephant has a trunk capable of taking in and spraying out water. It can also be used to grab things and play pranks on Kate Capshaw or anyone within one standard deviation of Kate Capshaw.

The elephant has tusks, which are oversized incisor teeth, and don’t you feel less comfortable about them now?

It can sleep standing up or lying down, so it’s got options.

it can be hard to get comfortable

Maybe too many options.

Weaknesses

The elephant is susceptible to floppy trunk syndrome, one of the most adorably named forms of paralysis of all time.

Number of legs

Four

Other ratings of the elephant

“The elephant SAYS it’s working for regular pachyderms. But the TRUTH is it’s in the INCREDIBLY LARGE POCKET of BIG PEANUT.” – anti-elephant attack ad, paid for by a series of nested shell corporations

“Loser loser, chicken dinner. The elephant is both ON the hook and ON the chain.” – Guy Fieri

“Is the elephant good? Yes! But is it elite? Without a championship on its resume, I don’t think I can say it is.” – Jay Bilas

“The female has a well-developed clitoris at up to 40 cm (16 in).” – Wikipedia

What’s its astrological sign?

Cappadonna.

Military usage

The elephant was used for wars because it was “nature’s tank, which is a comparison we will understand once the tank is invented.”

What if it fought a bear?

Well, have you ever heard a song called “War Bear?” Would you like to? Here’s my demo tape. But to answer the question at hand, elephant wins.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The elephant may not have found a political identity that fits it yet, but there’s no need to put its stances in a box. What would you even do with the box once you had it? Commit an Operation Dumbo Drop? No one wants that. What we should want is to spend some time in the company of the sweet-natured elephant.

It kind of is in the pocket of Big Peanut though.

 

 

8/10

Thanks for coming

Bye now!

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Platypus

Platypus

There is no animal more confused about its identity than the platypus.

This thing is a mammal that lays eggs. It has a duck bill but a beaver tail, and walks like a reptile. It produces milk but has no teats, instead just kinda sweating it out. It has two ovaries, but only one works. It has extra bones in its shoulder that other mammals don’t, and nobody knows where it got them. It has tons of sex chromosomes – ten in fact, because one pair wasn’t good enough for it; its gender is more complicated than some of my old internet passwords. It has spurs on its hind feet that deliver venom – and again, I can’t stress enough that it’s a mammal despite all this. It is born with teeth that fall out one embarrassing day in fifth grade and it hides in the nurse’s office until school is over. And that’s just the tip of the figurative iceberg (see Weaknesses).

What else do we know about this duck-billed iceberg?

Special powers

We know the platypus has electrolocation, meaning it can detect prey by the electric fields generated by the movement of muscles. That sounds like a power Grant Morrison made up for a cool splash page, but it’s actually true and it is extremely baller.

Its internal temperature is lower than most normal mammals. That’s how dedicated it is to being chill.

ICE COLD

What’s cooler than being cool?

The platypus stores fat in its tail. Given that extra junk in the trunk is so hot right now, it is perfectly poised to be the breakout star of whatever music video awards happen this month.

I should mention here that venom again. Venom! Crazy.

Weaknesses

In addition to the above-mentioned conflicting traits, the platypus has had a goth phase, yuppie phase, gymrat phase, rockabilly phase, steampunk phase, dieselwave phase, person-who-wears-a-hat-all-the-time phase, politically active poet phase, eccentric balloonist phase, and many more. It tries on identities like other people try on glasses frames at the store. Fortunately, the above-mentioned chillness remains constant.

Number of legs

Four.

Magazine subscriptions

Redbook, Ranger Rick.

Is it on a piece of currency?

It is on the 20-cent coin in Australia, opposite the head of Queen Elizabeth II.

now that's paper. okay it's metal.

It’s so money and it doesn’t even know it, per the requirement that every website must contain at least one reference to Swingers (the Simmons Rule).

What if it fought a bear?

It depends what phase the bear catches it in, but if it’s a street-fighting one, the platypus has a chance.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The platypus doesn’t always know what kind of dude it wants to be, but it is always my kind of dude. I mean that in a non-gender-specific way. Rock on, you unnecessarily double-ovaried weirdo!

 

 

10/10

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Mite

Mite

Okay, listn. Did I forgrt to writ an ananimal rating? Maybe yes. Maybe also yes. Did Karen bteak op with me? That’s a truth too. Have I ahd a couple? I’m an adult and you’re not my superb visor.

But we’re not here to ta;k about any of thatt. We’re gonna talk about the nite. Sorry, the mi5e. Sorry, the mite.

sorry

sorry

Special powers

It can make you ittchy. That’s nothing. I’m have the supered powres here. DID YOU KNOW if you put teqiula in teh whisky, you will VUKCING TIME TRABELffff I am seven Justice Leauges and I am RUDE. You made a BIG mistaek, Karem.

Weaknesses

Uu88uugh I gotta do all these ctaghoeriis uuuuugh.

The mite is so so tiny. It’s like miscrobocapbly small. Uou need a micorscoep to see it.[1] Why wuld you want to.

Number of legs

Eight.

The Kingfisher Illustrated Encyclopedia of Animals Says

“and they live in all sorts of odd places, including the nostrils of seals, the hearing organs of moths, and decaying cheese.”

Hoo boy hhhhhhhhhh

hhhhhhh

I fel sick.

What if it fought a bear?

Who cares a siht?

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

Kaaern come backkkk

 

1.5/10

 

 

 

[1]Juts like Kraren’s heart.

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Quail

Quail

The quail and mankind used to be friends a long time ago.

"You wanna go cruise for babes?"

But I haven’t thought of you lately at all. (Photo from Des Moines Register)

Now, of course, humanity’s BFF is the dog. But in the long-distant past, that role was filled by the quail. Accounts differ as to what exactly broke up the then-inseparable pair. One story is that the quail ate something in the fridge that man was saving for later. One rumor is that man said something bad about the quail’s girlfriend, or possibly its fondue start-up business. Some say the break-up was caused by a betrayal in a game of foursquare, though there’s no consensus on who was the betrayer.

Special powers

Look man, what do you want? It’s the quail. The only power we thought it had was loyalty and if the story about the fridge is true, we know that’s not so. We wanted the rest of that chicken wrap for dinner, quail! We wanted it so bad.

Weaknesses

The qual is subject to the whims and orders of the king quail.

A certain kind of quail was, in punishment for the crime of murder, cursed to forever repeat the name of its victim, Bob White.

Number of legs

Two. Plus two wings.

Wikipedia’s Talk Page Asks

“I Would Like To ?buy Fresh Water Drinkers For thirtytwothirtyfour Naseby 4rd B’ham Beight threHe For Sabina Insha Allah I Will Pay When zit -arrives”

What if it fought a bear?

The quail would challenge the bear to a game of foursquare. The bear would maul it instead.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

We may not remember exactly what you did to us, quail, but we will never forgive you. The dog is way cooler than you, anyway. It would never eat our wrap. It… It puked on the floor and now it’s eating the puke.

…The point stands.

 

3.5/10

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