Category Archives: amphibians

Iberian ribbed newt

Iberian ribbed newt

What’s your favorite ribbed newt? I bet a lot of you answered with the Iberian ribbed newt, one of the most popular ribbed newts ever. Sorry, contrarian/ironic Martian ribbed newt lovers! That animal sucks and is also not a real animal and instead just a thing I dreamed once!

I checked my totem.

Not a dream.

Special powers

When the Iberian ribbed newt is threatened or feels that it’s about to lose a board game, it coats itself in poison. That’s fine, of course, but it’s also something anyone with a bucket of poison can do.

What’s truly unique about the Iberian ribbed newt is that it literally juts its sharp ribs through its fleshy sides as makeshift stingers. When has one of those guys with a bucket of poison ever been willing and able to turn his own bones into stabbing weapons? They don’t have it in them. Prove me wrong, poison-bucket-carrying cowards! I defy you!

Weaknesses

The Iberian ribbed newt is poking holes in its own dang skin all the dang time, in part because it is so, so bad at board games.

Number of legs

Four.

Has it been to space?

Yes. The Soviets sought only the most courageous of animals to send into space, and a creature willing to stab itself from the inside out in order to fight is not a creature who knows much of fear.

The Iberian ribbed newt in pop culture

Because of its ability to poke its sharp bones out through its skin and regenerate from serious wounds, it served as the inspiration for the X-men’s Logan, also known as the uncanny Iberian Ribbed Newt!

What if it fought a bear?

The bear knows nothing of the self-sacrifice the Iberian ribbed newt is willing to go through, and that is why it cannot win.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The Iberian ribbed newt is hardcore. Not at, like, Candyland and stuff. But in general.
 
 
 
8/10

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Hula painted frog

Hula painted frog

There isn’t always big animal news, but when there is, I’m obligated to weigh in so you know exactly how many burritos I ate while I was chasing the leads to get only the freshest journalistic insight.[1]

Well, this week there’s some real three-burrito level news: The Hula painted frog is back from the dead.

Hula painted frog

I know this is emotional. Please, take this time to collect yourselves.

Until its miraculous resurrection, the Hula painted frog was last seen alive in the 1950s. This amazing creature did what few have done before: it escaped the underworld to return triumphant to the land of the living. It’s like the Lazarus of amphibians, and not just because they’re both from the greater Israel area.

Special powers

Besides being able to break the chains of Hell itself? It hops pretty good.

Weaknesses

It is very shy. It went to exactly one dance in high school, and spent the entire time standing by the punch bowl.

Having been dead for nearly sixty years, the Hula painted frog has missed out on decades of cultural reference points. It thought The Beatles were something it could eat. It hasn’t seen a single Fast & Furious movie. It was recently booked for an appearance on the Tonight Show and expressed excitement at meeting Steve Allen.

jay leno

Ohhh, Hula painted frog. Oh no.

Number of legs

Four.

Celebrity encounters

Because of the unique circumstances of its life/death, the Hula painted frog knows better than most exactly who is suffering eternal punishment. Sure, you could correctly guess that it met Attila the Hun if you want to go obvious. But while most know that Oops! All Berries lead to a dishonorable discharge for Captain Crunch, fewer know that he was also sent to Hades for his hubris.

While there, the Hula painted frog even became part of a weekly card game with Lucky Luciano, the triceratops, a guy who parked his car across four different spots, and Vanna Black, the sinister doppelganger who co-hosts Wheel of Poverty.[2]

What if it fought a bear?

The crucial difference is that the bear is still, ultimately, afraid to die. And that is why it fails.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The Hula painted frog is still catching up on our newfangled “interstate highway system” and “actually choosing to eat pine nuts.” That will come with time. Even now, though, isn’t this an impressive enough comeback?

 

9.5/10

 

 

[1]In this case, three.

[2]I know; I thought that title was a missed opportunity too.

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Salamander

Salamander

I know things have been a little weird around here lately. This has no doubt upset Rate Every Animal traditionalists, who have no room in their hearts for interviews or Huell Howsers. I certainly agree with the latter sentiment.

Fortunately, this week we are getting back to basics. Just like the great natural taste of Sierra Mist. No muss, no fuss, nothing but pure delicious mist. Or pure delicious reviews of the salamander as the case may be.

Special powers

The salamander’s abilities are many. Paranoid of its enemies choking it, it has developed back-up methods of breathing. It may breathe through lungs, gills, or its skin depending on what the situation calls for. It’s almost as versatile as a Craftsman 12-volt lithium ion multi-tool!

Speaking of skin, just underneath the salamander’s moist surface are glands which secrete a poisonous peanut butter which can be absolutely lethal depending on your allergies.

And of course, it holds dominion over the element of fire.[1]

tiger salamander

Born in flame, it knows no other way to live.

Weaknesses

Clumsiness, first off. It is constantly getting its limbs lost in horrible accidents, and is only alive today because it can regenerate body parts. I guess I should have mentioned that in Special powers.

The salamander, like anyone else, goes weak for Activia yogurt cups. Another weakness is that the salamander is not “regular.”

Number of legs

Four. The same number as in the Four For Four deal at Urby’s! Four items, each just four dollars each, only from America’s favorite off-brand roast beef franchise!

Categories

There are countless varieties of salamander. I’m talking about more options than the 2013 KIA Sorento Crossover! If you can believe it! A partial list[2] follows:

  • The marbled salamander, the most celebrated model in the salamander world. Its dark secret: It is a mole salamander![3]
  • The spectacled salamander, the most near-sighted of all salamanders.
  • The crowbarred salamander, a staunch Libertarian.
  • The axolotl, which for its treachery was banished to Mexico City. It knows what it did.
  • The rotflotl, a fun party-time dude.
  • The Chinese giant salamander, which some scientists believe is better categorized as a godzilla, to which others reply “Come on, man, godzillas are Japanese!”
  • The alpine salamander, which everyone agrees is a dracula.
  • The olm, a pale blind cave-dweller seen only when it wants to talk to you about how its expertise at the popular hobo-architect simulator Minecraft prepares it perfectly for the “zombie apocalypse.”
  • The hellbender, a mean sonuvagun who controls fire better than any of its salamander brethren.
  • The southern tribe waterbender, which loves nothing more than the fit of Wrangler jeans.
  • The mudpuppy, an offensive slur.
giant salamander

The giant salamander. And might I add: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH

Wikipedia’s Talk Page Asks

“Is there any reason this page has been vandalised five times in the last 10 days? Who could have a grudge against salamanders?”

Who indeed? This sounds like a case for Rizzoli & Isles! Only their brand of hard detectivework and wacky odd-couple implied lesbianism can uncover the identity of the salamander’s Wiki-enemy.

Isles. Also, Rizzoli.

Should take about 40-odd minutes, plus commercials.

What if it fought a bear?

The salamander wins in a walk. Or a crawl as the case may be.

Is it noble?

Yes.[4]

Final rating

The salamander is a many-faceted beast. It is as complicated and dense as Step Up Revolution. Coincidentally, both are in theaters now! That’s why the floors are so sticky.

 

 

9/10

 

 

 

[1] Source: Elder, Pliny the.

[2]Of salamander types. Not Sorento options. Consult your local salamander dealer for that information.

[3]Mole salamander:Salamander::Mole man:Human

[4]This may depend on what edition you’re using. If you are unsure, ask a dungeonmaster if Crestor is right for you.

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Toad/frog

Toad/Frog

Did you know that scientists do not believe that there is a hard and fast distinction between the toad and the frog? This is playing perfectly into their confidence schemes, which frequently require them to play the same person in multiple locations at the same time. This gambit is known in grifter circles as the Reverse Mrs. Doubtfire. This scam has been notably mastered in numerous variations by the Olsen and Lohan twins.

I Know Who Killed Me

“I Know Who Killed Me” has been called the “Parent Trap” of film.

Special powers

The toad exudes toxins through its many warts, which can cause its enemies to hallucinate (whereupon the toad escapes its disoriented predator), paralysis, or even allergies to wheat.

Nobody believes me, but I swear to you the frog can sing and dance in the grand tradition of American musicals. I’m telling you; he was just doing it before you came in.

Weaknesses

The toad has a crippling weakness to being run over by automobiles, as depicted in the popular arcade game Q*bert.

The frog is hopelessly (and because of a long-running advertising campaign, ironically) addicted to Keystone Ice.

Number of legs

Four.

Where are their vocal sacs?

Neither frog nor toad has external vocal sacs. As a result, both sound like they are mumbling to themselves and do very poorly as stage actors.

toad

Speak up, son.

Explosive properties

The toad is one of the few animals with a built-in self-destruct mechanism. If sufficiently threatened, it will build up gases within itself, then release a hidden flap in a particular wart, the location of which I will not reveal here because of my ongoing blackmail efforts against the toad. At any rate, the addition of oxygen to the mixture triggers a powerful explosion.

The frog must be exploded through traditional means.

Do I own a Beanie Baby of it?

No on both.

What if it fought a bear?

The toad and frog are not big on direct confrontation. They are cowardly, slimy* con men. However, the toad could blow up in the bear’s face in an act of mutually assured destruction.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

The frog and toad are scoundrels, and not in the cool way that eleven-fingered thief Danny Ocean is.

Danny Ocean

“Guess how many toes I have! The answer is surprisingly low!”

I must, however, give them due credit for their mastery of Tin Pan Alley standards and inducing others to trip balls, respectively.

 

6.5

 

 

 

*Not intended as a slur against amphibians.

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Tree Frog

Tree frog

What is this? What is this bullcrap?

Tree Frog

WHAT THE —- IS THIS

Are you kidding me, tree frog? Is this all some kind of elaborate joke carried out at my expense by the tree frog? Even that name, tree frog. Just think about that for a second. Does it make any sense? Of course it doesn’t.

A frog belongs in the water and its surrounding land. One of the many places it does not belong is a tree. Not even a gingko tree would I wish this upon. A frog is already getting two different environments. Grabbing a third is just greedy.

Special powers

This jerk is somehow getting away with being a frog and being in trees at the same time.

And it can, like, jump and stuff, I guess.

Weaknesses

Somebody could cut down the trees.

Number of legs

Four.

Places a frog should be before a tree

  • Center of active volcano
  • On a cloud
  • Canadian Parliament
  • English Parliament
  • Baltimore
  • A studio apartment
  • In a tiny top hat with a cane
  • A wall that is bleeding

What if it fought a bear?

The bear would destroy it without remorse. I applaud it for that.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

There is a reason the tree frog is known as “South America’s Affront to God’s Plan.”

 

1/10

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