Tag Archives: venom

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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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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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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Octopus

Octopus

“Octopussy! She is Octopussy!
Beware her ink
You’re sure to sink
Into her sea of lies
Her advanced eyes
Will see you meet your doom
At the eight strong hands of Octopussy!”

 – Theme from Octopussy

Those lyrics are as true today as they were the day they were written. The octopus is not just a fanciful foe of James Bond. It is all too real, my friend.

octopus

This could be just an inch below your feet any time you’re in the ocean. Have fun!

Special powers

We mammals all have a heart inside us. Most others are the same way. The octopus, clearly just showing off, has three.[1]

Beyond this blood-pumping triple threat, the octopus has many special powers: poison, considerable intelligence – including tool use, ink squirting, the ability to change color at will, excellent vision, a salivary papilla which is a tooth-covered organ that shoots out from its sharp beak, etcetera.

There are even specializations on top of all that. The mimic octopus does impressions and is a wizard. Paul the Octopus was a psychic who predicted World Cup winners, but could not foresee his own untimely death in a car accident.

Weaknesses

We mammals all have a spooky skeleton inside us. Most others are the same way, or wear their skeletons on the outside, as bugs do. The octopus, however, has no skeleton at all.

Contrary to popular belief, the octopus hates gardening. The Beatles, in their famous song about the subject, were using irony. You like them now, right, kids?

Number of legs

Eight, two rows of suckers each.

Courtship

The male octopus has a special sperm-filled arm dedicated to this purpose, which it breaks off its own body and gifts to a female in a tasteful but creative ceremony. For a spell, flash mobs and jumbotrons were popular ways to make the offering, but are now looked on as cliché.

What if it fought a bear?

That bear you think you see is just the octopus doing a pretend. The real bear was defeated thirty-five minutes ago.

Is it noble?

The octopus’s motives are known only to itself.

Final rating

This inscrutable creature is very powerful indeed. Honestly, I’d say it’s OP and ready for a nerf. And no, I’m not just saying that because I am being repeatedly owned. I don’t need to learn 2 play, octopus! I know how 2 play just fine!

 

6.5/10

 

 

[1]Eat your super-sized singular heart out, Grinch.

 

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Coral snake

Coral snake

As I’m sure you all know, I am on the forefront of hot trends in facial hair. The latest, buzziest style is coral snakes on your doggone face.

This is so in right now.

This is so in right now.

You can personalize your coral snake to express your individuality.

You can personalize your coral snake to express your individuality.

Special powers

Unlike most things fashion has told us to put on our head, the coral snake poses a risk of venomous bite. To know whether you’re in danger, just look at the pattern of the colored stripes on its body and repeat the classic rhyme. “Red touches yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red touches black, you’re dead, Jack. Red touches blue, you’re dead, too. Red touches brown, you’re dead in the ground. Red touches green, this place is now a crime scene. Red touches gray, HEY! Guess what, you’re dead.”

And fun fact about that venom: the FDA-approved antivenom hasn’t been produced in the U.S. since 2003, because it’s not profitable to make more. Sleep tight!

Weaknesses

The coral snake was signed to Cash Money Records in 2010 and we still ain’t seen that album. What’s up, coral snake? Where’s the album at?

Number of legs

None at all.

Drink of choice

Stout.

Celebrity birthdays

The coral snake shares a birthday with

  • George Washington Carver, inventor of the peanut

  • Kevin Pollack, the famous painter

  • and Zack Morris, master of time itself!

What if it fought a bear?

It would never fight the bear. It looks too good wrapped around its ears and brow.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

The coral snake looks great. On the other hand, it might bite you in the face and sink its venom into the snakebite that’s on your face now. Looking good comes at a price.

 

8/10

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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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Black house spider

Black house spider

And then along came a spider…

black house spider

Get it? It’s like Along Came Polly, but for a spider.

The black house spider is one of three closely related species, the other two being the grey house spider, which also exists primarily in Australia and New Zealand, and the White House spider, which exists primarily in the District of Columbia.

Special powers

One does not live in Australia or New Zealand without developing serious toughness to survive the daily onslaught of deadly snakes and goblins. The black house spider has some venom. It’s not the strongest stuff, but how strong is your venom? Exactly. Glass houses, bro.

It also has the standard spider ability of web building.

Weaknesses

The flip side of the black house spider’s web-making ability is that it has all the architectural understanding of that guy in your class who tried to make a tower out of single toothpicks stacked end-on-end, Kevin.

Also like Kevin, it has never read a novel to completion.

Number of legs

Eight.

This week in personal anecdotes of Wikipedians who are probably dead now

“I’ve had a great opportunity to study a fine specimen (female, with spiderlings) in my bathroom window for 6 months now. I must confess to feeding her blowflies that foolishly enter the house. My boy and I think it’s better than T.V. to watch her hunt and kill. It was a very exciting event when the hatchling first emerged. They are growing fast – probably tripled in size in the first few weeks. I have observed both mother and children ‘drinking’ from the web when I have a shower and steam up the bathroom. They spread out on the web and glean the little droplets of dew condensating on the strands. All this time, I have never seen the spiderlings eat anything and yet they are growing well. There are fewer than when first hatched. Do they eat each other? They don’t seem interested in the flies I feed her. It’s a mystery to me. I wondered if anyone had any ideas?Shaun Gardner (talk) 23:19, 13 December 2010 (UTC)”

What does Mark Trail think of it?

Mark Trail on spidersWhat if it fought a bear?

The White House spider could just order the bear arrested. The black house spider has no such recourse.

Is it noble?

Yes.

Final rating

It is man’s staunchest ally in the perpetual war against the insect world.

 

7.5/10

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Antlion

Antlion

I know, I know, but the antlion is not the lion of ants; that would be the flea circus staple Teddy the Ant with a Mane. The antlion is named so because – at least as a larva – it loves to eat ants.

Special powers

It does so by digging a pit in sandy ground, burrowing in so only its monstrous jaws are exposed. There it waits with a sniper’s patience for an unsuspecting ant to tumble into its sinister trap, at which point it can inject venom into its victim so that it won’t be able to struggle while the antlion empties it of everything within its exoskeleton. It is sometimes known as the doodlebug.

antlion larva

So cute.

As an adult, the antlion changes drastically. It becomes much more like a damselfly. Instead of hiding itself in sandy deathtraps, it flies through the air leaving skywriting messages like “I regret nothing,” “They all deserved to die,” and “Break free from old wireless rules with T-Mobile.”[1]

Weaknesses

The antlion larva has no anus. It stores up all the waste of its whole childhood – which, again, consists of all the guts of every ant that has ever stepped too close. What sinister purpose it’s saving it for I hope we never have cause to learn.

Also, its dramatic evolution into its final form can be interrupted against its will with a mere press of the B button.

antlion all grown up

ANTLION learned FLY!

Number of legs

Six.

Number of anuses (in larval form)

Zero.

Do I have a diagram of it using its deathtrap?

like so

Yes.

What if it fought a bear?

The antlion is fearsome, but there’s a drastic weight class difference here that puts it at a serious disadvantage.

Is it noble?

No.

Final rating

I know we all love sandy pits. But trust me, you don’t want to find yourself sliding down one into the waiting jaws of the young antlion. Nor do you want to find yourself the subject of a scathing message in the clouds by the adult antlion’s hand.[2] That’s why you should always thoroughly vet any unfamiliar sand pit before you dive into it for the first time.

the more you know

 

 

8.5/10

 

 

 

[1]You too can hire out its services for the right fee as long as you’re cool with being associated with an gleefully unrepentant ant-murderer.

[2]Not an actual hand.

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Harvestman

Harvestman

Though more commonly known as the daddy longlegs, this animal is truly the harvestman.

harvestman

Harvestman, harvestman, harvests whatever a spider can.

One thing it is truly not is a spider, though it is related enough to see spiders at Christmas and Thanksgiving. So what is it then? The answer, of course, is an invader from outer space.[1] No one knows why it came to our world, but we know what it has done in the time it’s been here. It conquered and enslaved creatures smaller than it. The harvestman placed blocks in their brains to limit their intelligence – hence why bugs are so, so dumb. Still, the harvestman’s victory has had little effect of the day-to-day of those of us unshrunk by Honey’s husband.

tripod

From the viewpoint of the harvestman’s victim.

Special powers

The harvestman does strong impressions of punctuation marks. It once convinced Merriam Webster herself that it was the exclamation point.

See footnotes. Eight footnotes!

The harvestman as the asterisk.

It is also owner of the most powerful venom in the world. It got it on eBay.

Weaknesses

However, the harvestman only has the one vial of said venom, and it has such sentimental value for it that it would never part with it.

Furthermore, it can’t sew a lick. It tried to make a pair of boxers once and the result was downright tragic. Of course, part of that might have been that it had to put eight leg holes in the thing.

Number of legs

Eight.

Known aliases

As I mentioned before, the harvestman is frequently called the daddy longlegs. It also goes by grandaddy longlegs, grampa tallstiltsgreat uncle octopod and pop-pop extendofeet. These nicknames make no sense and are frankly kind of dumb. Though I do appreciate the distraction they provide from the harvestman’s creepy actual name.

Online presence

The harvestman has not put forward much of itself onto the web, but it is a regular user of its resources. Every single audio file it owns contains “DatPiff Exclusive” in the title.

What if it fought a bear?

The bear is a lot bigger than the harvestman’s usual targets. This fight is over before you can say “squish.”

Is it noble?

It is beyond our small human conceptions of nobility.

Final rating

Many mysteries remain. What will the harvestman harvest? Is this harvest the ultimate goal of its invasion? Should those of us larger than an inch be concerned?

Probably not.

 

5/10

 

 

 

[1]Like some sort of… space inv[ED. NOTE: COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. CEASE & DESIST]

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Tarantula

Tarantula

tarantula face

Guess who.

It’s everybody’s favorite giant, hairy-legged spider… the tarantula!

Special powers

The tarantula is unusual among poisonous creatures. Most such animals generate their venom through specialized organs that synthesize hate into deadly chemicals. The tarantula is capable of hate, yes, but it is not as spiteful as its reputation might make one think. It is just as venomous as the best of them, however; it just uses a different formula. The tarantula creates poison through the art of dance.

As a result of this unique, home-brewed recipe, the only way to counteract the tarantula’s bite is to reverse the process – to dance it out. The danger, of course, besides dying of venom, is that you will perfectly repeat the tarantula’s own “danse macabre” it used to craft it, and end up dying of double-poison and sentenced to the redundant punishments of Hell-Squared.

Weaknesses

The tarantula lives in small burrows, which it never ever cleans. It will fill a home to the brim with old issues of Good Housekeeping, and then just abandon it. It’s like the reverse of a house flipper. It’s a house ruiner.

Despite appearances of symmetry and its excellent dancing, all eight of the tarantula’s legs are left legs.[1] This means it has a terrible time using ladles.

Number of legs

Eight (left).

Number of lungs

Four (three right, one left).

Horrifying Wikipedia quote

“Male tarantulas have special spinnerets surrounding the genital opening. Silk for the sperm web of the tarantula is exuded from these special spinnerets.”

tarantula

“Hello, ladies.”

Age

According to Guinness World Records, the oldest tarantula ever lived to be 49 years old. If the idea of a spider that is older than millions of adult humans doesn’t strike you as terrifying, then I don’t know what to tell you. Except maybe, “Hey, you aren’t acquainted with fear the way I imagine a normal person should be.” But that’s a weird thing to tell somebody.

What if it fought a bear?

The tarantula can destroy the bear with anything but an electric slide, which creates the least powerful venom. Just real shoddy stuff.

Is it noble?

Moderately.

Final rating

An aged, bird-eating, hair-covered spider of great size, weaving “sperm webs.” That should send a chill down your spine. Seriously. Check your spine, dude. It might be defective.

Anyway, the tarantula is the best dancer I’ve reviewed yet. Just don’t move in next door; your property value will drop.

 

8/10

 

 

 

[1]That “two left feet” thing is just a saying and shouldn’t be taken literally.

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