This Adorable Little Bird Is a Real-Life Vampire

Geospiza difficilis septentrionalis, aka the Vampire Finch, is a small bird with a very unusual diet – other bird’s blood.

Found on only two small islands in the Galapagos Archipelago – Darwin and Wolf – the vampire finch is a subspecies of the sharp-beaked ground finch, a relatively small and harmless-looking bird. However, as the specie’s name suggests, it has a very sharp beak, which it sometimes uses to break through more than just fruits and nuts. The vampire finch got its name from its bizarre habit of pecking at larger birds’ skin and feeding on their blood whenever other food sources are scarce.

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This Terrifying-Looking Horned Spider Is Actually Quite Harmless

Macracantha arcuata, aka the horned orb-weaver spider or the wishbone spider, have a pair of intimidating long horns growing out of their abdomen.

Although both male and female Macracantha arcuate spiders feature spines on their abdomens, it’s the females that stand out. They have three pairs of spines coming out of their abdomens, but it’s the middle one that immediately catches your attention, as the spectacular horns that project upward and then curve toward each other are roughly three times longer than the spider itself. The other two pairs of spines are short and relatively inconspicuous in comparison. If you’re afraid of spiders in general, a female Macracantha arcuata is a terrifying sight to behold, but you should know that the species is actually harmless to humans.

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This Bird Is the Heaviest Animal Capable of Walking on Water

Using their large feet and fast stride, the Western and Clark’s grebes can run as far as 20 meters on water, making them the only bird and the heaviest animal on Earth capable of doing so.

If you exclude Jesus Christ, whose biblical feat of walking on water is literally considered a miracle of the New Testament, only a handful of creatures are known to be able to walk or run on water. Most of them are small insects, but there is also a small basilisk nicknamed the Jesus Christ lizard for very obvious reasons, but the largest of them all are two bird species – the Western and Clark’s grebes. They can run on water for up to 7 seconds and distances of about 20 minutes as part of an impressive mating ritual.

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Insidious Parasite Causes the Tongues of Fish to Fall Off And Then Replaces Them

Cymothoa exigua, popularly known as the tongue-eating louse, is a parasitic isopod that attaches itself to the tongue of its fish host, severs circulation, causing the organ to necrose and fall off, and then becomes the new tongue.

We’ve covered a bunch of terrifying parasites on Oddity Central, but few can hold a candle to the tongue-eating louse in terms of creepiness. This critter is one of the few that actually does the phrase “what nightmares are made of” justice. It enters fish through the gills, attaching to them until it matures, at which point it changes sex from male to female. Once this process is complete, the parasite starts to make its way to the fish’s mouth, where it attaches itself to its tongue using its incredibly powerful legs. It then pierces the host’s tongue with its strong bite and begins to suck the blood out of it. The blood vessels can’t keep up with their appetite, and the tongue eventually withers and detaches from the fish.

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Hooded Pitohui – The World’s First Scientifically-Confirmed Poisonous Bird

The hooded pitohui, a small bird endemic to Papua New Guinea, is the first and only scientifically-confirmed poisonous bird in the world.

The Melanesian people of Papua New Guinea have long known to keep their hands off of hooded pitohui, but to the western world, the bird’s toxic potential was only discovered by chance just over three decades ago. In 1990, ornithologist Jack Dumbacher was on the Pacific island looking for birds of paradise. He had set up delicate mist nets between the trees to catch them and ended up with some hooded pitohui birds in them as well. As he tried to grab the birds out of the traps, they scratched and bit his fingers, and he instinctively put his hands in his mouth to soothe the pain. Almost immediately, Dumbacher felt his lips and tongue go numb. They then started to burn and did so for hours. Later, suspecting that the symptoms were caused by the bird, he took a pitohui feather and put it in his mouth. The numbness and ensuing pain quickly returned. He had unknowingly discovered the world’s first poisonous bird.

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The Ladoum – Senegal’s Star Sheep Can Cost More Than a Car

The Ladoum sheep, known as the “king of sheep” in Senegal, is considered a mark of prestige and a status symbol in the African country, with prices for top specimens exceeding $85,000.

A hybrid of the Mauritanian ‘Touabire’ breed and the Malian ‘Bali-bali’, the Ladoum was first bred outside Senegal’s capital of Dakar in the early 1970s. For such a young breed, the Ladoum is incredibly popular in the West-African nation, with well-off families and breeders spending small fortunes on a specimen, and those who can’t afford one dreaming of one day having enough money to buy it. To understand just how revered the Ladoum is, in a country where about 40 percent of the population lives on $1.90 per day, some people spend tens of thousands of dollars on a single sheep.

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Africa’s Feathered Locust – These Little Birds Cause the Cutest Plague Imaginable

To most of the world, the red-billed quelea is a cute, sparrow-like bird native to Sub-Saharan Africa, but to the farmers of the regions that this little creature calls home, it is a pest capable of wiping out their crops.

Biblical plagues mention insects like locusts, lice and flies, but to the people of African countries like  Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, birds – one species in particular – are more dangerous than any of them. There is a very good reason why the red-billed quelea is popularly known as Africa’s feathered locust. This small, adorable bird eats about four grams of plant seeds per day, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that it feeds in flocks of millions of individuals, the math starts to get pretty scary for farmers and those who depend on their crops.

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Meet Dexter, the Dog That Learned to Walk Like a Human

Dexter, a 7-year-old Brittany Spaniel from Colorado, has become an inspiration for many around the world after he taught himself to stand up and walk on his hind legs after suffering an accident.

When he was only a puppy, Dexter escaped his owners’ yard in Ouray, Colorado, darted into traffic and got hit by a car. One of his front legs had to be amputated and the other was severely damaged. But he survived, and that’s all his owners cared about. They assumed he would need some kind of wheelchair to get around without his front legs, and he did use one for a while, but only until he learned he could walk much faster on his hind legs alone. Since then, he has been walking like a human, turning heads around town and inspiring the entire world.

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These Silver, Reflective Beetles Look Like Living Jewelry

Chrysina limbata is a species of beetle native to the tropical rainforests of Central America known for its metallic reflective silver color which makes specimens look like living pieces of jewelry.

Chrysina limbata is regarded as one of the most beautiful insect species on Earth, and for good reason. These beetles have a reflective silver metallic appearance that is so clear one can actually see their reflection in them. According to Wikipedia, this stunning visual effect “is achieved through thin film interference within layers of chitin. These layers of the chitin coating are chirped (in layers of differing thicknesses), forming a complex multilayer as each layer decreases in depth; as the thickness changes, so too does the optical path-length. Each chirped layer is tuned to a different wavelength of light”.

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Ukrainian Family Returns Home After Four Months of War, Finds Dog Waiting for Them

When a Ukrainian family returned to their war-ravaged home in Hostomel after four months, the last thing they expected to find was their beloved pet husky, Belyi.

In March of this year, when Russia started targeting Hostomel’s strategically important airport with its artillery, 35-year-old Kateryna Tytova and her family had to make a heartbreaking decision. Kateryna, her husband Olexandr and their two young children fled the city and left their white husky, Belyi behind. It sounds cruel, but those were desperate times. Russians were advancing, there was shelling around the airport, and there was no time to plan their escape. A photo of Kateryna holding her 5-year-old’s daughter as they run from artillery shelling has made international headlines. But despite leaving Belyi behind, the family always hoped he would be waiting for them when they came back.

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Photos of Lion With Straight Bangs Leave Millions Scratching Their Heads

Photos of a male lion at a Chinese zoo sporting baby bangs went viral online, leaving many wondering how the staff managed to pull off the haircut. They claim they didn’t…

The lion’s mane is the most recognizable feature of the species, and even though its size and color vary by a variety of factors, both genetic and environmental, we can say that it almost never has that tidy “salon” look. But there are exceptions, like this specimen at a zoo in Guangzhou, China, which recently went viral for sporting an impeccable mane that seemed styled after the baby bangs we see female celebrities sporting on the red carpet at various events. The unique look has sparked some controversy online, with many accusing the zoo staff of cutting the animal’s hair, a claim that the zoo has repeatedly denied.

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Ram Allegedly Sentenced to Three Years Behind Bars for Hitting and Killing a Person

Authorities in the African country of Sudan have allegedly sentenced a ram to three years in prison for hitting and killing an old woman.

If humans had to go to prison every time they killed a goat, we would have to build so many more prisons, but when the roles are reversed for a change the poor animal has to answer for its actions. That’s exactly what allegedly happened in Sudan earlier this month – at least according to multiple national news outlets – after a ram in Rumbek East County charged at an elderly woman hitting her in the ribs and causing serious injuries that later proved fatal. It’s unclear what possessed the animal to attack, but once it was identified as the culprit, the ram was taken into custody and sentenced to hard time.

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Chinese Man Builds Lavish $51,000 Mini-Mansion for Pet Dogs

A dog owner in Eastern China’s Jiangsu province spent the last three years and a whopping 340,000 yuan ($51,156) building a miniature mansion for his 10 pooches.

Mr. Zhou, a 33-year-old businessman who made his money in the crayfish trade, started his pet project in 2019, soon after finishing another, much more modest abode for his dogs. Proud of his achievement at the time, he decided to share a video tour of it on Chinese streaming platform Douyin, hoping to get some positive feedback. However, most of the comments from viewers turned out to be negative, which only motivated the young businessman to start over and this time give the internet and his pets something special. After three years of hard work and hundreds of changes, Zhou finally completed his masterpiece, and this time people were indeed impressed.

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Indian Runner Ducks Stand Upright Like Penguins, Can Outrun Most Humans

The Indian Runner duck has the most distinctive body type among all the world’s duck breeds. With legs positioned further back on the body than all other duck breeds, they stand upright like penguins and run rather than waddle.

Native to the Asian continent, the Indian Runner duck is a development of the wild mallard. However, its unique evolution is believed to have been determined more by human interference than natural evolution. First encountered by European sailors during the 1800s in Indonesia, where it wasn’t uncommon for farmers to have heards of over 1,000 ducks. It stood out because of its unusual body posture and running ability, which were unusual for European duck breeds. Today, the Indian Runner is found on all the world’s continents, although it is still considered somewhat of an oddity outside of Asia.

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YouTuber Creates Custom Fish Tank So He Can Take His Goldfish on Walks

The problem with having fish as pets is that you can’t really take them with you on the go like you can land mammals like cats and dogs. Well, unless you have one of these mobile fish tanks, that is!

It all started with a series of posts on the Facebook Open Society group from members who claimed to have spotted a man walking his pet fish around Taipei in a contraption that looked like a fish tank on wheels. Some of the photos went viral, and people started commenting that the man pushing the fish tank was a popular Taiwanese DIY youtuber called Huang Xiaojie, aka ‘Jerry’. Sure enough, on April 23rd, Jerry released a video showcasing his invention, calling it one of his toughest challenges yet.

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