Hagfish – Weird Slime-Spewing Monsters of the Ocean

At first glance, the humble hagfish looks like just another species of ocean-dwelling eel, but they are something much weirder and at the same time fascinating. From the bizarre slime-like substance it produces as a defense mechanism, to the lack of a backbone, there’s a whole lot of weirdness to address.

The hagfish is a primitive, virtually blind creature that spends its life on the bottom of the ocean, slithering and feeding mostly on dead or dying fish. Among the several things that make the hagfish unique is its body structure. It has a skull, but no jaw and no vertebral column. This allows them to tie their bodies into knots in order to scrape the sticky slime they produce off of their skin. They can burrow into dead or dying animals through various orifices and even through their skin – using two rows of keratinous teeth – and devour them from the inside. But they don’t really need the teeth, as they can absorb nutrients through the skin and can go months without eating. Pretty freaky stuff, and we haven’t even talked about their slime-producing capabilities.

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Rat King – Russian Farmer Finds Five Rats With Their Tails Mysteriously Knotted Together

Reports of the bizarre rat king phenomenon date back to the 16th century, but the recent discovery of a Russian farmer who found five small rats with their tails tied in a giant knot is once again causing scientists to scratch their heads.

A rat king occurs when the tails of multiple rodents become so entangled that even an adult human, let alone a creature without opposable thumbs and advanced brain, would have trouble detangling. Rat kings have been reported numerous times since the mid-16th century, but scientists have yet to properly understand how and why it occurs, or even if it is a natural phenomenon or just a man-made hoax. The discovery of a new rat king in a flooded field in Russia has once again brought the very existence of the phenomenon into the debate.

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Cat Miraculously Survives 52 Days Alone Locked in an Abandoned House

A lucky cat somehow managed to survive 52 days locked in an abandoned house in the Dutch town of Vlaardingen, eating paper and struggling to find water sources.

At the end of last month, the new owners of a house in Vlaardingen were shocked to see a thin, visibly malnourished cat race past them as they opened the front door of their property. They had bought the place at an auction, so this was the first time they set foot in it. Animal Shelter Vlaardingen was contacted and they managed to catch the feline and started an investigation. It turns out that the former owner had disappeared on July 1st and the cat had been struggling to survive by itself ever since.

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The Parlor Roller – A Unique Pigeon Breed That Does Backflips Instead of Flying

Although there are plenty of flightless bird species on Earth, the Parlor Roller pigeon is believed to be the only one selectively bred by humans until it lost its capacity to take to the skies and developed a completely new and bizarre means of getting around – backflips.

Seeing a parlor roller pigeon roll on the ground, you would think it was having some sort of seizure, but in reality, the birds are rolling on the ground because it comes naturally to them. No one knows exactly how or when the breed was created, but experts and enthusiasts speculate that its origins can be traced back to mid-19th century Scotland when someone probably encountered a specimen with a slight tendency to roll on the ground and decided it was worth emphasizing via selective breeding. It is believed that over years of selective breeding, pigeons that rolled over long distances were obtained.

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Sabethes – The World’s Most Beautiful Mosquito

I can think of a few adjectives to describe mosquitoes, but ‘beautiful’ is definitely not one of them. However, there is one notable exception – Sabethes cyaneus, a tropical breed of mosquito that can certainly be called eye-catching.

Found in the tropical forests of central and South America, the Sabethes mosquito is an elusive breed famous for its iridescent blue color and feather-like paddles formed by elongated scales, located on the tibia of each middle leg. The two hind legs arching over the body of the mosquito as it is feeding are also impressive and help build the Sabethes’ majestic appearance. Marveling at its beauty is a privilege, as this breed is well-known for being extremely skittish and difficult to photograph well.

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The Double-Nosed Andean Tiger Hound Actually Has Two Noses

Once believed to be the stuff of legends, the double-nosed andean tiger hound is an extremely rare dog breed used by Bolivian hunters to track jaguars through the Amazon rainforest.

The first mention of double-nosed dogs in the Amazon jungle can be traced back to 1913, when legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcet told tales of such animals on his return from an expedition. No one believed him, they laughed at his stories, and the double-nosed dog remained a cryptozoological beast up until the mid-2000s, when Colonel John Blashford-Snell returned with photographic evidence of the dog’s existence. It’s an extremely rare breed believed to only exist in Bolivia, where it is used to track jaguars because of their enhanced sense of smell.

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This Popular Chicken Breed Looks Like a Living Color-by-Number Drawing

The Sebright is a popular breed of ornamental chickens whose laced plumage makes white specimens look like living, breathing color-by-number drawings.

Named after its creator, Sir John Saunders Sebright, this popular chicken breed is a true bantam – a miniature bird with no corresponding large version – as well as one of the oldest British bantams and the first poultry to have its own dedicated fan club. Their small size means they are not kept for meat production like most other chicken breeds, and they also lay tiny white eggs. This is a purely decorative breed whose laced plumage makes it stand out to enthusiasts.

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The Danish Protest Pig – A Rare Breed Designed to Be a Living, Breathing Flag

Husum Red Pied is a rare domestic pig breed popularly known as the Danish Protest Pig because its whole reason for being was to imitate the Danish country flag at a time when an actual flag could not be raised.

The story of the Danish Protest Pig can be traced back to the mid 19th century when Denmark and Prussia went to war over control of the southern Jutland Peninsula. The two countries couldn’t decide where the border between their lands was, so they eventually went to war. In 1848, Denmark won the war and the claim to the contested land, but only a decade later the Second Schleswig War erupted, and this time Prussia emerged victorious. In the years that followed, Prussian authorities launched a campaign against anything Danish, especially the Danish flag, which didn’t sit too well with farmers in the disputed Jutland territory. So they devised a cunning plan to bypass the ban…

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Woman Banned From Belgian Zoo Over “Relationship” With Chimpanzee

A Belgian woman has been issued a ban by the Antwerp Zoo, because of her close “relationship” with a male chimp that she had been visiting frequently for years.

Adie Timmermans has been visiting Chita, a 38-year-old male chimpanzee, for at least four years, and claims that they’ve developed a very powerful bond that can be described as a “relationship”. However, the animal caretakers at Antwerp Zoo believe this relationship has been causing social problems for Chita within her group of chimps. Because he is so close to Adie, Chita is ignored by the other primates and is not considered part of the pack. To improve his relationship with his own kind, the zoo recently issued a contact ban, forbidding Timmermans from getting too close to Chita’s enclosure, and instructing her to avoid making eye contact with the animal. 

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Lightning Strike Instantly Kills 550 Grazing Sheep

Georgian media recently released disturbing footage of over 500 sheep killed by a single lightning strike while grazing on a mountain pasture in Ninotsminda, southern Georgia.

According to news reports, on August 9th, Nikolay Levanov, a sheep owner from the village of Tambovka, received a distressing phone call from his sheepherder telling him that over a hundred of his sheep had been killed in a thunderstorm. What Levanov didn’t know was that along with his own flock, nearly 400 other sheep had been killed by the same lightning strike. Luckily, the sheepherder himself had only been knocked unconscious by the lightning and eventually recovered.

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Bodacious, the Meanest, Most Dangerous Rodeo Bull That Ever Was

Riding rodeo bulls is dangerous by definition, but one bull, in particular, gave even the world’s best riders such a hard time that he became known as the meanest rodeo bull in history. This is the story of the legendary Bodacious.

According to statistics, bull riding is the world’s most dangerous organized sport, recording more catastrophic injuries and fatalities than any other contact sport. Getting thrown around like a ragdoll or stomped on by a 900kg bull is anything but safe, and some bulls are particularly good at injuring the cowboys attempting to ride them. There are many legendary bulls in this sport, but none as famous and as feared as Bodacious, a mighty beast that was retired by its owner while in his prime for fear that he might end up killing a rider.

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This Shrimp Punches So Hard It Can Chip And Even Crack Fish Tanks

The peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) is recognized as having the fastest punch in the entire animal kingdom, with an acceleration comparable to a .22mm bullet fired out of a handgun.

One of several known mantis shrimp species, the O. Scyllarus is native to the seabed of the Indo-Pacific, from Guam to South Africa. It is an agile and active predator, using its club-shaped appendages to smash its prey, which mainly consists of other crustaceans, gastropods, and bivalves. The peacock mantis shrimp is known as a ‘smasher’ for a reason, as it uses its appendages to repeatedly deliver blunt force to its victims until it breaks their exoskeletons in order to reach the soft tissue underneath. Every blow travels at a speed of over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h), the fastest recorded punch of any living animal.

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Owner Runs With Disabled Dog in His Arms, Just So It Can Enjoy Running with the Pack

Canelo, a pit bull suffering from a debilitating medical condition that forbids him from moving normally, may just have the best dad in the world.

The heartwarming story of Canelo and his owner was shared on TikTok by the man’s daughter, Jooseline. She posted a touching video explaining that her pet dog was suffering from canine hypertrophic osteodystrophy, a condition that drastically restricts his mobility, making it painful for him to run with the family’s three other pit bulls. Sadly, hanging out with his brothers and running through the fields was his favorite pastime, so in order to let Canelo enjoy the experience despite his condition, Jooseline’s dad routinely picks him up and runs with him in his arms alongside the other dogs.

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This Australian River Valley Is Home to the World’s Largest Earthworms

The Bass River Valley of South Gippsland, in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria is home to the world’s largest earthworms, which can grow up to 6.6 feet in length.

The giant Gippsland earthworm (Megascolides australis) is one of the world’s most elusive and fascinating creatures, able to survive in an environment completely changed by its human inhabitants and rarely showing up above ground. These enormous earthworms can only be found in a 150 square mile area, a habitat once blanketed by dense forests but that has now been completely converted to farmland. Apart from its size, this ability to survive in a landscape in which the native vegetation has been entirely removed is another fascinating trait of the giant Gippsland earthworm.

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Jersey Giants – The Gentle Giants of the Chicken World

Chickens have been around for about 10,000 years, and they come in all shapes and sizes, but if you want to know what the world’s biggest chicken breed is then you’re in luck, because today we’re featuring the Jersey Giant.

As the name suggests, the Jersey Giant was developed in the state of New Jersey, and it is the largest and heaviest of all chicken breeds. It was created in the late 19th century by John and Thomas Black, with the specific purpose of replacing the turkey as the most popular poultry meat at the time. The two brothers produced the impressive breed by crossing Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas, three other breeds of large chickens and for a while met the goal of creating an alternative to turkey meat.

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