Earlier this year we told you about a dozen true-to-life animals that seem better suited to the pages of a certain anime than the jungle. Thankfully, nature is generous when it comes to producing completely whacked-out organisms. Here are 12 more animals that we can’t believe really exist.
1. Brazilian Tree Hopper
The Facts: Yes, this insect is totally for real, a leaf eating and glory bush dwelling bug that scientists affectionately call Bocydium globulare. The elaborate ornamentation on the thorax is somewhat of a mystery, but they’re definitely — and perhaps disappointingly — not eyes. Those hairy protruding balls could prevent predators from grabbing hold and chomping down. Another possibility is that the bristles perform an unknown tactile function. (Image: Patrick Landmann)
Why It’s a Pokémon: Well, first of all, it has a set of "hairy protruding balls" on its back. That's more than enough right there to prove that there's nothing natural about this critter. Clearly, one of Nintendo's poor, overworked Pokémon designers had to pick a creature and an object randomly, and came up with "bug" and "weather vane" and then called it a day. The balls' hairiness is evidence that the Brazilian Tree Hopper's main attack is "Teabag."
2. Red-Lipped Batfish
The Facts: Also known as the Galapagos batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini), this strangely shaped fish feeds on other small fish and small crustaceans like shrimps and mollusks. But it’s a very poor swimmer. So poor, in fact, that it has to use its pectoral fins to hop around the ocean floor. Its spine-like dorsal fin is used as a lure for prey, and it has a structure on its head, called an illicum, that also attracts prey. (Image: National Geographic)
Why It’s a Pokémon: There are already a few Pokémon that either wear make-up or have evolved to appear to wear make-up, most prominently the Water Pokémon Goldeen (lipstick) and Alomomola (mascara). So honestly, another fish wearing lipstick is pretty much par for the Pokémon course. It's a shame that the Batfish feels the need to compensate for society's concepts of beauty by applying make-up, if only because it's not helping, and also it makes me wonder if its trying to get humans to have sex with it. However, "emotional instability" is another Pokémon hallmark, so oh well.
3. Giant Pyrosome Colony
The Facts: The pyrosome is the ocean’s true unicorn — a translucent, cylindrical colony of hundreds or even thousands of individual filter-feeders called tunicates.
Unlike most tunicates, which often attach themselves to one another and the ocean floor, pyrosomes are free-floating. They can range anywhere from a few millimeters to several meters in length, and glide around the ocean's warmer upper layers via jet power.
The pyrosome is not to be confused with the blobs of eggs produced by the diamond- shaped squid, Thysanoteuthis rhombus.
Why It’s a Pokémon: Because it's clearly not a real animal. It's a tangled bunch of plastic grocery bags you see floating in a pool while you're tripping on LSD. Pokémon have an aggravating habit of combining with each other to form what is generally deemed a single organism — Dugtrios and Magnetons among them, both groups of which merge into a single organism when evolving — and this iridescent asshole seems to be more of the same.
4. Hot Pink Slug
The Facts: This terrestrial mollusk lives on Mount Kaputar, a remote mountaintop in New South Wales, Australia — the only place on Earth where slugs like this are known to reside. They bury themselves in leaf mould during the day, and often come out at night in the hundreds to feed off the mould and moss on trees.
Why It’s a Pokémon: Look, I think we all know nature lost its fluorescent crayons shortly after designing the plant world, so someone else had to find the Flamingo Pink Crayola needed to design this thing. This thing screams half-assed marketing decision, probably some kind of misguided attempt to raise Pokémon interest among girls. "Okay, you have a slug Pokémon. Sales among girls are down by 5%, so let's make this guy hot pink. Girls still like pink, right?" At least they didn't put make-up on it.
5. Atretochoana eiselti
The Facts: Also referred to as the “penis worm,” this creature is neither a penis nor a worm. It’s actually a tetrapod — the largest one known to lack lungs. And in fact, scientists aren’t even sure how it breathes.
It’s got a broad and flat head, sealed nostrils, an enlarged mouth with a mobile cheek, and a fleshy dorsal fin. Atretochoana are extremely rare, and were known from only two preserved specimens until its rediscovery two years ago. (Images: Musa Sudai)
Why It’s a Pokémon: Nope, that's totally a penis. I mean... it's not even slightly not a penis. Hell, you know all those adult hentai anime where tentacles start getting fresh with sailorsuit-ed schoolgirls? That's what this is. There's no doubt in my mind. Obviously, some wiseass/pervert at Nintendo managed to slip this one by the censors, possibly just before he was fired. Stay turned for a tremendous amount of erotic fan art about these guys assaulting Misty and Nurse Joy, if there isn't some already.
6. Sea Pig
The Facts: The sea pig, Scotoplanes, is actually a sea cucumber. They live on deep ocean bottoms, especially on the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean. They get their food by pulling organic particles from deep sea mud. They’re particularly fond of whale corpses. Sea pigs have particularly large tube feet that have taken on a very leg-like appearance. It’s the only known example of legged locomotion amongst the holothurians — and they use water cavities within the skin (rather than within the leg itself) to inflate and deflate the appendages. (Image: Photomonde.fr)
Why It’s a Pokémon: Oh, a pink blob with pointy bits? How original, Sea Pig. It's not like Jigglypuff, Clefairy, Chansey and all their other evolutions don't already have this base completely covered. And don't talk to us about all your chubby little legs, because you're clearly overcompensating for your lack of originality. Also, I'm pretty sure someone tried to draw eyes on you with a magic marker.
7. Sheepshead Fish
The Facts: This handsome critter was named for Brooklyn’s Sheepshead’s Bay, but it’s most found in southern waters around the mid-Atlantic and Texas. It’s got a hard mouth with several rows of stubby — and disturbingly human-like — teeth. More formally known as Archosargus probatocephalus, this fish is edible, but it’s notorious for stealing bait. Its diet consists primarily of oysters, clams, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans. (Image: Zuzu)
Why It’s a Pokémon: There are literally 23 fish-inspired Pokémon currently, all of them with weird little visual flairs like the aforementioned lipstick, an overbite, a seashell bra, and even a convenient carrying handle. So in order to stand out, the Sheepshead Fish has decided to have human teeth, a visual that makes me cry and want to throw up at the same time. Look, Sheepshead. When the giant prehensile penis is less disturbing than you are, it's time to go back to the drawing board.
8. Andean Cock-Of-The-Rock
The Facts: This medium-sized bird lives in the Andean cloud forests of South America and is considered the national bird of Peru. The males of this species exhibit a dramatic sexual dimorphism — a large disk-like crest and scarlet of bright orange plumage. While competing for females, the males show off their colorful plumage by bobbing and hopping around, while making a variety of calls. After mating, the female cock-of-the-rock lays her eggs in a nest under a rocky overhang. She rears the young by herself. (Photo: nathaninsandiego via WTFEvolution?)
Why It’s a Pokémon: Well, to be fair, this may actually be a Muppet. The red fur — feather than look exactly like fur, fine, whatever — the bulbous nose, the glued-on googly eyes... I'm pretty sure this thing is a cousin to the "Manana" creatures. If it is a Pokémon, someone at the Jim Henson Company's legal department needs to draw up a cease-and-desist stat. Also, while "Cock-of-the-rock" sounds too filthy to be an actual Pokémon name, Cockotharock is like the most Pokémon-y name ever.
9. Goblin Shark
The Facts: Considered a living fossil, the rare goblin shark lives deep in the ocean. It’s the only living representative of the Mitsukurinidae family, a lineage that goes back about 125 million years.
Adults grow to about 10- to 13-feet long and feature a long flattened snout and highly protrusible jaws (watch the video below to see what we mean). Its long snout is covered with a specialized organ that enable it to sense minute electric fields produced by nearby prey, which it then snatches up by rapidly extending and snapping its horrendous-looking jaws. (Images: Dianne Bray / Museum Victoria)
Why It’s a Pokémon: What would happen if you merged a piranha, a nightmare and piñata, and then left it out in the rain overnight? The Goblin Shark, apparently. It's too cute to be properly monstrous, but its terrifying fangs are so ridiculously oversized it can't possible be real, which, by default, makes it a Pokémon. The big horn and the odd eye placement merely confirms this was drawn by a harried Japanese artist at 11 p.m. at night, desperately wishing he could go home and see his family, and drunk off Asahi Super Dry Beer. No sober person would ever design this thing.
10. Giant Isopod
The Facts: The aptly name Bathynomus giganteus is the largest isopod in the world — and in fact, it’s an excellent example of deep-sea gigantism. It lives in the cold, deep waters of the Atlantic and can grow up to 7.5 to 14 inches in length (19 to 36 cm) and weigh upwards of 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg).
These ginormous isopods feature a body that closely resembles that of their terrestrial cousin, the woodlouse. And like the woodlouse, they can curl up into a ball, leaving only the shell exposed (a protection against predators). They’re scavengers, feeding on dead whales, fish, and squid. But they may also hunt slow-moving animals like sea cucumbers, sponges, and perhaps even live fish. In fact, some have been known to attack trawl catches. (Images: Littoraria)
Why It’s a Pokémon: Okay, that's a bug with a creamy caramel center. Pokémon has its share of shelled insect creature, including the legendarily useless Metapod and his "Harden" maneuver (stop giggling). The Giant Isopod is about the size of a bowling ball, which means that's exactly what its main attack is. You can't tell me you can't imagine Ash or Brock rolling this bad boy into Team Rocket, and knocking them all down complete with a "toppling bowling pin" sound effect.
11. Chinese Giant Salamander
The Facts: This is the largest salamander — and largest amphibian — in the world. It’s currently on the critically endangered list because its delicious and because it’s frequently used in folk medicine. Specimens have been known to reach upwards of 6 feet (180 cm). It feeds on insects, frogs, and fish, but it has very, very small eyes, requiring it to use special sensory nodes that run in a line from it’s body from head to tail. The giant salamander also vocalizes, making barking, whining, hissing, and crying sounds. In fact, it often sounds like a young human child, which is why locals refer to it as the “infant fish.” (Image: Digistream)
Why It’s a Pokémon: Is... is that poop? Wait, are those limbs? Is this giant ambulatory shit? Oh, it's a salamander. Oh. But a salamander that sounds like a human child? That's fucked up, but extremely Pokémon-ish. I mean, most Pokémon sound like humans trying to do silly, high-pitched voices anyways, so I think it's pretty obvious this dude is a Pokémon. Besides, Slugma is a slug made entirely out of magma; I don't know why Pokémon wouldn't also have a salamander made entirely out of... you know.
12. Feral Africanus Dogs of Africa
The Facts: Not to be confused with the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), these are actual, previously domesticated dogs of the Africanis breed that have returned to the wild. They can be found in rural parts of South Africa and tend to avoid human contact. This picture of a feral dog was taken by Daniel Naudeé near Mozambique. “I had to lay a trail of breadcrumbs to get this feral dog on to the rocks,” he says. “People sometimes ask if he's stuffed.”
Why It’s a Pokémon: What the hell? That's not a dog, that's just a dog drawn poorly. Clearly, the art team was forced to hire some Director of Business Development's untalented nephew, and this is what he came up with. "What? This is the best dog you could draw? The head is completely out of scale — it's like you put a puppy's head on a full-grown labrador! You know what, we're on deadline, fuck it. We'll call it Noggin Doggin. Now get me a goddamn coffee."
[Shout-out to Bored Panda]