Mother Nature Has A Great Sense Of Humor
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: what do you get when you cross a … oh, okay, I’ll stop myself.
We’ve all heard jokes surrounding the funny-looking combinations of creatures we can imagine up in our minds; no need to continue. Except … what if the funny-looking creature combinations weren’t just imaginary?
What if real-looking surprising animal mashups do exist and are just as odd-looking as those in our wildest imaginations?
You’re going to want to see these real animals:
1. What do you get when you cross a turtle and a hedgehog?
In a fantastical way, Rudyard Kipling’s The Beginning of the Armadillos tells the story of a tortoise and a hedgehog who turn themselves into armadillos by teaching each other their unique talents. The hedgehog teaches the armadillo how to curl up into his characteristic ball; the tortoise teaches the hedgehog how to swim, which strengthens his spine so that he develops the armadillos’ characteristic armor. Before either of them know it, they become the armadillo humans know today.
via flickr / Ben Cooper
In reality, National Geographic explains that armadillos are closely related to anteaters and sloths. They vary widely in size and color, from six inches to five feet. There are 20 varieties and all but one live in Latin America. Armadillos get their name from their armor, which Kipling fictionally attributes to the tortoise teaching the hedgehog to swim. They dig up burrows and can sleep up to 16 hours a day. Unfortunately, this funny-looking critter is threatened by habitat loss and over-hunting. That’s right: many cultures in the Americas hunt and eat armadillo flesh.
2. What do you get when you cross an anteater and an armadillo?
via Goway | Animals Adda
If you thought the armadillo was the funniest-looking creature you’d ever seen, meet the pangolin. The pangolin, or spiny anteater, is a mammal with keratin scales all over its body. Like the armadillo–or hedgehog–the pangolin can roll up into a tight ball. Pangolins can also spray a pungent warning. They can be found in tropical regions throughout Africa and Asia.
The truth: it is now known that pangolins are not related to armadillos or anteaters. The resemblances are nonetheless undeniable. Each eight species of pangolins are listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
3. What do you get when you cross a bat and a fox?
via Shutterstock / Eric Isselee | LIONAID
A Fruit Bat
These aren’t your average bats; they’re also known as flying foxes or megabats. Fruit bats are different from garden-variety bats because they do not use echolation to navigate. Instead, they rely on their large eyes and noses to sense things out; that’s why their faces resemble other land mammals’–like dogs. They are said to have started eating fruit because insect populations were too low to keep the bats healthy and happy.
4. What do you get when you cross a giraffe and a zebra?
via Wildlife Pictures Online / Scotch Macaskill
The okapi looks like one confused critter! It has zebra stripes, a giraffe’s head and short neck. This relative of the giraffe can be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as zoos. The coolest thing about this creature is that its tongue is long enough to lick its ears. Its stripes are said to camouflage the young okapis while running through the forest with their moms.
via Wikipedia / Charles Miller
5. What do you get when you cross a hoop snake and a lizard?
A Girded Lizard
This unique lizard protects itself by curling into a ball. In order to hold the curl, the lizard grabs its tail with its mouth. The spikes then create a barrier to any predator. To be clear, this crazy-cool-looking critter has no relation to the armadillo.
via tumblr / animalworld / Trevor Hardaker
6. What do you get when you cross a deer and a mouse?
The chevrotain looks like Mother Nature spent a little too much time playing around in Photoshop. Its long legs against the tiny body look funny to say the least. The chevrotain is the world’s smallest hoofed mammal, but it’s nothing to ignore; it has saber-like canine teeth for added charm.
via Wikipedia / Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
7. What do you get when you cross a duck with and beaver?
The platypus body combines the duck’s bill with the beaver’s tail. Mother Nature tossed in the venom of a snake and the feet of an otter just for kicks. This animal is quite remarkably unrelated to any of those other animals though.
via livescience / AMNH / R. Mickens
8. What do you get when you cross a prairie dog and an armadillo?
This critter from Argentina looks just like a prairie dog scooped up some fancy armor. The reality is that it is the world’s smallest kind of armadillo and it is endangered due to human destruction of its habitat and predators. These funny-looking critters are sluggish above ground, but can dig well with their mighty claws.
9. What do you get when you cross a pig and a squid?
A Piglet Squid
This rarely photographed, funny-looking critter likes to stay deep under the water. Piglet squids are named after their rotund shape and nothing else.
via The Telegraph / Caters
10. What do you get when you cross a goat with an elephant?
Saigas are roughly the same size as goats and they have similar trunks to elephants. Saigas are critically endangered antelopes–not goats or elephants–that live in the vast plains of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Saigas have been an important food source for nomadic people in the region.
11. What do you get when you cross a hamster with a pig?
A Honduran White Bat
This fuzzy, funny-looking ball of cuteness is a unique species of fruit bat that can actually create a tent for itself. The tent is made when the fruit bat cuts a leaf from a tree and folds it over its head. This tent serves as an alternative home to caves for these fuzz balls.
via Planeta Zoo
12. What do you get when you cross an ant and a bee or wasp?
A Velvet Ant
Mother Nature certainly has a sense of humor here. I mean this ant-like bee-wasp or bee-like ant-wasp is actually just a wasp–plain and simple. The females are wingless, so they crawl like ants all day until the males swoop in. Their stings are so painful that they have been called “cow killers.”