While browsing the internet, I've came upon this really interesting article about little animals, and knowing how you all like them I've decided to share it with you.
Americans like things big; like big cars, big portions of food, big screen TVs… You get the idea. These animals are proof that Mother Nature is probably European, because these animals display the kind of forward thinking efficiency that many European manufacturers employ. They are also really, really small.
I just hope there aren’t too many called “pygmy” animals.
1. Miniature horses
When I first saw that picture, I was convinced it was photo-shopped. I mean seriously, that isn’t a horse; that is a Barbie toy. Then I saw this, and my mind was blown. Miniature horses are typically less than 3 feet tall, which makes riding them a bit difficult, but they aren’t ponies, they are real horses.
People sometimes train them as service animals (be the first on your block with a “Seeing Eye Horse”), and even as house pets, since I presume they make tiny road apples. However, they are still horses when it comes down to it, and their natural reaction to being scared is to run like hell, so they won’t be replacing your Black Lab anytime soon for those long walks in the woods playing fetch.
2. Brazilian golden frog
I have seen small frogs before, but in every case they were barely more than pollywogs without a tail. That thing in the picture is a full grown adult. Wikipedia makes the distinction that this is the smallest frog in the Southern Hemisphere, the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere being Eleutherodactylus Iberia, which I couldn’t find any pictures of. The adults of the northern frog top out at 8.5 mm while the Brazilian Golden reaches a “massive” 9.8 mm.
On the plus side, they are a brightly colored frog from South America that isn’t covered in neurotoxin, like poison arrow frogs but it does make them tiny, crunchy food for practically anything that eats meat. They are also endangered, but listed on the IUCN rating system as “Least Concern”, so there are no “save the tiny Brazilian Frog” funds.
3. Kitti's Hog Nosed Bat
Also called the Bumblebee bat, they are tiny bats from Thailand that reach no more than 1.3 inches. They are one of the world’s very few animals with a spine that is in danger of being taken out by a flyswatter, but apparently habitat encroachment is what is doing them in, although I would not have been even a little bit surprised to find out “Bigger bats” made the list of things that kill them.
They have so much head and ear fur that their eyes are barely visible, and although they usually only cluster in groups of 10-15, they can sometimes form swarms of up to 500, which is actually quite a bit more terrifying than a mosquito swarm. Fortunately, they are insectivores, so no one is in danger of being drained by a swarming mass of tiny vampires.
4. Pygmy hippo
These things have always struck me as weird. Regular hippos are several tons of violent terror; they apparently are the deadliest animal in Africa. Yes, yes, I know, Mosquitoes kill more than anything, but I have had to argue with people to get them to wear bug spray to avoid dying (people have contracted EEE and West Nile where I live, but people still refuse to wear it). If we had hippo swarms, I can guarantee they would wear hippo spray to avoid being mauled. The pygmies, though, are downright cute. They are like the hippo version of a dog that always stays a puppy.
They have the unfortunate position of living in Liberia of all places, meaning one of the causes for their endangered status (yep, another endangered one) is “war”. On the plus side, they do well in captivity and also breed well, so they have a nice strong zoo population to fall back on. On that note, there is an interesting story about a former president and a pygmy hippo; Harvey Firestone (the tire guy) gave one to Calvin Coolidge, who donated it to the Smithsonian. His name was Billy, and Billy was a testament to how willing these guys are to breed in captivity; almost every pygmy hippo in a zoo in America is related to Billy.
5. Pygmy hog
…I find it incredibly interesting that this isn’t called a “pygmy pig”. That just seems like it should be; it’s fun to say at any rate. Guess what? They are endangered. Surprised? Neither am I (any more). They used to range all over southern Asia, but these days they figure there are about 150 of them left. To put that into perspecitve, my graduating class from High School was about 300 people. More kids graduated from my (horrible) high school than there are pygmy pigs in the world.
They do have the most awesome pig genus name, however, Porcula. That immediatley conjures an image of a tiny pig with fangs and speaks like Bella Lugosi. Efforts to conserve them have been hampered by the fact that they arent as cute as Bengal Tigers and Indian Rhinos. Ouch. Thanks to these piggies not being marketable, we may never know the joy of tiny BLT sandwiches, so act quickly if you want to try one. (Note; do not go kill endangered pigs for bacon)
6. Pygmy marmoset
Taxonomy clearly does not have a prize for originality. What could have been easily called a “Tiny finger-monkey” instead was just called “pygmy” like every other tiny animal. Their bodies (minus tail) grows to be only 6 inches long, and they are apparently fast as hell, so studying them in the wild is pretty much impossible. That said, apparently they can live to be 10-12 in the wild, although I have no idea how they determine that (maybe they just ask?)
Pygmy Marmosets have a complex set of communications open to them; vocal chemical and physical. They whistle when there is danger, and I am assuming they do a mean Charleston when excited. They are omnivores, eat fruit, bugs and even hunting down tiny reptiles (imagine tiny tan Na’vi) but spend most of their time boring tiny monkey holes in trees and drinking their sap, like a miniature primate vampire.
7. Toy dogs
I think I speak for all of us when I say, Awww… look at the puppy…. Toy dogs range from annoying (teacup poodles) to awesome (miniature pinschers). They are tiny versions of real regular dogs, and as such, have no real concept that they are, in fact, usually too small to be effective at much of anything. On the other hand, since “adorable” is usually the only requirement in their job description, I can give them some leeway there.
I personally like small dogs, having had a beagle and a beagle-dachshund, and both the full blood (deceased) and my current dog are awesome, and convenient. We also have a dog that weighs around 70 lbs. Guess which one is easier to keep in line?
8. Pygmy rabbit
Jesus, another pygm… Awwww, look at the bunny! Pygmy rabbits are made up of equal parts fuzz and cute, mixed together with marshmallow dreams and cotton balls. Seriously, have you ever seen anything so cute in your life? It’s enough to make a demon want to give a little scratch to him.
They are another (Jesus!) endangered species. Nature apparently hates a vacuum, and tiny animals. They top out at one pound and nine inches, and are quite possibly pure evil, because nothing that cute is not hiding something. They come from the west and northwest of the US, and while one subspecies has died out as a pure bloodline, they are being bred with the Idaho variety to make sure they don’t die out entirely. Screw you, nature. Screw you for killing off the closest thing we will ever come to a real life Care Bear or My Little Pony character.
9. Vechur cow
Score! A tiny food animal that isn’t endangered! This must be where “sliders” at TGI Friday’s come from. Vechur cows are a rare breed from India (damnit, I guess that means we can’t eat them) that are prized for their superior milk production/food eaten ratio (they eat little and make a shitload of milk). Supposedly a Scottish company tried to patent their genes back in 2000, although they denied the claim, which isn’t surprising. That would be like trying to patent “books” because no one had done it yet.
I could find surprisingly little on these, which is a shame. There is nothing I don’t find interesting about beef, but that is likely due to my addiction to cheeseburgers (I’m kind of like Wimpy from Popeye. Except thinner, with a goatee).
10. African pygmy mouse
African (sigh)Pygmy mice are surprisingly awesome little creatures. They are like some sort of real-world version of a fantasy creature. Get this; they stack pebbles in front of their little mouse burrows at night. Overnight, the pebbles collect dew, which the tiny mouse then runs up and drinks first thing in the morning, before running back to their tiny dens to presumably slumber once more with fairies to the songs of dryads and pixies.
They also have a “unique” arrangement of their chromosomes that leads to the occasional XY chromosome mouse being female. So they are part fairy, part alien and part mouse. Tiny, 1 to 3 inch mouse.
(source: Weird Worm)