New Marsupials Discovered

Two new species found in Australia

At the beginning of 2020, hearts broke around the world as we watched fires rage in Australia. The outcome was far from good, and too many tragedies have happened since. This news doesn't make up for it, but it is a nice way to end the year.

Two new species of marsupial were discovered in Australia and they are the most adorable little gifts we could receive in a year like this. The greater glider is a fluffy, charming critter that looks more like an extra from Fraggle Rock than something of this world. The southern species is even cuter with its long, fluffy tail. Check them out here.

What other fun animal news have you read this week? Share it in the chat.

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Octopus Arms Help Them Taste Food

What an interesting adaptation!

This week I learned that not only are fish fins possibly as sensitive as human fingers, but that octopuses taste their food when they touch it! Experts say that their eight arms are like "tongues with brains," helping them "lick" food to try it before opting to eat it. That seems like a blessing and a curse, doesn't it? Who wants to just grab something and taste it?

For me it also makes the whole tentacled monster thing even creepier. The tentacles are reaching out for you--but also sampling a snack! Ew. Truly it is a helpful adaptation, though, since the creatures often hunt "blindly" in crevices they can't see.

What other cool and weird adaptations have you read about this week?

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New Coral Reef Found

It's the hope we need in 2020

Many people are well aware of the dangers of acidification upon the world's diverse array of coral reefs and how terrible the bleaching has left these once abundant ecosystems. It's downright depressing to think about, but there is still hope.

A huge coral reef has been discovered off the coast of Australia and scientists say that it's larger than the Empire State Building. It's very exciting news and hopefully means that the planet may be doing a little better than we think. 

Have you read any other great environmental news this week? Share it in the chat!

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Crab Evolution

Several species have gone crabby

Did you know that various crustaceans have evolved into the shape of a crab multiple times over the years? It's a natural form of evolution that species sometimes use to adapt to an environment. It makes sense for multiple species to have similar adaptations when they face the same challenges and have the same needs as one another.

That said, the fact that there are so many crabs that weren't once crabs does seem a little ominous, mostly given to the fact that crabs themselves are a bit creepy, aren't they? This form of evolution is also specifically referred to as carcinisation, which sounds like something your lungs do after you smoke for decades.

What other animals have had weird adaptations? Share them in the chat!

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Wild! Weird! Wonderful! Maine

What secrets does your state have?

Author Earl Brechlin has penned a new book called Wild! Weird! Wonderful! Maine, a collection of 300 true stories about oddities in the state. They range from crytpid creatures to ghastly ghost stories, UFOs to simple weird local traditions, and it looks like a really fun read.

Brechlin is a self-described lover of Maine, which adds much more fun and vibrancy to his writing, which spans over more than three decades. It really makes you wonder about what creepy, wild and wonderful things are out there in each state's rich history.

Does your state have a book like this published? What are your favorite local oddities? Share them in the chat.

See-Through Critters

There may be more than you think!

When I was 22 years old, I gave birth three months prematurely due to preeclamsia. My 25-week-old baby only weighed 13 ounces and I could see right through that teeny, tiny micropreemie body. After that experience, you can bet that I'm not surprised by any creature being see-through.

Transparent for life, though? That's something else entirely. Several species are just that, and they are fascinating. The glass frog, sea walnut, glasswing butterfly and these other species are a few prime examples, not counting animals that are nearly see-through, like the African dwarf frogs my kiddo adopted years after being see-through.

What other cool see-through species do you know about? Share them in the chat.

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Striped Copperheads Exist

This makes my brain hurt!

There are lots of copperheads, brown recluses and other harmful critters where I live, and I'm right next to some woods where we see just about everything--even turkeys! So when I heard that it's possible for copperheads to have stripes, it made my stomach twist in a knot. That's something we've been trained since childhood to recognize in order to avoid venomous snakes.

Luckily this is a very rare find, but it's a mutation that's definitely possible and now I'm going to rethink every snake I see. It doesn't help that you really don't have long to identify them before they strike sometimes--especially if there's one waiting for you on the porch on a hot day like I had happen a few years ago!

What other animal mutations have you read about this week? Share them in the chat.

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Strangest Animals Eaten Around the World

What have you heard of?

While people love to complain about Covid-19 being spread potentially via bat, we should acknowledge that eating any animal holds potential risk. I'm no longer a vegetarian but I do know that much of the meat we eat is what makes us sick in the first place. 

That's why when I read about people eating guinea pigs, alligators and other forms of wildlife it gives me pause. Why tempt fate like this? And is eating any animal really so different from eating one's own dog or cat? They all have personalities and are sentient beings. Then you see people eating cobra and insects and you think... Ew. Even though insects provide a lot of nutrition at litle cost. 

What are the strangest animals you've ever heard of anyone eating? Share them in the chat.

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Animals Acting Weird

Sometimes it's our best entertainment

Sometimes when our animals act weird, it's scary. We have to take them to the vet to see what's going on. But most of the time, it's a source for entertainment that can often be the highlight of our day. Check out this cat to see what I mean!

My dogs, cats and chickens can get all kinds of weird. My dogs are so smart--they're heeler mixes--and they know how to manipulate me like nobody else! My cats are so quirky and have their own unique personalities and silly ways of behaving that crack us up. I've never had two pets exactly alike in my life. Have you?

How quirky is your pet? Share your pet's weirdness in the chat!

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Best Weird Animals of Sci-Fi

Share your faves!

Lovecraft Country is my favorite series of 2020, which is saying a lot given how much I loved The Witcher. I know there are only a few stories in the book so I have high hopes that they'll be able to continue for many more seasons. I already love most of the changes they've made. 

But the monsters! Oh the weird animals are the BEST, aren't they? If you've seen it, you know how Lovecraftian they all have been so far and I can't wait to see what other monsters are in store.

What are your favorite weird animals of the scifi realm? Share them in the chat!