Tag Archives: odd creatures


Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Have you ever wandered through a parking lot and noticed tiny plants growing through the pavement? Have you wondered at the ivy and vines that seem to grow out of bricks and building sides? Have you puzzled over enormous roots that undulate over the ground like moray eels, yet seem to be without a tree trunk? Then you, my friend, have seen one of the trjábörkur, a complicated genus of sentient vegetative creatures.

This is Barkly, and he is a trjábörkur. He was found in a vacant lot that was being demolished for high-end condominiums, and rescued by a kind soul who appreciated his rakish smile. Oddly soothed by sea shanties, Barkly is nourished by the minuscule bacteria found in our air. If you notice him moving, he is dancing, imagining himself on a great ship cresting waves and meeting mermaids. What appears to be a grimace is actually the face of great contentment, something all trjábörkur share. We could learn a lot from these slow-moving, large-dreaming, oft-ignored creatures.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

In the Laboratory

Never cross-breed a donkey (Equus Asinus) with a miniature Peryton.

The result is a creature with a bad temper and poor reasoning skills.

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Happy Hagfish Day

The third Wednesday of October is Hagfish Day, created by Whaletimes.org to celebrate the beauty of ugly. According to WhaleTimes Director Ruth Musgrave, “Sometimes it seems as if ecological causes are popularity contests that exclude the less attractive and less well-known, though equally vulnerable, creatures. There are species in peril that kids never hear about.”


Copyright TFrank courtesy of whaletimes.org

So today, 19 October 2011, is Hagfish Day. Hagfish are the perfect poster-creatures for the holiday – they are boneless, scaleless and jawless deep-sea eel-like beings that ooze slime as a defense mechanism. It’s incredibly repulsive to predators. Of course, this smothering slime is also tough for the hagfish – if they don’t tied themselves in a knot to scrape the slime off, they can suffocate themselves.


Courtesy zoology.ubc.ca

Fact: a 20 inch hagfish can fill a 2 gallon bucket with slime in just minutes.

Hagfish are an important part of the world’s ecosystem; not only are they a food source for the likes of dolphins, sea lions, seals, porpoises, octopi and people, but they are also scavengers – cleaning the ocean floor of dead and dying fish and animals.

You of the faint of heart, skip this part: the hagfish enters the body of its prey and eats it from the inside out. It licks and scrapes off the flesh and organs with its tooth-covered tongue. When it’s finished, it leaves a skin sack filled with bones.

Disgusting. Amazing. Oddly beautiful. Oh, you disagree? Then put down those eelskin boots, because hagfish is the real “eel” used in eelskin products.

But it is not just the hagfish we should celebrate on Hagfish Day. Let us extol the virtues of the Blobfish,


the Sea Wolf,

Sea Wolf Trio

the Sea Pig,

Sea Pig

and the Galapagos Batfish, to name a few.


Galapagos Batfish courtesy http://uglyfishpix.blogspot.com

Celebrate the creatures, my dears. They deserve the accolades of a holiday. Baby seals and agile dolphins get so much of our attention, but they need these beautifully ugly creatures as much as we do.

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