– by Brendan Reid, Editor –
When you were a kid, there was nothing the world you wanted more then a pet hamster. Or a dog. Or a tiger. Or a unicorn, perhaps. But no matter which exotic or fantastical creature you wanted when you were young, you can rest assured that you’ll want these five animals even more. They’re so bizarre and adorable! And they actually exist, unlike that stegosaurus you were bugging your dad to resurrect for you all those years ago.
If there was ever a more ridiculous name for an animal on this Earth, you’d be hard pressed to find it. The dik-dik is a tiny little creature in the antelope family that lives in the bushlands of Africa, and it is by far the most adorable undulate I have ever seen. They grow to about 16 inches in height, and look like a deer that got caught in a shrink ray. They are named after for the shrill sound the species makes as a defense mechanism, and not after any endowment advantage, as I’m sure you were all thinking.
Also known as “the fox on stilts,” the maned wolf is one hilariously disproportionate creature. They look like foxes with exceptionally long legs, but are neither fox or wolf. The maned wolf is so unique that it has its very own genus, chrysocyon, which translates to “golden dog.” They are seriously mischievous looking animals, and is definitely the kind of creature you would a pack of at your command. Sadly, the maned wolf is endangered due to the destruction of its habitats in South America, and owning one as a pet would be quite illegal. But one can still dream!
What do you get when you cross an armadillo with an iguana? You may think the answer to such a question would be some unholy abomination, but you will change your mind when you catch an eyeful of the pangolin. Home to African, India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s the closest thing we’ll get to a Pokémon in the real world. They look like something out of the Jurassic period, or a mad scientist’s experiment, and are actually quite cute in their strangeness. They are indeed mammals, and are closely related to ant-eaters, but somewhere along the evolutionary chain decided to grow a protective shield of keratin scales. These scales have proven to be a liability as much as an advantage, for humans have hunted them relentlessly to make ornaments and clothes out of pangolin skin. Thankfully this practiced has slowed, and Pangolin populations are making a recovery.
Have you ever wanted a cat the size of a dog? You may not have realized that you did, but once you see the serval in action, you mind will undoubtedly be swayed. Much like the maned wolf, the serval is an animal that seems to have gotten all the wrong body parts. It has the body of a cheetah, a head that seems far to small, the ears of a bat, and legs so long they hardly seem practical. But indeed they are, for they give the serval incredible running and jumping abilities, and this comes very useful as it hunts in the African savannah. Like many other species on this list, the serval is endangered, and is the subject of numerous conservation efforts. Thank goodness too! We need more hilarious looking servals in the world, so the other cats don’t get too full of themselves.
As delicious as they sound, the sugar glider is one marsupial that’s just too darn cute to fry up. Much like flying squirrels, sugar gliders have flaps of skin between their legs that allow them to glide through the air, and straight into your hearts (ok, I’ll stop now). Native to Australia, sugar gliders are especially awesome because it is legal the keep them as pets in many parts of the world, including the US. They are a big responsibility however, for they require lots of space to fly around in, and are notorious for defecating on just about everything they touch. All the same, if you are able to get over that hurdle, they make amazing companions, and will make any guests you have insanely jealous of your little buddy.