There are a LOT of animals being saved from extinction…rhinos, cheetahs, snow leopards, etc,. Most of them are regal or furry or cute or just plain huggable.
The Weta Punga are not ANY of those things.
Weta Punga literally means “God of Ugly Things”.
The Weta are squirrel-sized insects that can only be described as terrifying. But that’s not stopping a group of animal lovers from bringing the animal back from the edge of extinction. Once the weta flourished in and around the islands of New Zealand. Invasive and non-native species took care of that until only small numbers of the giant insect remained.
Researchers in Auckland began a breeding program to…uh…yay…bring back the populations of weta that once roamed the islands.
Between this year and last almost 400 of these creepers were released into the wild to bring back nightmares to anyone visiting the islands.
Any time you mention the word ‘reindeer’ most people conjure up a fond memories of Rankin/Bass Christmas specials from their childhood, sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or just freak out because you just reminded them they’re only three shopping days left until Christmas.
Unless, of course, you live in Finland….
Where you’ll probably have nightmares about eerily glowing reindeers who wander the forests at night.
Every year in Finland, almost 4,000 potential sleigh-pulling reindeer are struck by motorists. In order to protect these animals and save Christmas, the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association (yep…it’s a thing) has come up with an idea that will probably result in more motorist crashes when drivers try to avoid killing what looks like a ghost-demon reindeer.
By painting the reindeer’s antlers with reflective paint, the Finnish Reindeer Herders Association is hoping to keep the mayhem to a minimum next year. They’re currently just splashing the reflective tape on the animals’ fur to test the theory while Canada, who’s suffering similar issues, simply wants to paint some reflective lines on the road and maybe put up a sign saying, “SLOW DOWN OR YOU’LL PROBABLY KILL A REINDEER!”
We’re looking forward to posting stories about people who do NOT know this is going on in the wilds of Finland and post stories to the internet about “Satan’s Reindeer”, “Reindeer Ghosts of Christmas” or the conspiracy stories that Nikola Tesla once developed a freaky form of reindeer that channels electricity through its eye-holes and antlers.
No…really…look at that picture up there…eight of those, and one with who-knows-what coming out of its nose, will be on your roof in a couple of months.
Shel Silverstein once had a poem about a snail that lived in your nose and would bite your finger off.
Maybe he was inspired by something that’s been going on in Africa that nobody’s ever paid much attention to…until now…
A US pathobiological science professor returned home from an excursion to Africa. Three days later he discovered he’d picked up a small hitchhiker. That small hitchhiker was a tick. It had hitched a ride inside his nose!
After removing the tick using forceps, a mirror and a small torch, the tick was hustled off to Georgia where its DNA was sequenced revealing that this little world traveler might possibly be an entirely new species.
Tony Goldberg, the professor harboring this tiny nightmare in his nose, is now rethinking his theories about how chimps and humans exchange pathogens. Upon further research, reports and high resolution photos turned up these same ticks hiding in chimps’ noses as well.
In a statement we can all relate to, Goldberg says, “”When you first realize you have a tick up your nose, it takes a lot of willpower not to claw your face off.”
We couldn’t agree more…and we don’t even have ticks in our noses.
Back in 1989 two marine invertebrate biologists were discussing the subject of new species when the both went ‘whoa’ realizing that they’d independently discovered the same creature 1,000 miles apart. One scientist found them in Morro Bay, California while the other scientist discovered them on urchins on Vancouver Island in British Colombia.
Living on the finer spines which rest closer to the body of sea urchins, the Waldo Arthuri, is a small (0.2 inches long) clam-like creature that travels around like a snail. Because the little guys are so fragile it’s been hard for the researchers to really analyze them although they’ve been able to extract DNA which has led them to declare this a new species that’s not documented yet.
Why these things live on urchins is still an unknown.
“What they get out of the relationship is pretty mysterious. The urchin might provide shelter to the clam, and there might be food flowing in the water to the urchin that the clam might be able to filter out and benefit from. What the clam gives to its host, if anything, is pretty unknown.”
Watch as this door opens up and something spills straight out of this closet and into your nightmares.
This is Julius and yes…this thing DID learn to open even round doorknobs. So you’re really not safe anywhere.
Julius passed away in 2012 from an infection that her vet could not diagnose. While we’re saddened about that…we’re glad that Julius didn’t get the chance to visit Florida and teach the rampant pythons here this trick.
That would’ve finally dumped the Sunshine State into the hellmouth it currently sits on.
It wasn’t too long ago that North America’s Hellmouth of a state was calling for people to go out into the wild and bag/kill as many giant pythons as they possibly could.
Now that that’s yesterday’s Nature versus Humankind battle is over, everyone’s favorite birthing place of weird EVERYTHING is taking us back to the good old days of that era of 1970s horror films when piranha, worms, snakes, rats, bears and even tadpoles decided they were tired of sharing the planet with us.
Just what the hell is this new scourge that’s coming to wreak havoc upon us now?
Brace yourselves, people…
And they’re exactly the kind of snails some of you are imagining right now…
Giant African Snails that can grow to 8 inches long, devour 500 different species of plants and (you’re going to slap your face like Maculay Culkin in Home Alone right about now) they are tearing through stucco and peoples’ homes! Not only that but the snails’ shells are big enough to puncture car tires because they’re Frogger-like skills are nonexistent!
Spiders are a little creepy to most people, right?
Well that other percent that didn’t think they were creepy? You can come join the rest of us now.
You’re walking through the woods and notice an interesting looking spider in the middle of its web from a distance. You decide to go in for a closer look. You make that ‘quizzical dog face’ because it’s a pretty weird-looking spider.
As you get closer, something seems a little ‘off’ about the ‘interesting’ spider…which begins to throb and shake in the most un-spider-like movement you’ve ever seen.
That’s about the time when your fear meter begins to spike as you realize the ‘spider’ you’ve been staring at is actually comprised of dead insects, debris and leaves and is being puppeteered by the real spider hiding just out of sight.
The ‘decoy spider’ is being looked at to see whether or not it’s a new species of spider or, in a step leading to total nightmare material, if it’s an already known spider that’s taught itself this behavior.
While scientists continue to determine what’s going on with this horrifying development in the spider kingdom, we’ll just keep hoping that human flesh is completely unpleasant to their terrifying little tastebuds.
What you’re looking at isn’t the newest trend in ‘crop-circling’. The thing that created this spectacular-looking sand sculpture isn’t an alien trying to communicate with humankind, either.
The master craftsman behind this amazing looking design is something far less scary and almost kind of adorable.
Yoji Ookota, an office worker who left his cubicle life to pursue his love of underwater photography, recently discovered something that no one had seen until his camera caught sight of it.
A six-foot-wide, elaborate geometric shape 80 feet under the surface of the water on the sea floor. Then he began to spot more of them. Ookota dubbed them the ‘mystery circles’.
As Ookota began to study the circles to find out how they were created, he found the culprit.
An adorable little male puffer fish.
In an amazing display of engineering and the need to be loved, the male puffer fish uses its fins and works day and night to create these things in order to attract females to mate with them. Once the puffer fish creates the ridges, males have even been seen filling their mouths with shells and blowing them onto the ridges they created like they were doing some primitive, animal form of bedazzling.
Females, attracted by the final design, join the male in the center of the design and mate. Later on the female returns to the center of the ‘mystery circle’ and lays her eggs.
These ‘mystery circles’ aren’t just for decoration either. Those shells used to ‘bedazzle’ the ridges appear to serve as nutrients to the young fish when they hatch. According to the most recent research, the design isn’t just for decoration and attracting a mate. The design also features a small bit of engineering. Scientists are discovering that the ridges also serve to protect the eggs from predators and currents that could scatter the eggs across the ocean floor.
This fish has more motivation and interior design abilities than most guys we know.
Paul Clerkin, a shark ecology graduate student at California’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, has been spending the last couple of months on a deep-sea trawling vessel in the Indian Ocean to see if the ship’s nets might pull up anything interesting in the way of sharks.
The trawler’s nets have been dropping to a depth of 6,500 feet off the coast of an island called Mauritius. What’s come up have been hundreds of strange-looking sharks. Several are species known to be very rare while others may be absolutely unseen before now.
“I tell people I have a ton of sharks, and they keep thinking I’m joking,” Clerkin said. “It was an actual ton. I brought back 350 sharks.”
What’s even cooler is that if any of the strange sharks are entirely new species? Clerkin gets to name them. He’s said that he’ll name a few after his mentors and possibly one after his mom and maybe himself.
During an early WeirdThings podcast, Brian and Justin were put into one of Andrew’s scenarios involving ‘flying’ snakes in Russia. Neither of them were happy with the idea of snakes launching themselves from trees onto their prey.
Here’s another frightening evolutionary mash-up that was probably fun in a comic book or horror story. In real life? Total fun-suck.
Meet Mecoptera, a tiny nightmare combination of a wasp-like fly with the tail of a scorpion.
Commonly referred to as a ‘scorpionfly’, Mecoptera isn’t a threat…yet. The male’s tale resembles a scorpion’s stinger but is only used for mating purposes…for right now. If you had seen one in the wild and had no idea what the thing was? You’d probably just assume that it was what it looked like, steer clear of the thing and walk briskly away knowing that nature’s working on a game plan to take back the planet.
While Mecoptera looks menacing, it’s not harmful to us squishy humans.
Let’s just hope that nature decides to keep it that way.
Tracking down rumors of a “Spider Forest” in our own South Florida backyard, Weird Things editor Justin Robert Young and myself found ourselves ambushed whereupon Mr. Young was savagely attacked by a spider. With Mr. Young locked in mortal combat with the beast, it was all I could do to shout encouragement and reach for my iPhone to try to capture the epic battle. The climax of which is embedded below (Warning: not for the feint of heart).
As soon as we set foot in the forest we got the sense of foreboding that WE DID NOT BELONG THERE. It wasn’t just the impossible number of spider webs and spiders that covered nearly every square foot of the forest, it was the sense that all of the webs were interconnected into one giant web that we had haplessly found ourselves walking into. Every footstep into the forest sent a silent vibration on to the meta web letting the spiders know that prey had been ensnared. A million eyes were upon us…
The deeper we went the darker it became as the foliage began to turn the forest into an arboreal cave. The other animals one might find in the forest were deathly silent. They were there to be sure, but moved around with a gallows quietness. Further in it became apparent that we had stepped into a labyrinth from which we may never emerge.
In the black heart of the forest the attack occurred under most peculiar circumstances. I was trailblazing and using my height to boldly knock down any webs that would impede our safe passage. As I scouted ahead I heard a shout from behind. I turned to see Justin punching into the air in a desperate attempt to defend himself from the vicious beast that was trying to devour him.
The spider moved too quickly to get an accurate description, but it was easily as large as my open hand. I helplessly watched as the spider flew around Justin using its web to trap him. No sooner would Justin try to swat at it then would the spider swing to the other side. It became immediately apparent what the spider’s strategy was; like a great white shark or a crocodile that uses a victim’s thrashing to ensnare them deeper into their jaws, this cunning creature was using Justin’s furious energy to wrap him into its web so tightly there would be no escape and the spider could drain him of his vital life fluids at its leisure.
With the image of a comatose Mr. Young searing into my mind’s eye, knowing the spider’s devious intent to use its victims vain attempts to free himself against him, I knew I had but one solution: Render the panicked Justin Robert Young unconscious lest he trap himself so surely in the creature’s web the only escape would be through the shedding of his mortal coil.
I tried to plan the quickest and most humane strike. A Ju-Jitsu punch to the head? A Mui-Tai kick to the chest to knock the wind from his lungs, making him take pause? All of this made complicated by my admittedly encyclopedic knowledge of martial arts techniques. Had I wanted to kill my target the choice would have been immediately and the results deadly. In this instance I deliberated for too long. For this I apologize to Mr. Young. My hesitation in striking him unconscious could have cost him is life. A life I’m no doubt certain he would gladly sacrifice in the service of Weird Things, but a life stricken down too soon no less.
Instinctively pulling my iPhone from my pocket to capture this conflict, the spider suddenly changed its tactics. It became clear that it had not been aware of my presence. This is not an uncommon occurrence. It’s been said that I have a preternaturally stealthy manner not unlike those invisible masters of Ninjitsu. Some of this is second nature to me, part of it is due to training I received in certain places from people to whom I have sworn secrecy. Once the spider sensed that I was there and all eight of its cruel eyes were locked on me its attack became a retreat. In the presence of a greater predator it knew this battle could not be won. For sure his plan to incapacitate Mr. Young was almost complete, but the moment I materialized into view it knew its hope of devouring Mr. Young unmolested was lost.
As quickly as it appeared, the spider faded back into the forest. I had to resist every urge to leap off the trail chase after it and kill the beast out of loyalty to my friend, but vengeance had to be put on hold to make sure that Mr. Young was indeed okay. As we made sure that he hadn’t been bitten and injected with some deadly venom, I realized that chasing after the creature would have been a very bad idea. Its retreat could have been a ploy to separate the two of us to divide our efforts to defend ourselves. My bloodlust impulse to seek out the foul creature and drive my fists into it carapace had to be abated. Now was the time for logic and reason.
We hastily made our exit.
In retrospect we are left with several questions. Since I was in the advance we know that the spider was laying in wait to attack. There was no web for Mr. Young to step into. Was this attack a genuine attempt? Or was it a feint to test our defenses? While my catlike ability to prowl unobserved may explain why the spider didn’t sense me and attack, it still doesn’t confidently explain why I wasn’t attacked at any point even though I was in the lead throughout the expedition.
I suspect the ambush was the forest as a whole trying to find out if it could pick off our party one by one from the rear until we were all ensnared. Unsure of our who or what we were, it sacrificed one spider to find out. I cannot say for sure what it made of us. Clearly it saw Mr. Young as prey. As for myself, I have no idea if it saw me as prey or predator. I do know that I am happy that we escaped with our lives intact. And next time, and there will be a next time, we will step into the forest more aware of its treachery and have perhaps some of our own to offer up in response.
In the meantime, although Mr. Young seemed unscathed beyond physical exhaustion from the ordeal, psychological speaking it was quite traumatic. I know he would appreciate your well wishes to a speedy mental recovery. Please let him know in the comments below that your thoughts are with him.
Just because cats are trying to take control of our brains doesn’t mean they need them. In this eerie footage we see a cat achieve 3 different gait patterns with NO BRAIN AT ALL! Scientists turned off the cats brain to study how much of an animal’s movement is controlled by thought and how much is simply a mechanical mechanism.
In the 1940′s the archetype of The Mad Scientist was prevalent in all media from movie serials to comic books. Most people didn’t think such characters actually existed, but they instilled fear in the audience who were afraid of science after the advent of the atomic bomb.
Little did they know that over in communist Russia Mad Scientists were hard at work on a freaky Frankenstein-lite experiment. By hooking the severed head of a dog up to a blood pump the head re-animates and reacts to stimuli.
Uber-creepy, but it does suggest that the Jar Heads featured in Futurama might just exist some day.