11 Gross Things About Cute Animals

Note: I made this to submit to a list site for money and they rejected it, very nicely. I thought it would be fun to post. 

Nature is gross. You kind of expect a spider or eel or parasite to do something horrifying or disgusting. But when it comes to adorable animals like koalas, manatees, sloths, and otters, you kind of expect to get a bit of a break. You know, let’s just snuggle and be pals, right?

Wrong. So wrong. Some of the cutest animals in the world, and a few that maybe are not traditionally cute, but get some love nowadays, have some disgusting habits, and occasionally do some real damage to the environment, human health, or property. It just goes to show that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover, but other times that cover conceals something really awful.

1. Dolphins are sexual predators. Most people have heard about some of the awful things dolphins can do to humans, and the general attraction dolphins can have for human ladies, but they’re awful to dolphin ladies too, often ganging up and forcing themselves on lone females. Gangs of basically teen dolphins will surround and assault isolated females, driving them to the edge of exhaustion with their constant barrage of rape.

Dolphins have also been known to attack and kill baby animals of various species as well. Add to that: they never sleep. So you have unsleeping, baby-killing, gang-raping monsters patrolling every ocean in the world, and some rivers.  Why are people worried about sharks, again? If you see a pod of dolphins, swim for your life.

2. Dr. George Murray Levick was so grossed out by the penguins he observed that he suppressed his own research paper. The penguins he observed engaged in all sorts of things that offended a biologist of the early 20th century, including a generous interpretation of “willing” as far as the ladies were concerned, and a laissez-faire attitude towards what gender they happened to be going to town on.Though honestly, I have to question Dr. Levick a little when, after being totally grossed out by these penguins, he response was to get a dead female and freeze it in the “receptive position”. He basically set up a penguin-sicle like a Real Doll. That’s more than a little skeevy, Dr. Levick. The results of this experiment of dubious scientific value? The male penguins found the lady-pop “irresistable”. Penguins, you should not be so ghoulish in a tuxedo. Leave that to the vampires. By the way, the paper was finally released after 100 years.

3. Sea otters rape baby seals to death. Really. Apparently the otters get so worked up they’ll chase down the seal pups and for lack of a better term go to town on them. One of the many incidents was noted to have ended after 105 minutes, at which point the otter released the dead seal pup and began grooming. I bet that seal’s mom wish some Russian trapper had made that otter into a hat. I know I did after reading this.No amount of cracking open shells on their bellies or sleeping holding hands can erase the image of seal pup rape from my cortex.

4. Horned lizards may not be what everyone thinks of as cute, but they have a certain flair. They have a defensive manuever they use when threatened by a snake; the lizard turns on its side and gulps in air to inflate itself and look like too large a prey item for whatever terrifying venomous snake is eyeing them as lunch. Pretty clever huh? They also like ants, but will eat other bugs.

Oh, yeah, they also can shoot blood out of their eyes up to three feet. Blood. Out of their eyes. Thanks to the theory of evolution, we know that for this trait to have survived in this species it must have increased fitness for them somehow. Be glad that our species went in another direction.

5. Manatees shut down beaches with feces. From a related article:

“We did a feel and smell test, and based on the description we gave to Florida Fish and Wildlife, they told us it was manatee droppings,” environmental health specialist Charles Vogt said. “I’ve never followed a manatee closely enough to know otherwise.”

So, you’re at your job, and you’re thinking, “Man, what a crappy job this is.” You know what? You don’t have to ever do a “feel and smell test” (which I fear is described exactly) on a beach full of manatee poop. So fill out your TPS report and feel a little better about yourself.

6. The adorable koala gets on this list twice. First, because koalas feed their babies poop. You just read that horrible sentence correctly. Those adorable little koala faces, with their big rectangle noses and tiny beady eyes? Poop-eaters. Why?

Well, they eat disgusting eucalyptus leaves, which are so low in nutrients they sleep twenty two hours out of the day. But the leaves are so very toxic that baby koalas can’t eat them, and need a shot of gut biota to get the required enzymatic action jump started. The best place to get that gut flora and fauna? Mom’s b-hole. Not only are koalas disgusting for that, they’re disgusting for making me type that out.

Thanks for nothing, koalas.

7. Cows are basically methane bombs destroying everything in their path. Grass is also terrible food (see koalas, #6 above) and causes cattle to basically fart 100% of the time. Well to be fair sometimes it’s a burp. This constant gassiness is actually contributing to global climate change, given the approximately one and a half billion cows in the world. So they’re destroying barns AND the planet. I do not feel guilty for that veal. Cows are monsters.

In at least one instance, as well, they actually caused such a buildup of gas in a barn that, combined with a static spark somewhere in the building they caused a fire, some places listed as “an explosion“. While I’m not positive they are the most destructive known farters, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say yes, yes they are.

8. Did I mention koalas were gross? They’re totally gross. I can’t even look at them the same anymore. The reason they show up twice on this list is first, the coprophagia (don’t look it up), and second, their dirty dirty sex lives. Koala bears are reported to be simply riddled with STD’s, with chlamydia taking the lead. I suppose since they’re koala bears it’s super snuggly cute chalmydia, but it’s still a terrible disease. Can we call it “koala klap”? Please? Gross.

Let’s really bury any affection you had for koalas, though. Since they are dirty awful creatures, they do not care where, or upon whom, they urinate. Thus people picking up koalas are often mistaken for a toilet, and as an added bonus, they catch a nice strain of the koala klap (I’m making this work. It will be a thing). That’s what you get for trusting koalas. Have you ever seen one wet?  They are nightmares.

9. The sloth is not only adorably slow, with its have-a-hit-from-the-honey-bear smile, they also cleverly allow algae and fungus to grow on their fur for a nice snack. No wait, that’s not clever, that’s horrible.

Science discovered that the three-toed sloth seemed to have a single redeeming quality: it climbs down to the forest floor, digs a little hole, and has a poop there, then buries it, like a painfully slow and stupid cat. During its descent it’s extremely vulnerable to predation, and I think in a moment you’ll join me in saying “Predators, get busy on these guys, please.”

While doing their business, a certain moth, the pyralid moth, lays its eggs in the sloth’s excrement. The larva grows up in that smelly nursery and pupates, then flies up to the canopy looking for a sloth with a nice gross coat to live in, depositing nutrient-rich dung back into its fur, thus completing the yecchy life cycle. Sloths are like the online gaming basement dweller of the forest canopy. Basically their mangy coat is an algae and fungi filled moth flop house that they eat from time to time. Just…just awful.

10. Giraffes don’t even try to hide it when they stick their tongues up their own nostrils. There’s lots of reasons to avoid giraffes. They can kick you hard enough to kill you. They will devastate your ornamental acacia. They have huge, long, purple tongues that they will definitely lay right upside your head if you give them half a chance.

And when they feel an obstruction in their nose, they will take that tongue and stick it straight up their nostrils. Just digging around in there in front of man and god and lapping it up. Be happy that gross kid in your child’s preschool doesn’t have a foot-long prehensile tongue.

11. The adorable Fulmar. So you’re a biologist. You’re studying cliff dwelling seabirds. You’ve hiked up rocky crags looking for nests to examine. You come upon, in a rocky depression, a nest lined with plant matter, and a fluffy, white hatchling nestled into it. “Eureka!” you think, “now I’ll just get out my handy notebook to take a look. Perhaps I should edge a little closer, perhaps nine feet away. Hm, the hatchling appears to be feeling threatened.”

Then to quote from the linked article: “If they are threatened while on their nest, fulmars have a rather nasty defense strategy. They can projectile vomit a jet of fishy oil over any intruder from a distance of ten feet.” This fishy oil will also cause feathers to stick together and, in one final disgusting twist, also can double as a nutritious snack for baby and adult fulmars. It’s basically as if I just grabbed my pepper spray and blasted an omelette with it. These birds are just the worst.