#4. Rabbit + Kangaroo = Bilby
Martin Harvey / Getty
If, for some reason, you decided to take the hippity-hop stylings of a kangaroo, the big floppy ears of a bunny and the face of a possum, then you'd get this thing -- and before you ask, yes, like so many of God's experiments gone awry, it's from Australia.
These giant mutant rats are called bilbies, and they're members of the bandicoot family. Their large, bunny-like ears allow them to hear when the other animals make fun of them and are also used for thermoregulation in their arid home. Also, like actual kangaroos, bilbies like hopping around and have a pouch where they stash their young'uns.
The only purpose the possum face serves is making sure you'd never lend this thing money.
In the past 200 years, the number of bilbies has decreased drastically, thanks to such vicious enemies as rabbits and cats (yeah, it's not much of a badass). Conservationists have tried to raise awareness of the bilby's plight by lobbying to replace the Easter Bunny with an Eastern bilby in Australia, and are also training them to avoid felines ... by throwing dead, declawed cats on top of them and traumatizing them.
Qld Parks & Wildlife, via ABC
The sad part is, the dead cats still kick their asses.
#3. Hamster + Pig = Honduran White Bat
Look at these adorable hamster-like critters cuddling together in their leafy home. Have you ever seen a pig nose on a little fuzzy creature before? Don't you just wanna grab a bunch of them and hug them?
Actually, you'd better not, because that thing is a freaking bat, and it is riddled with diseases. The Ectophylla alba or Honduran white bat is a unique species of fruit-eating "tent" bat, which refers to its ability to cut the leaf off the bush it lives in and fold it over on top of itself, forming a tent, while it clings to the underside. That's right: Rather than just crashing into caves, they actually build their own homes.
Leyo, Wikipedia Commons
They're no more reliable than the average contractor, but at least they're adorable.
One male and his harem of females will cling together until night falls, when they'll fly out like poofy ghosts to nom on fruit. But no matter how adorable they look, these things are still bats, and as such they tend to carry all sorts of deadly diseases, like rabies. They recently discovered a species of fruit bat in Africa that carries a close cousin of the Ebola virus. So, yeah, no winged Furbies for you.
Good thing Bruce Wayne doesn't live in Honduras, or he'd look a whole lot sillier.
#2. Ant + Bee = Velvet Ant
As if regular ants weren't bad enough, someone had to go and genetically merge them with bees to create this atrocity. Good going, science. The upside is that it won't try to steal your sweets because it can make its own honey. The downside is that it exists.
This is the velvet ant, and it's actually a wasp, not a bee or an ant (we're also just going to assume that velvet isn't involved either). The females are wingless, so they spend their time crawling around, looking for nectar and water while waiting for the males to swoop down and mount them. We have no information on whether the male can at that point take them both flying while they're doing it, but you can go ahead and imagine it anyway.
David Brownell via What's That Bug?
Classified also as "Fuzzy enough to be pettable, but still too creepy."
But we know what you're wondering: Can this thing sting me? The answer is yes, it absolutely can, and in fact its sting is so painful that it has been nicknamed "the cow killer" -- the stinger itself is over an inch long, which in wasp terms is like John Holmes. By the way, there are over 150 species of velvet ant spread all the way across Mexico, the U.S. and southern Canada, so you're going to have to get on a plane if you want to feel safe about sitting on your ass in the sand ever again.
#1. Snake + Anteater = Pangolin
This is the kind of creature you only expect to see when you reach the end of the dungeon in a Zelda game. It looks like a snake that by some magic spell grew legs and a protective pine-comb-like shell -- you're probably gonna need a shitload of bombs to kill this thing.
But, no, this is a real animal called the pangolin, which wanders around sub-Saharan Asia and Africa looking like a wad of pasted-together fingernail clippings. The pangolin is considered to be magic by some cultures: Women looking for certain men will bury pangolins near the male's door. Also, it has a massive snake-like tongue that, when unfurled, can actually be longer than its entire body.
San Diego Zoo
Somehow, we feel like these two facts are related.
By the way, when we said it's like a wad of fingernails, we meant it literally: Its scales have the texture of a toenail and grow like one as well. Constant burrowing for termites and ants (its only diet, since it has no teeth) keeps the scale edges filed down and manageable. When threatened, pangolins curl up in a near-impenetrable shell and can even roll away from danger. So in reality, it's less Zelda villain, more Transformer.
Mark Sheridan-Johnson / Barcroft Media via The Telegraph
"Good luck, asshole!"