#3. The Common Frog
Frogs begin life as eggs and eventually turn into tadpoles. Unless you were solidly drunk through fifth grade science, you know that much. But the image that comes to mind is of those streamlined, spermy-looking black torpedoes that dart around the edge of the water. That ... is not entirely accurate:
We didn't have to go far to find that misshapen, malformed homunculus up there. That's a tadpole of the species Rana temporaria, or the common frog. During one stage of their development they sport external gills, which explains those strange, diseased-looking growths you see poking out from the sides.
We'd have guessed "sea-broccoli."
Their mouths aren't fully formed yet, leaving them with a kind of pouty sucker on their face that looks like something between a perpetually staring Cyclops eye and an unwashed Fleshlight.
As if there was any other kind of Fleshlight.
Check them out all in a row: It looks like your bag of potatoes gained sentience and started organizing against you.
As potatoes are wont to do.
Here's a zebrafish!
That's ... well, that sure is a fish, isn't it? That's about as fish-shaped as you can get, yes sir. And here are the babies:
Jurgen Berger & Mahendra Sonawane
We're guessing mom and dad don't stick around long.
It's like somebody turned a Pokemon inside out. You ever give a small chew toy to a big dog? This is what you pick up from the lawn the next morning.
Scientists love these little guys because, in addition to being genetically pliable and easy to care for, zebrafish have Wolverine-level regenerative abilities that allow them to regrow their fins, tails, hearts, and even brains. Yes, the zebrafish knows your first impulse upon seeing it is murder -- hot, steamy murder for the thing that should not be -- and it's cool with that. It's evolved to counter that response. Go ahead. Do your worst. It pretty much cannot die. Although it clearly wants to.
It is far too ugly for the reaper.
Robin Bush / Oxford Scientific / Getty
The kea is a fairly exotic mountain-dwelling parrot from New Zealand, best known for the bright coloring on its wings and its propensity for intelligence (the kea can even solve simple puzzles). And since it's so goddamn smart, the first question we'd like to ask it is: What's the deal with your terrible babies?
Action Press / Rex Features
And why on Earth would you keep making more of them?
Jesus! It looks like it wants to puke just thinking about itself. Yes, the beautiful multicolored genius parrot started life as this abomination, which looks more like something your cat coughed up than a living thing. Much like Neville Longbottom, puberty is apparently very, very kind to the kea.
According to experts, the reason the kea is listed as a "vulnerable" species is "mainly due to mammals which are able to get into its nests to steal eggs and young." This implies that kea mothers are just as repulsed by these things as we are, leaving their nests unprotected while they head off to the local parrot bar to get plastered and forget about their ungodly spawn for an hour or two.
Follow E. Reid Ross at Twitter at @ereidross and at Man Cave Daily.
Related Reading: Hey, check out this Cracked video about adorable animals with secret dark sides. If you're more interested in animals who throw a middle finger at the rulebook, check out these flying damn snakes. Oh, and just because we like you here's a lizard dressed as Spider-man.