Or a very ambitious raccoon.
On the other end of the scale ...
The Earth is populated by so many different animals that we're still learning about many of them. Suffice it to say, we naturally have such a diverse array of creatures that we surely don't need to be making up new ones. But that doesn't stop humanity from breeding a bunch of bizarre creatures into existence every now and then just to keep around the house, with the following Pokemon rejects being the horrible price we're now paying for our hubris:
Nature's design for the horse is pretty good to begin with, but with enough money and hard work, it would be possible to make it stronger, hardier, faster ... you know, better. Instead, some people have made a concerted effort to make a version that appears like a cross between a warthog and a Troll Doll, also known as the dwarf or miniature horse:
We're serious right now: It's damn near impossible to find a picture where they don't look depressed or tired from mocking natural selection with every second of their existence. The mini horses are literally dwarfs, created by the passing of the equine dwarfism gene. Perhaps the plan was to breed a proportioned, smaller version of a regular horse (for which we would pay 20 buttloads of dollars), but instead the animals ended up with grossly enlarged heads and a dark wonderland of health problems, including complicated births and leg deformities.
Mini dwarf horses have been known as a particularly "calm" breed, although we think people are confusing calmness with the horses' constant, paralyzing fear that they'll be attacked and eaten by an elderly, arthritic coyote.
On the other end of the scale ...
Humans have been breeding giant rabbits for about 500 years now, and today these Hulk versions of Peter Rabbit can measure more than four feet and weigh up to 50 pounds, which they'll swear up and down is the result of genetics, but it might have something to do with their diet. In a single day, one of the largest of the continental giant rabbits will eat 12 carrots, a third of a cabbage, some apples, and two bowls rabbit feed.
Sadly, as awesome as these floppy-eared mini-kaiju seem, their gigantism is actually pretty debilitating. Flopsy Jumbo will probably live to be only 5 or 6 years old, while Flopsy Normal can reach 8 or 12 years of age. He will also suffer from heart issues, the inability to clean his own ass, and swollen feet that may lead to a sedentary life of overeating and morbid obesity.
You'll need to look at that for a moment to get a sense of scale -- that's a fully grown chicken that can fit in the palm of your hand. The tiny serama chicken is one of Asia's earliest attempts at miniaturization, before they decided that shrinking down electronics would probably be more profitable. Originating in Malaysia, an adult serama rooster can weigh as little as three-quarters of a pound -- less than your average pigeon -- making it the smallest breed of chicken in the world.
The birds are known in Malaysian as ayam cantik, or "pretty chickens," which would be super creepy if the serama was bred strictly for eating. Fortunately, they have mostly found use as family pets and contestants at chicken beauty pageants -- technically the less disturbing alternative to fetishizing your dinner by calling it "pretty." The chickens have been around for only about 50 years, but they have already become prized for their proud soldier-like stance and walk. Sadly, it's just false bravado, as the small stature of the pygmy chicken makes it very easy prey for other animals like cats and even rats.
Look at its feet.
Technically known as polydactyl cats, these adorable freaks of nature are felines born with extra toes (and, presumably, the desire to murder Spanish sword-makers). Now, your usual cat will have 18 digits -- 10 in the front and eight in the back -- but a polydactyl animal can sport anywhere between 19 and 28 dispensers of scratchy death. This often includes an un-opposable "thumb," which a poly cat would constantly use to sarcastically "like" your life failures, if cats gave half a shit about humans.
Polydactylism is the result of a genetic anomaly which we've been selectively breeding into our pets for years because d'aaaaaw! Look at their little mitten hands! Even the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway fell victim to the poly cat's adorableness, with Hemingway keeping close to 25 of them at his island home off Key West, where their descendants live to this day. That's why poly cats are occasionally known as "Hemingway cats."
Dragon carp, also called longfin and butterfly koi, are fish that have been bred to have fins that make them look like the ghost of Aquaman's girlfriend in a spectral wedding dress. Why? Oh, the regular reason -- because it looks weird, and because someone figured that there must be a better way to make your fish tank look haunted without turning off the filter and going away for a week.
The fish were created by Japanese breeders who mixed sturdy Indonesian carp with traditional koi, in order to toughen up the latter. Unfortunate, then, that they created an animal that seemingly can't come into contact with anything harder than used tissue paper without looking like it just went through a commercial blender.
The sorcery of making fish into underwater phantoms of pointlessness has also been performed on certain varieties of betta fish, those small, brightly colored assholes at the pet store that must be sequestered in tiny plastic cups to stop them from murdering each other. The result can most aptly be described as an angry, swimming doily.
OK, that's not the official name. We're creating an umbrella term for all of these varieties of fish with weird-ass growths on their faces that, once again, breeders have put there on purpose.
The first fish in this selection from the upcoming Finding Nemo/The Thing crossover is called the "pom pom." Its "eye crust" is what fish enthusiasts call the "nasal bouquet," which is actually the fish's septa, bred to explode out of its face in tight little orbs that make it look like it stifled one too many sneezes. Since their heads look like a buffet of lightly grilled cauliflower, it's recommended that they be kept away from things they can bump into.
Other masterworks of cranial tinkering in fish include the gamma ray-enhanced supervillain look of the oranda:
They're believed to be the first goldfish bred to have a "wen" or "hood," which is a very charitable way to describe the red/orange growth on their heads. The bulb does not appear until the fish is 2 or 3 years old and, according to experts, "should not cover the eyes, nose, or mouth of the fish." Not because breeders care about the well-being of their pets but because orandas with growths covering their whole heads would technically be "lionhead" fish.
And speaking of horribly misleading euphemisms, let us introduce you to the flowerhorn cichlid, a bizarre Malaysian fish with a balloon forehead, also known as a "nuchal hump," that makes it look like the result of drunken sex between a Goomba and a Cheep Cheep.
Because we toy with Mother Nature, she shall no doubt destroy us soon. See what we mean in 7 Reasons Ants Will Inherit The Earth and 5 Nightmare-Inducing Animal Swarms That Came Out Of Nowhere.
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