Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two-Eyed Rhinohead Dog

The Two-Eyed Rhinohead Dog may very well be the ugliest creature in the universe. Once thought to be just a nightmarish fantasy that parents described to children to keep them in line, it is now known to be a real monster that can actually eat the little buggers.

The Rhinohead Dog lives in the Northeastern desert of Brazil. It is a shy creature with a brown sheep-like coat that avoids both other animals and humans alike. It feeds on small rodents, birds, and large insects. Using its deceptively long tongue, which has a very small poisoned spike at the end, it stuns its prey and then eats it alive.

The Rhinohead Dog is a mammal from the canine family, but has only one baby at a time and carries it for roughly nine months, like humans. Once born, the young Rhinohead Dog is relatively helpless until it's a year old. Once it reaches adulthood, however, it is a relatively intimidating creature. Despite their reclusive nature, packs of Rhinohead Dogs have been known to attack humans, especially children, if they stray into their territory.

Brazilians call it "O Monstro do Norte" and it is the subject of a popular series of scary children's books called Cachorro Medo, an animated cartoon, and an opera. Stephen King used a pack of Two-Eyed Rhinohead Dogs to terrorize a group of school children in his novel, The Pack. Sean Connery confronts a family of hungry, kidnapped Rhinohead Dogs with nothing but a flashlight in the movie Medicine Man.

And on the television show Star Trek: The Next Generation, on the episode "Android's Best Friend", Data is given the very last Two-eyed Rhinohead Dog in the galaxy as a pet and can't figure out why everyone else finds it so ugly. He's eventually forced to give it away to a miner headed to Riga after it attempts to eat his cat.

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