Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Acid Become Devil

Let's talk a little bit about the Acid Become Devil, a strange, obscure Chinese creature that lives along the Mongolian border. This strange llama like dog owes its name to a bad literal translation of its Chinese name. It lurks in the high grass of the steppes, using its unusual antennae-like ears to pretend to be one of the yummy flowering plants much-loved by the local llamas. When an unfortunate herbivore comes too close, the Acid Become Devil pounces and drags it away screaming to its own version of animal hell.

The Acid Become Devil, thought to be one inspiration for the Chinese sign of the Zodiac known as the Dragon, has been a source of wonder and terror for thousands of years. These extremely rare creatures, who spend most of their lives alone, wander the remotest areas of the high plains and are unbelievably shy - coming together in pairs once per year and only then to mate.

The Devil is distinctive for the peculiar tale and horns that give it its name. But the most unusual aspect of the Acid Become Devil is not its rarity, its mating patterns, or its horns or tail. The Acid Become Devil generates slime as a protective mechanism. When threatened, the Devil can projectile vomit a foul-smelling stomach acid slime at enemies that can burn skin on contact and even make it hard for creatures to move. The Devil can vomit its stomach slime up to 27 feet and even do it when running at its top speed of over 30 miles an hour.

Sadly, as with many of the creatures in the Unbelievably Strange Wildlife Garden, the Acid Become Devil has been hunted almost to extinction and it's now thought that only about 27 still exist. The animals can't be kept in zoos, since the projectile stomach acid vomiting can kill small children and send other animals into manic, homicidal frenzies.

The Acid Become Devil is a popular figure in Chinese culture and is known as a harbinger of evil. It is the inspiration for the "Devil" school in kung-fu, characterized by an unusual spread-eagle crouch stance that leads to numerous eye attacks and non-aggressive spitting. Jackie Chan combined the style with his own Drunken Master style to create the film Drunken Devil Spitting Master, about a court jester who is mistaken for a great warrior and sent to the underworld to rescue a dead princess, to much hilarity. Stephen Chow incorporated elements of the style into Kung Fu Hustle. In the ancient Chinese novel The Golden Lotus, thought to have been written in the 14th Century, one of the merchant's wives is killed by a spitting Acid Become Devil that has been imported to the city as a curiosity.

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