Sunday, May 9, 2010
X-Ray Beady-Eyed Salpeter Possum
Well, our contest is complete, and after a several-month long hiatus here at the Unbelievably Strange Wildlife Garden, I have returned with the results of our "name the creature" contest. I received a veritable flood of emails, comments from readers, unrelated invitations to participate in Asian nightlife, and a certain amount of thundering silence. But as you can see, I return triumphantly with a name: The X-Ray Beady-Eyed Salpeter Possum. This is courtesy of famed reader and Ukrainian radioactive engineer Jessie Salpeter.
The X-Ray Beady-Eyed Salpeter Possum lives in the rainforests of Borneo, using its long tongue to feed on a wide variety of mostly disgusting bugs, insects, larvae, and slimy excretions. The entire species lives within a hundred feet of a small waterfall emptying into a semi-stagnant pool - a misty wonderland of poisonous frogs, angry snakes, and both insect and water borne diseases. The Possum is a marsupial who carries its young for an amazing 37 years. Scientists speculate that the environment is so dangerous that Salpeter Possum young take that long to acclimate to the various toxins before they can venture out on their own. Research on this newly discovered species is ongoing, but scientists know that the creatures do have a kind of odd "x-ray vision" that allows them to see in the dark. The Possum is known for its unattractiveness, and local indigenous tribes are notorious for using both the heads of dead Possums and even hand-drawn caricatures to scare off evil spirits. Even C. Taylor Bonnell's drawing above should, according to local legends, scare off approximately 75% of the world's evil spirits - although I imagine it can't do much against comment scam or trolls.