Monday, 28 March 2011

From sheep pigs to zenkeys and ligers: The world's weirdest animals

A weird creature with a foot-long 'rat's tail' has been pulled from a lake in Canada. Cue a look at some of our favourite curious creatures of recent years…

bigg white pigBuddy the woolly Mangalitza pig at Tropical Wings zoo in Essex.

Manuka: Micro pig in the city

Manuka with owner Jane in a London taxi cab Manuka with owner Jane in a London taxi cab

Micro pigs are almost passé now, such is the fate of the celebrity pet craze du jour. But who can refrain from stopping, staring and simply sighing with joy at the picture of extreme cuteness that is little Manuka on her big day out, no matter how many times they see it?

World's largest rodent

worlds largest rodentCaplin Rous the capybara: Check out the size of those hands

From ickle oddities to house-sized hamsters (almost) – Caplin Rous the capybara is so big he has his own blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter stream. Weighing a hundred pounds, the big pig-alike has the enviable title of the world's largest rodent. Don't fancy bumping into that one down a dark alley…

Tiger+lion= tigon

Hercules the ... liger why the bigg pawsHercules the... liger: why the big paws?

You may remember Hercules the liger who, measuring 12 feet long and weighing over 900 pounds, has a whole page devoted to him in the Guinness Book of World Records. But check out our tigon – the cross-bred beast you get when a male tiger gets jiggy with a lioness (the liger is the result of a love-in between a male lion and a tigress, fact fans).

Albino gorilla

Albino gorilla Copo de Nieve (Snowflake) was Barcelona zoo's only albino gorilla

Say hello to 40-year-old albino gorilla Copo de Nieve (it means 'snowflake' in Spanish… see what they did there?). The most popular resident of Barcelona Zoo, he drew thousands of visitors keen to say goodbye in 2003 when it emerged he was dying. After suffering from an unusual form of skin cancer, he was put down in November 2003.

Baby zenkey

Baby zenkey Japan's baby zenkey snuggles up to his donkey mum.

Cross a donkey mummy with a zebra daddy and what do you get? This male baby zenkey, that's what! Nasu Safari Park in Japan is the home of this stripey phenomenon, believed to be the world's only living zenkey when he was papped here snuggling up to his mum in 2003.

Olympic pigs

olympic pigs Midget porkies paddle their way to glory in the Pig Olympics

They're pigs, but not just any pigs… they're midget pigs swimming in China's Pig Olympics! They may not have a patch on Manuka in the cuteness stakes, but this midget species from Thailand showed off a mean breast stroke in Shanghai in 2005.

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