Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meet the Monsters

If you live in Japan, Europe, or Australia, you might be familiar with axolotls. If you're American, you've probably never heard of such a thing.

It translates to "water monster" and they are native to one lake near Mexico City. Unfortunately, sooner or later that lake will be paved over, so they're in this weird position of being both incredibly endangered and not endangered at all, because they are thriving in captivity.

Ours are named Kraken and Cute-thulu (Husband named her, I had nothing to do with it).

'Thulu is on the left, Kraken on the right.

Technically, they are a type of salamander.

You know how frogs start out as tadpoles, then tadpoles with legs, then they become real frogs and live mostly on land? These are grown adults that will probably live their entire lives in the "tadpole with legs" phase. Unless their environment becomes too toxic, in which case their gills will shrink and they'll turn into land-based salamanders.

Thulu is colored as they would be in the wild, and I think she's the smarter of the two.

Kraken is leucistic, which means her coloring is one step away from full-out albino. If you really care about the genetics, it has been written about at length.

They also have an insane healing ability. For this, they are #4 on Cracked's The 5 Stupidest Looking Superpowers of the Animal Kingdom. For added amazement, follow some of the links in the text of that article.

In the pet store, they keep too many in a tank together, and the larger ones bite off the toes of the smaller ones. Good thing they grow back! The thing is, they don't always grow back in the right place. They're supposed to have five toes on their back feet and four on their front. Kraken, at some point, grew back an extra toe on one side.

It kind of looks like she has a human hand, but it's backwards.
They kind of look poorly assembled to begin with, and the weird elbow-toe doesn't help.

Next: Why Kraken is the dumber river monster

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