Novelty Animals


Written by Olivia Patt
29 Monday 29th August 2011

Thumbelina the horse. Thumbelina once appeared on Oprah (true story). She spoke about her difficult childhood and new perfume range and Oprah cried.

For those of you that don’t find really tiny things alarming and a bit repulsive, there’s plenty of other microscopic mammals out there. The world’s smallest cat, Mr. Peebles, weighed in at 1 kilo and fit in a 200 ml glass. Why the world insists on measuring the cuteness of animals by the type of drinking vessel they can fit in we’ll never know, but that’s pretty small. If you’re not a cat person, there’s always Thumbelina, the world’s smallest horse, who is only 17 inches tall.

Apparently being 17 inches tall warrants you your own website and an awful song by a woman named Lux Land... Moving on to the only tiny animal that any person in their right mind would want to own: the pygmy marmoset or ‘finger monkey’. Weighing only 4 ounces and with a body up to only 152 mm long, this may be the world’s cutest animal. And there’s something about the name finger monkey that implies that if we had one we could make it do our tiny bidding. Imagine having this little dude bring you your digestive biscuit for your tea. We’re not normally ones to gush, but look!

Finger monkey. We're going to call him Colin.

If you like your novelty animals creepy, not cute, there's a whole range of weird, genetically modified animals. For example, scientists have created a goat that can produce spider’s silk. No, we didn’t understand at first either. Supposedly, due to the strength and elasticity of spider’s silk, scientists think that it would be really useful for bulletproof vests, airbags, and repairing jaws. But when they try to harvest it by creating ‘spider farms’, all the spiders kill each other before they get a chance. So they decided to insert spider genes into goats, and the goats then produce the spider’s silk in their milk. We can only assume that in a few years time they will also sprout six more legs and murderous instincts and turn on the scientists. “Attack of the Killer Spider Goats” is a movie just begging to be made.

The pointless GloFish

Bizarrely enough, there also seems to be a plethora of glow in the dark animals out there. Cool enough to look at, these animals appear to be pretty pointless. Unless they are specifically marketed towards older gentlemen who are afraid of the dark but too scared to buy a nightlight, glow in the dark animals serve no purpose. Beginning with glow in the dark fish, or “GloFish”, created by Japanese scientists in 1999, it spread to mice, pigs, ants and dogs. My personal favourite of them all has to be the UV beagle, because whichever douchebag decided to buy one of these also has to buy a black light. Or already own one.

Dogs which glow under UV light. How retro.

Finally, we have the most majestic and exciting of all the novelty animals – the hybrid. There’s the famous liger, the result of cross breeding a male lion and a female tiger, and the world’s largest big cat. But did you know about zebroids? Crosses between a zebra and any equid give us zonies, zorses and zonkeys (which sound more like what all the kids are doing at those darn raves nowadays than an animal). Another one with a silly name is the wolphin; a cross between a dolphin and a false killer whale, which is essentially a slightly toothier than average dolphin, again, with no purpose whatsoever. Round of applause, Science.

Zonkey. That thing your parents warned you about.


So there you have it. Don’t Panic’s not so comprehensive list of novelty animals. Get your hands on one before Paris Hilton does. 

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