This is an animal! Why is it on somebody's back porch? That is yet another mystery of the animal kingdom!

I was recently blackmailed into leaving my apartment by my better half, who threatened to play Trans Am mp3s over and over until my brain exploded, which would take roughly thirteen seconds (even less if I wasn't wearing a hat). You see, I normally have a policy of trying to stay in my apartment as long as possible because the outside world is frightening and full of things like bees and Mike Tyson. As far as I can recall, the last two times I've left my apartment in this decade were due to the fact that either something I owned was on fire or something that I owned was about to catch fire. Although this unwritten rule of "hermit-emulation-mode" seems to suit me well, Emily apparently doesn't take too strongly to it because she's used to doing weird things like talking to human beings and breathing air that doesn't come directly from the back of a computer fan.

So to celebrate Memorial Day this year, the holiday when we're supposed to remember a war or whatever, we decided to head over to the Seattle Zoo and learn something about animals, something about life, and maybe, just maybe, something about ourselves. None of this actually ended up happening, but we did see a morbidly obese man with an ankle brace singing to his ugly kid. I think the guy had recently broken out of one of the zoo exhibits, probably the one showcasing science's efforts to genetically combine the DNA of one man with the DNA of six other men, thereby creating one guy who is the size of seven men. Due to the patented "Crazytime Memorial Day Traffic," the zoo was crawling with filthy little children who had fudge or cheese or human waste or whatever wiped across their faces like Dale Earnheardt's final skid marks. The only thing I despise more than obnoxious children crawling all over public areas like hyperactive clothed spiders is the white dog who lives across the street from our apartment, a dog who is apparently being jabbed in the eye with a knitting needle every nanosecond, causing it to bark nonstop at every passing animal, person, or oxygen atom.

However, this is all beside the point; the main idea I'm trying to convey here is the fact that I forgot whatever the hell I was going to originally write about. Since the previous two paragraphs resembled some rambling, derailed Amway train of thought about animals and the zoo, I'll assume that today's update was going to be a highly educational piece detailing the wide and exciting world of animals that inhabit the wide and exciting world of people and animals (this planet, whatever it's called). Animals have been around for at least 500 years, possibly more, and have come in many shapes and forms such as "fat" and "brown." Some animals have been known to live in trees while others live below the trees or above the trees or very far away from trees. Animals, like us humans, are capable of having sex and producing baby animals, which is probably why there are currently so many animals running around our planet and doing extremely nature-based things. They are also capable of adjusting to their environment, but unlike the human race, they simply don't put on a coat or scarf when it's cold. Why? Well nobody makes clothing for animals like a fox, snail, or tree frog. Since none of these animals have access to knitting machines and lack the ability to form a textile-producing labor union, they have been forced to adapt to their environment by changing colors, digging holes, dying, or burrowing into people's chests like in the realistic nature documentary "Aliens." This has resulted in a remarkably large and exciting variety of animals that currently inhabit our world, so many that scientists have been forced to classify them into a bunch of different groups (or "species") so when they go to scientist parties they'll have something to talk about besides molecules or whatever scientists talk about. Since I have just returned from the zoo, I can confidently claim I'm as smart as just about any zoo-person scientist guy out there, so I have decided to teach you, the reader, about the various species of animals that you may or may not encounter when you're walking to your mailbox or taking an African safari in Thailand.

BRIEF COMPLETE LIST OF ALL SPECIES OF ANIMALS ON EARTH:

This is an animal! Somebody defaced this animal with their gang tag though, so it's not considered to be in mint condition anymore.

Animals That Are Somewhat Shaped Like Horses: dogs, cats, cows, giraffes, horses, baby horses, goats, wolves, leopards, elderly horses, buffalo, sheep.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: These animals are all at least kind of shaped like horses because they have four legs and a head that comes out of one end of their body, the opposite of the end that emits poop. Most of these animals eat meat, so if you see one of them in the wild, make sure you're not made of meat or else they might try to eat you. Some of them run really fast while others run really slow, so it's anybody's guess as to if you can outrun them in a marathon. I would personally recommend against it because you'll have a really hard time trying to pin a paper number label on an animal that's trying to eat you.
DID YOU KNOW: 96% of the world's milk comes from Animals That Are Somewhat Shaped Like Horses? As for the other 4%, well, don't ask.

Animals That Live In Tropical Places You'll Never Go: monkeys, pandas, toucans, those really big snakes, poison dart frogs, non-poison dart frogs, lemurs, howler monkeys.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: All of the animals in this category live in places that you will probably never visit unless you're really, really lost or you're searching for some kind of mythological treasure that you found on a map purchased from an old gypsy woman who runs a store in a very busy part of downtown New York despite the fact that she never sells anything and has absolutely no source of income whatsoever. Most of these animals live near vines, so I guess they eat the vines or something that grows on vines. They also like the warm tropical weather, so don't think about trying to ship them via UPS to the North Pole or Boston because they'll die and also I doubt UPS will even agree to ship them.
DID YOU KNOW: Most of these animals are very colorful and have festive decorations across their bodies? This is because they're either gay or they think it's Mardi Gras.

Stupid Animals In the Water: halibut, carp, bluegill, redgill, fusciagill, small-mouthed bass, turtles, toads, any kind of fish.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: Any animal in this species will, if given the chance, spend all day doing absolutely nothing. They're kind of like Fragmaster except they're not afraid of swimming. In fact, that's all they do: swim. They swim up a river, down a river, from side to side in a river, and are completely boring. Toads and turtles are a little bit different because they have the ability to go outside the water and subsequently wander into radioactive waste and then mutate and fight crime. However, all fish do is swim back and forth all day and don't bother to do anything ever except lay eggs or get eaten by larger fish. Some scientists claim dolphins belong in this category while other scientists believe dolphins are as smart as Albert Edison. In my professional opinion, I don't care either way.
DID YOU KNOW: 67% of crime today is solved by mutated turtles or toads? 31% of the remaining portion is figured out by the local police and authorities, while the final 2% is solved by The Pope.

This is an animal! I wish it was a dead animal, but we can't always have what we wish for, unless we wish for the ability to wish for things.

Scary Stuff That You Hope to Never Personally Touch in the Ocean: squid, octopuses, crabs, lobsters, sharks, leeches, the Kraken, sea anemones, sea hags, Colombian drug-running boats, giant squid, all that weird crap on the floor of the ocean that is exposed in National Geographic specials, eels, sea monsters.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: Every member of this species is really creepy looking and has been used in some way to inspire various works of science fiction stories from the 1960's. There are a lot of things that man does not know about the ocean such as where the hell it came from or why the hell it's here. In addition, new and scary creatures are being found every day on the ocean floor! For example, just today some Swedish guys found a lobster that is transparent and has veins which transport acid instead of blood! Scientologists have already named it their intergalactic leader.
DID YOU KNOW: Tom Hanks played the role of a person who was marooned on a desert island surrounded by ocean in the hit movie "Castaway"? He was not killed by any of the Scary Stuff That You Hope to Never Personally Touch in the Ocean because they, like the rest of the human population, hope Tom Hanks will die in a more horrifying and painful way, like suddenly having all his bones transform into scorpions.

Animals That Shit On Your Head: crows, sparrows, hawks, seagulls, robins, bluebirds.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: These animals all fly above us and show off their gravity-defying skills by crapping on us and our vehicles. The only way to prevent being pooped on is to either hold an umbrella over your head all day or invent a house that floats around in the stratosphere, far above their reach. The umbrella idea is probably easier and will undoubtedly cater to you lazy people who are too stupid to build a floating house or live far away from a Home Depot.
DID YOU KNOW: Big Bird is technically an Animal That Shits On Your Head but the only way he can accomplish this is by asking you to manually place your head under his ass and then inform him you're prepared?

Animals That Hate You: bears, wolverines, werewolves, opossums, Venus fly traps, lions, ticks, vampires, those crazy mother geese who chase kids around at the petting zoo.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: All these animals in this genre would like to kill you or at least injure you in some way. This is because, much like school bullies, they have low self esteem and are taking their self-hatred out on you. In addition to killing you, some of these animals will also attempt to eat you, so make sure you bathe daily in that gross sour apple stuff that keeps dogs from chewing electrical cords.
DID YOU KNOW: Although these animals would like to kill us, we're actually in the process of killing them? You can thank the Wal-Mart corporation for turning these animals into nothing but bulging lumps under asphalt. Also, one time when I was seven my parents took me to a petting zoo and a rabid goose chased me around for roughly six hours and then proceeded to brutally peck into my shin with her beak or bill or nose or whatever the hell geese have. I hate geese and am personally lobbying for Wal-Mart to turn all petting zoos into a tire-repair stores.

Can you spot the animal in this picture? I sure as hell can't, but this image appeared under Google's Image Search so I assume there is one somewhere in there.

Animals That Are Bugs: ants, roaches, flies, bees, walking sticks (not sticks that are possessed by the Devil, but the actual walking stick insect), beetles, millipedes, centipedes, micropedes, macropedes, pentapedes, lice.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: Although I have listed this genre as a species of animal, I think that Animals That Are Bugs are technically bugs. However, the way I determine if something is an animal is by asking myself the question, "if a fat man were to fall on it, would some sort of gooey substance squirt out of it?" So in that regard bugs are animals as well as ketchup bottles and that Gushers Fruit Candy. Animals That Are Bugs don't do anything except skitter about in dirt and wait to be eaten by Animals That Shit On Your Head who are then shot and eaten by humans who then die and are eaten by Animals That Are Bugs. This is called "The Great Cycle of Life" and if you don't agree that it's just the absolutely greatest thing in the history of the universe then you've obviously got something wrong in your head.
DID YOU KNOW: Bugs are usually gross? Well they are, except praying mantises which are about the coolest bug ever.

Animals That You Think Are Spiders But Are Really Arachnids: spiders.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: Spiders do things like spin webs and eat Animals That Are Bugs. They also get stepped on and killed but they prefer to engage in the previous activity. Scientists call spiders "Arachnids" because they think it makes them sound smart during parties. They'll be in some social situation where the crowd is casually discussing chess tactics or jet propulsion systems, and then some withered spinster will see a spider and suddenly shout, "oh my, a spider!" Then a scientist will correct her by saying, "I'm sorry, but you are mistaken, dear madam! That is, in fact, an arachnid!" Then he'll look really smug and everybody around will start applauding him for his superiour intellect while the spider crawls up his leg and implants eggs into his testicles.
DID YOU KNOW: If you get bitten by a radioactive spider you will gain its strengths? You'll be able to climb walls and shoot webs and have some vague spider-sense. However, if you are radioactive and you bite a spider, all the spider will get is cancer and maybe some kind of stomach acid disorder.

Any Other Animal That I Forgot: whatever animals I forgot to list.
DISTINCTIVE TRAITS: They haven't been listed above.
DID YOU KNOW: That I am finished writing this article?

Well that sure was a fresh and exciting walk through the world of the animal kingdom, a kingdom of animals known to us scientists as "the Animal Kingdom." I hope you learned something about the creatures that occupy the non-Wal-Mart areas of space around you and hopefully devised new ways to kill them because, let's face it, strip malls are a lot cooler than goats.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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