5 of Our Favorite Anthropomorphic Animals

Illustration by Hilton Dresden

Kevin Spacey is going to get trapped inside the body of a cat on August 5th (in his new family-friendly feature, Nine Lives). Bojack Horseman’s third season just became streamable on Netflix and features talking tarantulas and greasy sharks running convenience stores. Which got us thinking: what are our favorite anthropomorphic animals in film and TV? If we’re being honest, we’d probably just present the entire cast of Bojack – but we thought we’d get a little more creative than that.

Remy in Rataouille (2007)

We never thought we’d see the day that a rat stole our hearts – we’re from New York! They’re already stealing our pizza. But charm us Remy did, and prepared us some five course meals while he was at it.


Nick Wilde in Zootopia (2016)

Is it weird that there’s something really attractive about Zootopia’s lead animated fox? Yeah? Oh. Well, he’s also a fascinating, and decidedly human, character, doing what we all do: whatever it takes to scrape through until Friday.

Scar in The Lion King (1994)

He’s bad to the bone, and you may be wondering why we chose him over someone like Simba, or Zazu, or Mufasa. Because we love a  bad boy, natch. 

Crush in Finding Nemo (2003)

Ever wonder who’s the chillest stoner dad sea turtle in the ocean? It’s Crush, the wanderlusting amphibian of Finding Nemo who helps Marlin and Dory get to Sydney, Australia by riding the sick flow of East Australian Current.

Tom Jumbo-Grumbo in Bojack

We couldn’t resist selecting at least one character from the champion of anthropomorphized animals, Bojack Horseman, and we felt the need to find at least one animal not appearing in a movie geared toward 7-year-olds. Tom is a favorite on Bojack, a whale news anchor whose giant mouth moves so fast every time that we just lose it.


Feral Cats In Washington Heights Have Better Digs Than You

New life goal: be an old lady who organizes elaborate outdoor feral cat colonies. 

Meet Sheila Massey, proprietor (or shall I saw paw-prietor, har har) of a "kitty high rise" in Washington Heights’ Morris-Jumel Community Garden. The  cats have been sleeping in Styrofoam boxes and underneath a tarp, which is sad. But the new insulated five-story cat shelter which is larger than my bathroom will keep those kittehs warm and dry … and easier to locate for Trap Neuter Return programs.

The cat shelters is all part of a three-year-old program called the NYC Feral Cat Initiative. These new digs in Washington Heights are one of eight locations (another park, a church, etc.) to get new outdoor feral cat shelters created by city architects. The New York Daily News declined to print the locations of the new shelters to discourage douchenozzles from dumping their cats off there.

You can learn more about how to provide safe winter housing/food/water for feral cats in your ‘hood on FeralCatCaretakers.org. Not all kitties are as fancypants as NYC cats and their kitty high rises, but all cats do deserve food and shelter. 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

New Monkey Less Than Thrilled About Being Discovered

A CNN commenter has pointed out that the huge-eyed, depressed-seeming lesula, a new species of monkey found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, “looks a tad bit like Dustin Hoffman.”

Well, you’d have that sad-sack The Graduate air about you, too, if a field team of scientists found you “tethered to a post” because a girl had kept you as a pet ever since your mother was killed by a hunter in the Lomami forest basin that is your natural habitat. But even the primate’s distinctive features were not proof enough that it was a species apart—the first unclassified monkey discovered in 28 years, as it happens:

To a layman it looks like an open and shut case. But animals are often widely divergent within a species—humans are an obvious example— so [researcher John] Hart and his team needed science to prove their gut feeling.

"I got in touch with geneticists and anthropologists to get their advice. I knew it was important to have a collaborative team of experts," says Hart.

The exhaustive study took three years.

I know that "exhaustive study" means they found some dead lesulas and sent their skulls halfway across the globe to be compared to other monkey skulls, etc., but I can also imagine eager zoologists forcing a lesula to hang out with some owl-faced monkeys for three years and seeing if they got along. Kind of like when you’re a kid, and your parents think you’ll be willing to play with any other kid, regardless of age/gender/weirdness disparity, just because you’re both kids? Yes, this is my view of 21st-century scientific inquiry.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Three Men Involved in Real-Life Version of ‘The Hangover’

In what is being described as a real-life version of the movie The Hangover, three Brits vacationing in Australia are being charged with several crimes related to their kidnapping of a penguin from SeaWorld while drunk, then waking up the next morning with no recollection of the events. And before you even have to ask, of course they filimed it.

Check out the above local news report on the incident, which occured last Saturday night, to see the footage in question (the men provided the station with it in an attempt to prove they meant no harm to the penguin, named Dirk).

Some additional details, via Gawker:

According to police, the three young men from Wales, who are currently residing on Queensland’s Gold Coast, unlawfully entered the marine park last Saturday night, and proceeded take a semi-nude dip inside the dolphin tank. They then moved on to the penguin enclosure, where they helped themselves to a 7-year-old Fairy Penguin named Dirk.

Upon awaking the next day and discovering an aquatic bird roaming around their rented room in Surfers Paradise, the men struggled to piece together the events of the night before.

They eventually decided to ditch Dirk in a nearby shark-infested lagoon, where he was luckily spotted Sunday after being chased out of the water, possibly by a predator. The frightened animal was returned to Sea World and reunited with its mate, Peaches.

I’m not sure about you, but I can’t wait for the sequel. I really hope it’s not identical to the original, though, because that would suck.

PETA Speaks Out Against Italian Stereotypes, Fun

You know when you’re playing Super Mario Brothers and he gets that leaf thing and then turns into the raccoon looking thing? Yeah. Well, that’s what PETA is protesting. By that logic, Mario also encourages doing large amounts of mushrooms and then attempting to fly. 

In a statement from PETA, they claim "Tanooki (aka Mario’s raccoon suit) may be just a ‘suit’ in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur". I mean, they went so far as to make a playable online game featuring a bloody Mario jumping around in a bloodier Tanooki suit. You can totally play it by clicking here, but it’s hardly – what’s the word? – fun. 

PETA, let’s have a talk. There’s nothing wrong with ‘loving animals’ (which is tantamount to having an organization called ‘Yay Sunshine!’) but aren’t there more important things in the world than rehashing a 20 year old video game just so you can prove a misguided point? I can understand the sentiment – GOD knows I love animals and the hot dog I had for lunch is probably several of them. But isn’t there a better way to go about this besides acting like a spurned girlfriend at her ex’s wedding? Clearly, PETA is doing this for attention as Super Mario 3 came out in 1990 and they’ve probably been saving this little nugget of spite since then. You can’t take a company that pulls these kinds of publicity stunts seriously, which is why we’d like to take this time to remind you that PETA killed 86% of the animals in its North Carolina shelters in 2003. So there’s that. 

The thing is, PETA take such a hard stance on the ‘loving animals’ thing that they seem to forget about the humans that make the decisions not to kill them; alienating them with ridiculous messages like this. More power to them as I’m certain that they’ll get some publicity out of this, but damn, lay off Mario, will ya?

The Scariest Animal Attacks of the ’00s!

Okay, so aside from being very scary, and potentially very dangerous, there’s also something really funny about the taxidermied moose head that fell on 32-year-old Raina Kumra during a night out at Manhattan’s White Slab Palace early this fall. According to New York‘s Daily Intel, Kumra is now suing the owners of the Lower East Side drinking den for being “grossly careless,” which makes sense, you know, because they hung a 150-pound stuffed animal cranium above a packed house of drunken dancers. All of this got us to thinking — terribly, terribly insensitive segue alert — about the five scariest animal attacks of 2009!

Charla Nash. This has to be the most tragic animal attack in recent history. When Nash, a 56-year-old woman from Connecticut, was attacked by a 200-pound chimpanzee, she lost both hands, an eyelid, both eyes, her nose, and lips.

Great White Shark. Australia’s “monster shark,” an estimated 20 feet in length, nearly bit a 10-foot Great White in half.

Unidentified Golfer. A 70-year-old golfer from South Carolina reaches in to a pond to recover a ball that rolled too closely to the water hazard, and his arm is ripped off by a 10-foot gator. Talk about a handicap!

110-pound Mountain Lion! In 2004, after attacking and killing cyclist Mark Reynolds in Orange County, California, the predatorial mountain lion went after a second victim, unsuccessfully. The cat was later put down.

Those YouTube Lions! Whatongod’sgreenearthsigoingonhere?