My Trip to the Planet Neptune

Here are some zoological observations culled from my recent trip to Neptune–

First up the Trumpeter Fish Bleatel,

The Trumpeter Fish Bleatel is a familiar figure to most Neptunians; not because they’ve seen this agile, elusive creature darting from it’s pond burrow in search of aquatic worms— but owing mostly to the fact that the shape and form of this animal was lifted wholesale, serving as the design for the most basic Neptunian warship—the X 9000 “Trumpeter”.

    Ironically, it is this very same warship that laid waste to the Zan countryside (in the Zanitibi-bum civil war, a conflagration that lasted the better part of the last 5 years), consequently devastating much of the Fish Bleatel’s native habitat. Never populous to begin with, this tragic conflict has reduced the viable Fish Bleatle mating pairs to a mere handful. Recovery in number is, for the moment, doubtful.

Next– The Piddle Paddle Misquito

Largely considered a nuisance, this exotic predator– a transplant from the steamy jungles of Mars– has the irksome habit of jabbing at whatever happens to be in front of his nose. The long saber-like proboscis, he is in possession of, moreover, secretes a curious venom at its tip; the principle effect of this potent chemical is to let out the internal pressure of any object it comes into contact with. 

      As such, entire villages have been deflated in this way– neighborhood dogs flattened– squirrels whipped through the air like punctured party balloons. So widely reviled is this pest that its name has become a common schoolyard taunt. In short, many a child has run home to mother sobbing at the indignity of having been called a “piddle paddle”. 

The Stubbanareen

      The Stubbanareen is a social animal, often mistaken at a distance for a sickly tree. It prefers to scavenge at parties, picking up forgotten drinks, and stray bits of cheese and cracker. When not feeding, it glowers in a corner smoking moodily. For the guest who is roped into conversation with it—it mostly boasts of its long life span, a fact invoked for the sole purpose of denigrating the current party for the happier soirees of yesteryear.  

      Sometime around 3 am it woozily tromps off, only to collapse in a bush, or fence, or stand of bikes a couple of blocks away. The evolutionary purpose of this behavior has not yet been ascertained, though presumably there is one.

The Lizzaligallit

The Lizzaligallit is a small (at full maturity it only reaches lengths of up to 4 inches) reptilian ant-eater. Its sole source of food is the Neptunian Jumbo Termite. The Lizzaligallit performs raids on nests by getting a running start with the help of its limber five pairs of legs, and speeding in through an entrance– it sweeps its tongue from side to side as it moves down the tunnel.  The Lizzaligallit’s saliva has interesting properties in that it is sticky at first– so that any ant in its way will get stuck on its tongue and promptly eaten; give it a second or so, however, and the saliva which also coats the tunnel turns slippery. A neat trick, it turns out, for any guard or warrior ant that attempts to give chase merely slides around, comically unable to find sure footing. 

     After having his fill of termites, the gorged Lizzaligallit runs out of the colony to find shade under a nearby plant to digest his hapless victims in comfort.

The Neptunian Gruffit

     Roughly the size of an Earth Cow, the Gruffit is perhaps the single most celebrated animal Neptune has to offer. Throughout the ages this animal has been the subject of countless heraldic emblems; emperors would measure their wealth partly on the basis of how many tame Gruffits they have stabled on their estates. Poems often invoked the Gruffit’s “powder-flashed eyes” and its “august crown of feathers” and so on…

     This is perhaps undeserved praise for an animal that feeds on grass, leaves, and the occasional blue flower, but does remarkably little else. When a predator approaches it, for instance, it merely stiffens up and gives the predator a cold, long, stare. When a tourist snaps a photo, it seems to respond by posing in such a way that projects a spotlessly regal demeanor. In the entire solar system, it might be stated, there is no animal more richly rewarded for little other than what it appears to be.

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