Animals You've Never Heard Of - D Edition

DISCLAIMER: You may have heard of some of these animals.

The consumption of skin is generally a sign of fish who have little to no other food options.
The consumption of skin is generally a sign of fish who have little to no other food options.

Doctor Fish

Now here's a weird bunch. These toothless carp go by the scientific name Garra rufa, and they set themselves apart from the millions of other generic, silver colored fish in the world by being extraordinarily good skin eaters.

Yep, you heard me. In the many rivers that flow between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, these guys would nibble on people that went a'swimming. It was only a matter of time before some weirdo put this incessantly nibbling fish to some use, and began to market them as a treatment option for people with psoriasis and dermatitis. This fish nibbling nonsense is actually called Ichthyotherapy, the use of fish as wound/skin cleaning agents, and has been practiced at least since the 1940s, thought it is not very well documented.

The benefits are supposedly that the fish will nibble away the dead skin from your gross, flaky body, leaving behind a healthier looking you. In the 2000s this practice became very popular, and "fish spas" popped up in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. These spas are controversial and banned in much of the United States, however.

During the winter, dholes grow a fluffier coat, which is brighter orange with white on the underside.
During the winter, dholes grow a fluffier coat, which is brighter orange with white on the underside.
In the summer the dhole reverts to his darker, sleeker coat.
In the summer the dhole reverts to his darker, sleeker coat.

Dhole

Social, intelligent, and remarkably unlike wolves in behavior, the dhole (also called the Asiatic wild dog) is shy enough to avoid people yet brave enough to chase, tree, and even kill tigers when they are in large enough packs. They were immortalized in Rudyard Kipling's Red Dog as a bloodthirsty army, stating "...what a terrible thing a dhole hunting-pack was. Even Hathi moves aside from their line..." But listed as Endangered by IUCN, this native of Southeast Asia is a mighty creature in a shrewd package.

In years gone by, dholes were commonly seen in packs of over a hundred individuals, but due to extreme habitat loss, prey depletion, and diseases brought on by encroaching domestic dogs, their families have lessened in number, with groups of 40 being very rare.

Rather than howling or wailing like coyotes and wolves, the dhole prefers to whine, squeak, and whistle. They frequently communicate with each other as they trail their prey though heavily forested brush, in order to keep check of their positions and the locations of their food.

Dholes are considered to be less territorial and much more social than wolves due to the abundance of food year-round, and are not as chained to a constant dominance hierarchy. Being more lax in nature, it is common for adults to let their pups eat first at kills.

This baby Kirk's dik-dik was born at the Chester zoo in England in 2010, and was hand-reared by zoo keepers.
This baby Kirk's dik-dik was born at the Chester zoo in England in 2010, and was hand-reared by zoo keepers.
The probiscus-like nose of the dik-dik acts as a cooling system, an interesting adaptation used to cope in this animal's hot, arid land.
The probiscus-like nose of the dik-dik acts as a cooling system, an interesting adaptation used to cope in this animal's hot, arid land.

Dik-dik

Pictures of this thing have been making their rounds on the internet again, bestowing a daily dose of cute and striking up a few "what is that?"s along the way. The consensus is that it's a baby deer, but it is actually something much different. It's called a dik-dik, and it is an antelope, more closely related to a cow than a deer,

Barely over a foot in shoulder height, the dik-dik is one of the smallest antelopes in the world. It's hunted by almost everything in Africa, even snakes and lizards. It's a hard life being a dik-dik, nobody respects ya!

Dik-diks are monogamous, sticking closely to their mate all year round. Though the male does not assist with child-rearing, he will defend his lady from would-be Romeos and remains, for the most part, loyal to her. But it is the male, not the female, that may mate briefly with other partners before returning home.

At around 7 inches in length, crested newts are a decent size and make good pets.
At around 7 inches in length, crested newts are a decent size and make good pets.
A male crested newt looking for some lady newts.
A male crested newt looking for some lady newts.

Danube Crested Newt

Triturus dobrogicus is one species of the four similarly designed crested newts which live in Austria and surrounding countries. The Denube crested newt has the smallest range of the four, and is listened as Threatened under CITES because of habitat loss, pollution, and also hybridization amongst other populations of crested species.

During breeding season, the males develop large, fleshy crests from the bases of their tails to the middles of their heads, which they use to attract mates and intimidate competition. Females will lay hundreds of eggs singly, carefully selecting a leaf to attach each one to, and then skillfully curling the leaf around the eggs in protective, makeshift "husks."

In the wild, Lygodactylus williamsi is found exclusively in an area not much bigger than a single square mile.
In the wild, Lygodactylus williamsi is found exclusively in an area not much bigger than a single square mile.
As cliche as it may sound, pictures do not do this species justice.
As cliche as it may sound, pictures do not do this species justice.

Dwarf Day Gecko

Also known as the electric blue dwarf gecko, William's dwarf gecko, or simply Lygodactylus williamsi, this little known lizard has a knack for leaving big impressions on herpetoculturists. These small (2 to 5 inches) squamatas are known for their diurnal activity and their jewel-like, full-body shades of blue and green. It is typically the males which sport the most striking colors, but the gals can also have some appealing hues.

Because of depleting forests, these tiny little gems are quickly growing scarce. They live an arboreal life almost entirely restricted to Pandanaceae trees and are protected throughout the Kimboza Forest, which is the only location of their population. As a result of their critically endangered status, all wild-caught individuals found in the pet trade are poached illegally, and it is strongly recommended that anyone interested in these geckos buy captive bred individuals only. It is very likely that due to their small range they will soon become extinct in the wild.

What is your favorite D animal?

  • Dwarf day gecko
  • Doctor fish
  • Danube crested newt
  • Dik-dik
  • Dhole
See results without voting

More by this Author

  • The Argument For Altered Dogs
    26

    A dog is far more than the sum of his ears and tail, but to many owners the process of docking and cropping their animal is very important to the historical and functional appearance true to their origins. Are these...

  • The Top 5 Worst Pets
    64

    Let's face it, some animals are better left outside of the home and should really not be sold in pet stores, much less anywhere where someone might find them. Some animals just make the worst pets.

  • EDITOR'S CHOICE
    How to Identify Venomous House Spiders
    353

    An informational guide to a few of the most commonly feared spiders found in American homes, some harmless and some potentially dangerous.


Comments 9 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well I want a dik-dik right now! How adorable! Great series of hubs; keep them coming.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state Author

Thanks! :D I would love to have a couple dik-diks too. I imagine they would be like tiny little bitty goats...


viewfinders profile image

viewfinders 3 years ago from God's own country(kerala)

great pictures and i think some of them are at the line of extinction and thanks for sharing such a beautiful hub with us ....voted up


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Very interesting. I have only heard of one of these animals. If you hadn't wrote this hub I would have never knew about the others. Voted uP!


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state Author

Viewfinders, yes, I think that the gecko especially is under some serious pressure. Pretty soon I think captive populations will be the only way we can see them at all :(

Moonlake, thanks for reading and I'm glad I could show you some new critters!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

I've never heard of the dhole. What a beautiful animal! Thanks for this most interesting series about lesser-known animals. I'm getting quite an education. Up and interesting. :)


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

I remember being at Roy RogerĀ“s museum in California back in the 70s and seeing a dik-dik that he had shot and stuffed. My thought was "If he really was such a tough guy why did he have to shoot little animals like this?" I am enjoying these a-b-c-d articles, and look forward to every one you publish. Thanks.


grandmapearl profile image

grandmapearl 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

I'll take a dhole and a dik-dik and maybe a couple of those electric blue geckos! Wow, what a wonderful collection of unknowns (to me). This is a terrific series. Voted Up and Interesting. Keep up the good work.

Pearl


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 18 months ago from Washington state Author

Yes, the electric blue geckos are truly stunning to see in person! I wish they ran around in my garden naturally!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working