Every now and then the unexpected can happen during an animal’s prenatal development. These rare occurrences can result in bizarrely strange to sometimes quite beautiful effects. Sometimes these genetic anomalies occur naturally and against great odds, while other times these mutations are man-made and have been achieved to serve some greater purpose. These man-made changes can be a result of selective breeding or actually altering the creature at the genetic level.
Regardless of the story or the reasons behind these animal’s unique features, these creatures are some of the most well-known genetically mutated specimens in existence.
In Croatia a baby goat was born with a genetic abnormality that resulted in the sprouting of four extra legs. This is the result of one of the kids absorbing one of its siblings in the womb.
Farmer Zoran Paparic told reporters that he thought he might be going crazy when he counted the goat’s legs, so he had to invite over a neighboring farmer to confirm that his own eyes were not deceiving him. The kid did not survive long, but the farmer planned to keep the animal as a pet if it did.
14. Froggy the Three-Headed Frog
People aren’t sure if Froggy’s abnormality is the result of a genetic birth defect or a mutation resulting from pollution, but this three-headed (and six-legged!) frog is certainly ambitious. Froggy was originally kept in a nursery as a pet to a class of 3 to 4-year-old children, but he broke out and was lost forever in the waters of Weston-Super-Mare in England.
13. The One-Footed Snake
In 2009, a snake with a single, clawed foot was discovered by a woman in Southwest China.
Dean Qiongxiu found the snake hanging on her window. She was so freaked out by the creature that she beat it to death with her own shoe, but then wisely preserved it in a jar of alcohol.
Many theories have gone around concerning the snake, but some believe that the snake is the result of atavism, a phenomena in which a genetic trait that existed in the creature’s ancestors shows itself in the new species.
12. A Winged Cat
There have actually been a large number and documented cases of these “winged” cats. The cats actually can’t fly, and outside of some instances where it’s simply a matter of matted fur, there have been cases on a genetic level at well.
One explanation is extra limbs that just wound up at the right place, but there is also a condition called cutaneous asthenia. In this instance, the cat can even move the appendages.
11. Glow-in-the-Dark Cats
This genetic mutation was a result of man-made tampering in the name of AIDS research. When unfertilized cat eggs were injected with rhesus macaque and jellyfish DNA, the cats were immune to feline AIDS. In addition to this immunity, the cats would glow under certain conditions of light.
It would be interesting if this ends up working in humans as well. The treatment would make it increasingly difficult for a prowler to hide in your home at night.
10. Goats With Spider-Web Milk
These goats have been genetically modified by researchers at Nexia Biotechnologies so that their milk is infused with spider-silk. The milk produced is then used to make a material known as BioSteel. The product is 7 to 10 times stronger than steel and it can stretch up to twenty times its length without losing any of its integrity. Biosteel also has a strong resistance to extreme temperatures.
9. The Monkey Pig
A strange little piglet with the face of a monkey was born in a small village in China. Most of the family was terrified of the piglet but it soon became a bit of a tourist attraction, not to mention the fact that their young son took a liking to the pig as a pet.
The piglet’s condition is thought to be a result of a genetic defect known as holoprosencephaly. This condition can cause cyclopia, which may explain why the pig’s eyes are so close together.
8. The Cyclops Kitten
Unfortunately this is a bit of a sad story. The cyclops kitten known as “Cleyed” was delivered in a veterinarian hospital when the mother was showing complications during birth. Cleyed was the second kitten born in the litter and emerged from its mother with only one large eye and an absent nose. The kitten died shortly after birth, but the clips of the kitten’s short live went viral on the internet.
7. Transparent Goldfish
These transparent fish are another instance of genetic tampering on the part of scientists. Of course there is a rhyme and reason to these fish. No one was just trying to see if they could achieve clear skin for cosmetic purposes.
These see-through fish were made as a more authentic alternative to dissection, as an animated computer program can only give one so much of an idea. The interesting part to this is the scientists have really just exchanged one serious question concerning ethics and animal treatment for another.
6. The Real-Life Blinky
In a strange instance of life imitating art, here we have a real-life genetic mutation that was the pulled right out of an episode of the Simpson, in which Bart catches a three-eyed fish dubbed “Blinky” in the waters surrounding the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. A scandal ensues.
Swap Bart with a fisherman named Julian Zmutt and swap a nuclear power plant in Springfield with a nuclear power plant in Argentina, and the story is essentially the same.
5. Pro-Wrestling Pooch
This condition is a genetic abnormality that creates a lack of Myostatin protein or disallows Myostatin to be produced at sufficient levels. The result is an abnormally huge muscular structure known as “double muscling”. The condition has been seen in humans, cattle, and the whippet breed of dog in particular.
Dog breeders used to intentionally breed whippets to have the condition, but the double muscling can be harmful to the animal. Most breeders now take precautions to avoid the condition in the breed.
4. The Purple Squirrel
There have actually been a small number of purple squirrel sightings all over the world. The occurrence of genetic color mutations isn’t unheard of so there is the possibility of this phenomenon being genetic. Admittedly, there is also the possibility that these squirrel sightings are just a number of squirrels that happened to become dyed by human means or the squirrel getting into something that would dye its fur.
3. Transparent Frogs
These transparent frogs were created in Hiroshima laboratories for the very same reason as the transparent goldfish. These interesting little critters aren’t just to be used as alternatives to dissection; since more organs can be seen, and since their bodies are more complicated, observations can be made while the animal is alive, and in motion as well.
2. Blue Lobsters
These blue lobsters are extremely rare, but not altogether unheard of. There is about a 1 in 2 million chance that a lobster will be blue. In fact, there are other variations that are even rarer. Some lobsters have been found with two colors split down the middle, and a yellow lobster only has a 1 in 30 million chance of being produced.
1. Two-Faced Cat
This two-faced cat (or cats?) is known as Franky and Louie. The cat is the result of absorbing another member of the litter in the womb. While animals born this way usually don’t live long due to a number of problems like cleft palates and pneumonia that are associated with the mutation, Franky and Louie seemed to have avoided the side-effects and have lived a long and full life together.