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Hunting the Great Spotted Snark
by Diana Grove


Unfortunately, stalking and killing rare and exotic animals has become not just passe, but down right illegal. There was a time when a man could pick up a spear (trident, club, rocket launcher) and follow his natural hunting instinct. But no more! Why? Because the Dewey-Lipped Plover needs to eat Mud Hut Beetles so the Water Tupelos won't perish. Does this make any sense? Of course not! That's why we should all puff up our chests, take weapon in hand and get out there and start killing things.* And why should we kill just any old thing when there are plenty of exotic animals out there to do in. Following is a list of exotic creatures that are just plain fun to hunt down, if for no other reason than to hang on your wall next to Whistler's Mother or the dogs playing poker.

*Incidentally, killing people is still illegal in this country, unless you enlist in the military, then you can kill foreigners and actually get paid for it.

Ring-Lipped Fire Sponge (Spongeformus Incendiari)

....Found off the coast of Weeki Wachee, FL and other sponge laden ports.

The Ring-Lipped Fire Sponge is happy enough co-mingling with limpets and beach fleas on the ocean floor, but make no mistake, this is a vicious creature that would like nothing better than to suck the flesh clean off an ankle or bite a toe in two just to hear it snap. Therefore, next to wiping out killer turtles and rabid tooth worms, hunting these insufferable spongeforms into extinction should be the first thing on every true hunter's list. Use a spear, a lance or a well-sharpened frog gig to extract the Fire Sponge from its rocky, aquatic dwelling. Warning! The Fire Sponge secretes a deadly toxin from its many rubbery and multi-chambered lips. It is, however, quite delicious flash fried with sand clams in a tarragon butter sauce.

Great Fanged Wood Deer (Fawnus Docilia)

...Roams the forests of northern Minnesota, yet another insidious, bloodthirsty migrant from Canada.

Let's face it, we all love to oil up our shotguns and shoot at deer, especially after a 6-pack or two. But when you spot an 8 point buck with blood dripping down its chin and tufts of natted fur sticking out of its mouth, it pays to take heed. Sure, it may look innocent enough roaming through the loblolly's nipping at strap ferns and knotgrass, but that very deer probably just mercilessly tore the limbs from a helpless wolverine and is most likely sizing you up for dessert. With a steady eye and a quick finger, that vicious, blood-craving beast can become a nice dinner companion to your whipped potatoes and pinto beans.

Subterranean Swamp Weasel (Subterranos Weaselecti)

...Characterized by long, circuitous mounds erupting from mungy, miasmic soils.

Not to be confused with the Cone-Nosed Carpet Mole, and Lord knows many do, particularly if the wind is gusting. The Subterranean Swamp Weasel spends most of its day stumbling about below the earth's surface in search of grubs, grublettes, and the rare eastern snub grub. It only reveals its tiny, blind head to the world on rare occasions, mostly to dine on nipple galls or tawny milkcaps, and only then if their lactating. Although this creature has been practically driven into extinction by bulldozers and the Semi-Palmated Booby (a nasty, raptor-like bird with an admirable "take no prisoners" attitude), I see no reason why we shouldn't wax our weasel traps and wipe this little fur snake right off the planet. Besides, weasel fur makes excellent earmuffs.

Toggle Vipers (Serpentinus Springeria)

...Found lurking in forest preserves and other rat-infested hell holes.

I have yet to find a use for Toggle Vipers, except perhaps to throw at musk turtles and whippoorwills, just to see them jump. Toggle Vipers coil up like giant bedsprings when threatened, then bounce at breakneck speed in no particular direction. It's this kind of indecisiveness that gives this snake such a bad name in the serpent world. With fangs a-flex it springs forth, often hooking itself on an unsuspecting tree or bush, missing its victim completely. What else can one do but gingerly tuck it into a bag and send it off to the local belt smithy. (Caution! Toggle Vipers are often seen cavorting with The Great Kentucky Fat Asp, which is not necessarily deadly or even dangerous, but is really, really fat.)

The Greater and Lesser Spotted Snark (Snarkus Pluribus Unum)

Actually, no one has ever really seen a Snark, much less captured one. But that shouldn't stop you from strapping on your ankle gaiters, taking gun (arrow, slingshot, AK-47) in hand and striking out into the woods to hunt this elusive beast to an early grave. Legend has it the Great Spotted Snark hides in rocky crevices in heavily wooded areas all over North America. Apparently, their long, tubular snouts shoot fire and gooey magma at unsuspecting victims. And their claws are like 19th century straight razors, complete with decorative filigree and inlays of mother-of-pearl. The Lesser Snark is lesser only in that its claws are made from common tin. Both species choose to dwell under the porches of quaint, little farm homes that house pig-tailed girls named either Becky of Susan. If one should encounter a Snark, DO NOT FEED IT! They are reportedly proficient at popping a limb clean out of its socket, creating a loud shmucking sound which can be heard up to 5 miles away, maybe even 6.

Bearded Sea Cow (Aquaticus Bovine Mustachi)

...Often seen in herds floating through mangrove hummocks, grazing on wilted sea lettuce and cudberries.

Because the Sea Cow is so slow and harmless it is quite easy to locate through a riflescope or over the barrel of a cannon. It's often spotted either tenderly nursing its young with long, rubber glove-like nipples or grooming its prodigious van dyke with spiny sea mollusks. These tremendous creatures may look cute floating through the depths like corpulent beauty queens, but don't let that sway you! If you start going all bandy-legged and soft in the middle over "nature's target practice" then you might as well throw down your gun (spear, sword, flame-thrower) and join one of those pansy-assed, daisy-sniffing conservation groups like Save The Flesh-Eating Marsh Rabbit, or Protect The Blood-Sucking Assassin Bug. You must take up arms and persevere! And remember to always follow the hunter's creed; "Be Strong," "Stop At Nothing," and "For God's Sake, Don't Drop the Ammunition Down the Asp Hole."


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