An Offense Against Nature Itself.

So this happened.


I’m not even exactly sure what that even is, actually. It  has obviously been engineered, but by some agent lacking even the vaguest grasp of natural selection. Its continued existence hinges on actions that would be described as “Extraordinary Measures” had it landed in a palliative care ward instead of my basement. Drinking water must be provided in a special bottle, for example, because its ears would fill a conventional water bowl, soaking up liquid like a sponge. All vacuuming within a 50-meter radius must be performed without the use of any rotary rug-beating attachment, for fear the ears could get slurped up into the gears and jam the mechanism. Anyone approaching within fifteen meters must affix themselves to a ceiling-mounted track harness and keep all body parts at least 10 cm off the floor.

I did manage a decent double half-hitch. Sheepshank, though, no luck.

I did manage a decent double half-hitch. Sheepshank, though, no luck.

The only practical use I’ve been able to discover for this thing is as a platform to practice my seamanship skills on.

Its biography, and the circumstances of its arrival, remain unclear and not entirely consistent. Evidently it is a purebred something, and would have had significant stud value but for the fact that it had only one descended testicle. Its original host loved it so much on account of its “sweet disposition” that he could not bring himself to kill it until the weekend; other parties had until then to find alternate accommodations. However, it clearly had two descended testicles when I first encountered it, leading other parties to reassure me that no, the original breeder was not incapable of counting past “1”, and that the creature must have simply “got better”. We are awaiting the results of further tests to ascertain whether it has ever been turned into a newt.

The ears do not appear to be prehensile.

The ears do not appear to be prehensile.

I have repeatedly suggested surgery to reduce these deformities to a size that might be less maladaptive, or at least to allow someone to walk down the hall without tripping over them. I have been shouted down on each occasion, and informed that the removal of birth defects is somehow “cruel” and “mean”.

Attempts to decide on a name are ongoing. “Dumbo”, “Obama”, and “Hideousness II” have all been voted down. I wish I could remember the name of the blue chick with the floppy (and equally nonfunctional) tentacles growing out of her head from Return of the Jedi. Or even the species.

Its eyes are a hideous, gelatinous, Lovecraftian red. (Like Lovecraft, this creature is very white.) Its nose twitches constantly, as if the larvae of some horrific ichneumon wasp writhe within the sinuses, verging on eruption.

Suggestions are welcome.

The BUG's attempts to improve my regard for whatever this is— by dressing it in the trappings of power and authority— have so far proven singularly unsuccessful.

The BUG’s attempts to improve my regard for whatever this is— by packaging it in trappings of power and authority— have, so far, proven singularly unsuccessful.

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 8:13 am and is filed under misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

37 Responses to “An Offense Against Nature Itself.”

  1. Leslie

    The name of the Twi’lek dancer in Return of the Jedi was Oola.

    Granted, I had to google this, I only remembered the name of the species. 🙂

  2. Terry

    (Daily reader here; I only seldom comment)

    So, in other words, and to sum it all up: You’ve got a new floppy-eared bunny and you’re tickled pink. Congratulations!

  3. Jim

    You’re probably thinking of Oola, a Twi’lek.

  4. Matthew

    My god, man, do you not know the creeping flesh of the Lurker on the Threshold when you see it? He is the Key and the Gate! Let not the ears touch each other…

  5. Szymon

    Charles. Charles Windsor.

  6. AngusM

    I have to admit, my first thought was “Move over Schrodinger’s Cat, here comes Lovecraft’s Bunny.”

    Its size and whiteness does suggest that Moby Rabbit might fit. Or you could call him Shmoo, after Al Capp’s white and amorphous critters (

    Actually, in the first picture he looks like nothing so much as an albino version of Rosebud the Basselope from “Bloom County”. Do you happen to have a smallish set of reindeer antlers that you could attach to complete the likeness?

  7. Spriggana

    Clearly it’s name is Fikander.
    No idea if autotranslate will produce anything comprehensible, but the p[ictures say it all.

  8. Steve Halter

    Possibly a form of shoggoth.

  9. whoever

    See, you got it all wrong. That rabbit is using the Earth as an antenna booster and can actually–simultaneously!–receive Netflix and Snapchat about it with Gaia, as well as predicting tremors and the distance and velocity of incoming horse-back posses and hordes. Very useful, evolutionarily speaking.

  10. Aaron

    Looks to me like a couple of tasty, but nutritionally incomplete, suppers. Maybe a nice pair of earmuffs, too, or comfy warm glove linings, depending on overall size and pelt quality. They’re easy to skin and dress, too, but I tend to doubt any of that would go over well with whichever members of the Watts household it’s managed to suborn.

  11. Nathalie Mege

    The solution is obvious, Peter: stilts

  12. John Eff

    Red only refers to him as ‘the Albanian’. A master eavesdropper who can keep a secret, but will gladly spill his guts for the right amount of carrots.

  13. AngusM

    Nathalie Mege suggested stilts. It’s possible, however, that amorphous bunny-shaped horrors from beyond space and time don’t have good enough balance to make this a workable solution.

    I recommend attaching tiny helium balloons (or not-so-tiny helium balloons) to the tip of each ear, to keep them safely off the floor and out of harm’s way. I thought about using miniature drones, but the constant rotor whine might be traumatizing to a sensitive creature. As a bonus, you could decorate the balloons in whatever way fit best with your own particular nightmare vision for this flop-eared monster. You could make them look like grotesque fruiting bodies, or giant eyeballs, or … well, the only limit is your own imagination.

  14. Michael


  15. Angela D

    Those ears are unbelievable. Very cute, but haphazard creature you’ve found yourself with. I helped a neighbor foster an abandoned lop eared rabbit a month ago, and they are very efficient at winning over humans (especially us females).
    Maybe a vet can recommend some ideas on how to prevent any injuries to his ears without too much intervention.

    Oh, and about that missing testical…

    Rabbits, like a few other mammals, can retract their testes up inside the body.

  16. DavidK44

    And just how many deleterious phenotypes (for most environments, at least) can we observe on display? Impressive!

    Shades of Bill Peet and Buford the Little Bighorn….

    I suggest two low-gauss magnets, one in each ear, positioned about two-thirds of the way towards the tip, to keep them from dragging.

  17. Anonymous

    I get it! This is a sample from Firefall-3, and the narrator is a human who lost ability to see cuteness when he got infected by evil alien goo.

  18. Mister_DK

    “he blue chick with the floppy (and equally nonfunctional) tentacles growing out of her head from Return of the Jedi. ”

    Oola from RotJ was green. The blue chick with nonfunctional tentacles was from The Fifth Element and was named Diva Plavalaguna

    “Diva” would not be a bad name for the rabbit

  19. Florian

    Clearly, the name would have to be Mi-Go.


  20. Florian

    goshdarnit this comment thing cuts away stuff

    Mi-Go, the Fungi from Yuggoth
    (…) Once a specimen was seen flying—launching itself from the top of a bald, lonely hill at night and vanishing in the sky after its great flapping wings had been silhouetted an instant against the full moon.” (“The Whisperer in Darkness”)

  21. Peter D

    Don’t name him for his worst feature, name him aspirationally. Call him Usagi Yojimbo in the hopes that one day he’ll become a wandering ronin, or something.

    As for the problem, well, I think this is one of a so-far-likely-incredibly-small-but-I-suspect-one-day-huge set of applications of the clever combination of earrings and micro-drones with station-keeping abilities.

  22. Florian

    Aspirationally, you say – how about Goomba?

  23. Florian

    Or Mario, because it has “one up”, too.

    I should really, really do something different with my time -.-

  24. Y.

    I would name it Tommorow’s Stew, Stew for short.

    Looks tasty.

  25. Jeff

    If it he were foaming at the the mouth, I’d call him Rabbid.

  26. Nestor

    Hey it’s Bun-bun

  27. whoever

    Maximum, or Maximus, Bundage.

  28. Mike Grupa


    I wonder if you pointed it into the wind if it might achieve flight? Worth a shot!

  29. JB

    Aw. Cute little bunny. I wonder if ihe was bioengineered to maim like the Rabbit of Caerbannog in Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Wouldn’t that be fun!

  30. Alex

    Imharetor Furryosa

  31. ignoti

    Looks like Brüks.

  32. Mr Non-Entity

    The fact that humans intentionally bred this… specimen, and possibly chihuahuas, is why the space aliens refuse to speak to us. Oh, and English Bulldogs, probably other things as well.

    An interesting tale about conserving mutations in captive species. This guy goes down to Mexico to pick up a pregnant purebred bitch of the Mexican Hairless Dog, a.k.a. the “Xolo“, which mavens of the Dog Fancy have declared to be “the next big thing”. On the way, he needs to fill the fuel tank of his car, and get a bite to eat. So he walks into this restaurant at the gas station, and because the dog is so valuable, he brings the dog in with him. As soon as he does, all of the older natives in the place look totally shocked, get up and walk out. The guy with the dog does not understand this.

    A young native is still there, and the dog transporter fellow asks him, “what just happened?” The young guy says “I don’t know, let me go ask”. He comes back in with one of the older guys, who is giving them a suspicious stare. As it turns out, the dogs were considered very bad luck, not so much in a superstitious way, but for a practical reason. The natives still had the story of how, back in the old empire, the priests would come around and raise taxes or demand a sacrifice. They always had one of these dogs with them when they came on such a mission, and when people asked why they should pay more taxes or offer a sacrifice, the priests would reach into their robes, pull out and display the dog, and declare “clearly the gods are angry!”

    Supposedly, one look at that dog was all that people needed to be convinced.

    Perhaps these rabbits were bred with something similar in mind, by the priests of some religion that died out from lack of taxes and sacrifices. You just can’t get much Sky Fairy mileage out of the Lop-Eared Fluffy Bunny of the Apocalypse.

  33. whoever

    @ Mr Non Entity

    Ha! Hearing that Preacher is
    finally in the works
    , though that’s not the one with the morally questionable wabbit.

  34. Mr Non-Entity

    Peter Watts wrote: “I’m not even exactly sure what that even is, actually. It has obviously been engineered […]”

    There are examples that are even more egregious.

    They are not even particularly rare.

    Surprisingly, they are thought to have originated as a breed only in the 19th Century or so, and the English Lop rabbit, which would seem to be exactly what you have there, is thought to be the original strain from which the many other “Lop” rabbits were bred. I have no idea how they got the name, other than to guess that the first ones might have been greeted with the amazed remark “they’d have to lop off half his ears for him to hop away with any speed”.

    If you can’t find it in your heart to turn the poor mutant creature out into the coming winter, and haven’t ever had rabbits before, keep in mind that rabbits have a digestive system halfway between that of most mammals and the true ruminants. They have to eat, pass the food once through the digestion, and they then excrete “cecotropes” and eat them, where they deliver the full nutritional load the second time through. I’ve heard stories, which may be a bit exaggerated, of people who tried to keep the rabbit hutch excessively clean and thus starved their rabbits. Cheers and good luck with this strange guest.

  35. Nestor

    Hey Peter, check out this webcomic, I think it would be right down your street (It’s started fairly recently so there’s not a lot of archive to catch up on, I’d start at the start, because the most recent pages are kinda… hard to describe.

  36. Klaus

    Can’t help you with the name, but earrings and one or two helium balloons might make life less hazardous for him.

  37. Aeon

    He freaks me out a bit but I wish him lots of luck and I’m sure he’s in good hands.

    Also kind of tickled to see that you too have an ikea Lusy Blom rug… snap 🙂