The Animal Kingdom
There are many different types of animals in the world. Many animals are quite similar to each other. Others are quite different. Animals can be classified based on their similarities. The animal kingdom is divided in two main groups. No, animal classes are not like the classes people have at school! An animal class is made up of animals that are all alike in important ways. Scientists have grouped animals into classes to make it easier to study them.
The invertebrates and the vertebrates. More than 98% of the animal species in the animal kingdom are invertebrates. Many invertebrates have a hydrostatic skeleton, like jelly fish and worms. Others have an outer skeleton, like insects and spiders. The most common invertebrates include the protozoa, annelids, echinoderms, mollusks and arthropods. Of all animals in the animal kingdom only 2% are vertebrates. Vertebrates have an internal skeleton made of bone. Most vertebrates are well known. The most common vertebrates include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of their size and mobility vertebrates are dominant in their environment.
People are mammals. So are dogs, cats, horses, duckbill platypuses, kangaroos, dolphins and whales. If an animal drinks milk when it is a baby and has hair on its body, it belongs to the mammal class. There are only about 4,000 kinds of mammals. This sounds like a lot, but when you consider there are 21,000 kinds of fish and a whopping 800,000 kinds of insects you'll realize mammals are a pretty small class!
Birds are animals that have feathers and that are born out of hard-shelled eggs. All birds have feathers and birds are the only animals that do. The feathers on a bird's wings and tail overlap. Because they overlap, the feathers catch and hold the air. This helps the bird to fly, steer itself and land.
Fish are vertebrates that live in water and have gills, scales and fins on their body. There are a lot of different fish and many of them look very odd indeed. There are blind fish, fish with noses like elphants, fish that shoot down passing bugs with a stream of water and even fish that crawl onto land and hop about!
Reptiles are a class of animal with scaly skin. They are cold blooded and are born on land. Snakes, lizards, crocodiles, alligators and turtles all belong to the reptile class. Reptiles are born on land and are born with strong instincts, so they are on their own at birth.
Amphibians are born in the water. When they are born, they breath with gills like a fish. But when they grow up, they develop lungs and can live on land. The word amphibian means two-lives. There are more than 4,000 different kinds of amphibians. Members of this animal class are frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians or blindworms.
Arthropods is a huge phylum of animals -- it includes eleven animal classes: Merostomata, Pycnogonida, Arachnida, Remipedia, Cephalocarida, Branchiopoda, Maxillopoda, Malacostraca, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, and Insecta. Any animals that have more than four, jointed legs are arthropods. Insects, spiders and crustaceans all belong to this class of animals.
Any guy who's ever had a dog knows that women on the street give you the time of day when you walk your hound. They stop to pat Fido affectionately on the head and, oddly, seem to naturally place their trust in you as well. But what if we take it one step further: If a dog is that good at defusing the defenses of the finer sex and drawing them over, then what about a monkey? Or a snake? Or a ferret? And so, to find out which denizen of the animal kingdom is the best woman-fetcher, we took five four-legged (and no-legged) friends for a stroll, a scurry, and a slither around New York City's Central Park and some nearby streets. We gave them an hour each to see what they could dig up. Attaboy. Which of God's creatures is the best chick magnet?
You'd have to be covered in cat piss and open sores not to score with a bush baby. These prosimians live in the dense treetops of sub-Saharan Africa, but as Quincy proved, they would also flourish on the jaded New York singles scene. Quincy's first victim was a 25-year-old ice-cream saleswoman. She ditched her cart full of Ben & Jerry's to run over and stroke his slippery, soft fur. By far the biggest catch of the day was a group of giggling high school seniors from Indiana (ah, jailbait) with nurturing instincts in overdrive. Joyously shouting, "We want to pet your monkey!" they braved a busy intersection and surrounded tester and monkey as if the pair were giving away fake IDs.
Bush babies cost about $3,000, they are highly affectionate, comedic, but being nocturnal, it may wake up at 3 a.m. wanting to call Zimbabwe. They project an image that you're a sensitive soul, a lover of all creatures great and small (particularly creatures that net booty). It attracted 30 women of all shapes and kinds. The best comment by women was, "Your little monkey is just so-o-o soft."
A guy with a lizard evokes a curious mixture of contempt, disgust, and pity in a woman's eyes. As our tester patrolled the area with Izzy, the ladies gave both of them sidelong glances and stared expressionlessly. What, after all, is a woman supposed to say to a man walking a gangly, spine-covered reptile? Fact is, lizards aren't soft, don't smell good, and have small, unblinking, voyeuristic eyes. To make matters worse, Izzy spooked upon seeing a dog and scrambled up our tester's arm, leaving three inch-long bloody scratches on his wrist. Had there been a refrigerator nearby, our tester would surely have rammed Izzy's saurian ass in the deep freeze.
A South American Green Iguana will cost about $400, they are low maintenance, take criticism well, and double as sculpture, but it has the personality of a bookcase. They project an image that you are an outsider willing to take on an inscrutable pet few but yourself will ever love-yep, you're a loser. It attracted four women, all of them under five years old. The best comment was by a guy in his mid-20s who said that, "My friend had one of those. Ripped the shit out of his arm."
Some women looked, some women smiled, but none of them really gave a shit that our man had a parrot. Why? "People see birds all the time," explains longtime animal handler Duke Lee, "so unless the bird talks, folks aren't inclined to pay much attention to them."
Yellow-fronted Amazon Parrots cost between $800-.900, they are a lifelong companion, they live about a 100 years, and they talk, but one of its assets is also a liability in that they talk. They project an image that you're a pirate. A sad, lonely pirate. It didn't attract any women. What was truly sad was, Fat Boy could talk and even say "Hello. I'm Fat Boy," but the damned bird kept his beak shut. The least he could have done was step up to the plate with a rudimentary "Polly want a threesome!"
Freud was right about some things. Right from the get-go, our tester, with a serpent wrapped around his neck like a writhing gym towel, got strong reactions. As man and snake crossed a bridge, a pair of twentysomethings ran for the railing. But other women cautiously approached, unable to take their eyes off Monk. The most promising candidate: a blonde in her early 20s sporting tan legs and cutoffs who was transfixed by the reptile. She crossed the road, leaving behind two accompanying men, and quizzed the tester giddily. "How'd you get him? How long have you had him? How long have you been walking around with him?" Ever so gently, our guy coaxed her into touching it.
An Albino Burmese Python costs about $150, they need food only once every 2 weeks, but they grows to 20 feet, forget to feed and it may try to squeeze you for a Happy Meal. They project an image that you're a daring adventurer with a dark and wild heart. You also have a huge cock. It attracted 12 women, fascinated and possibly sexually enterprising Eve types. The best comment was by a women, "Will he lick me? I don't want him to lick me."
Lots of women looked at the ferret, but most seemed slightly repulsed. When our tester asked a semicurious walker with nice legs and curly blonde hair if she wanted to pet Theo, she stared hesitantly and finally said, "No, that's OK," and quickly moved on. The most common reaction women had was a simple desire to identify what the hell the guy was holding. "Oh, it's a ferret," the ladies would say flatly as they strolled past, almost as if they were disappointed that it wasn't something better (like a snake?). Despite Theo's sunny, cuddly personality, he was, after all, a beady-eyed rodent that most women would rather wear than love.
Common Ferrets cost about $150, and are more entertaining than TV, but unless you remove its scent glands, you will smell like hearty, musky urine. They project an image that you're a silly, mischievous guy. Unfortunately, your pet rodent inspires vague negative images of Richard Gere. It attracted three women, somewhat dry types who would have been attracted to anything moving. The best comment was by women, "Oh, look. A whatchamacallit."
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