Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The dark side of cuddly, the cuddly side of odd

Evil squirrel
One of the fun things Flickr allows you to do is create public groups on any theme you like; other flickrites can sign up to your group and add pictures that fit the theme. On the spur of the moment about a month ago, inspired by the appearance of some pictures of amusingly crazy-looking squirrels and raccoons, I started a group called "Disturbing Small Furry Animals." I proposed that we post pictures revealing "the dark side of cuddly." Above is a photo of a squirrel that I took for the group. Small, furry, creepy. See?

The response to the group has been great, and interesting. Initially, a lot of people posted pictures that they'd snagged off the internet or received as e-mail forwards -- that infamous one of the child feeding the mating kangaroos, for example. So I asked that people post only their own pics, and everyone politely complied. Then there was some trouble with people posting pictures that didn't quite fit the group description: they contained no animals, or they were cute but not creepy. I let that go for awhile, not wanting to be overly strict, but what I soon realised was that it was a self-perpetuating problem: if I left a bunch of cute-kitten pictures in the pool, new people would come along, assume it was a cute-kitten pool, and post more pictures of cute kittens. It was a small lesson in group internet dynamics. Now I try to remove the overly-cute pictures whenever I can.

The group has 90 members at last count, and the only problem now is that there are too many pictures of cats. This is because it is very, very easy to get a photo of a cat acting crazy (they do it all the time, as you know if you own one), and also because the Cat People are an unstoppable force on flickr. That's another thing I have learned from this group: never underestimate the Cat People. The sheer quantity of cat photographs they are able to generate is staggering. So the group, for the most part, has become Disturbing Small Furry Cats.

Still, it's a fun pool to flip through. For one thing, there are still a lot of disturbing non-cats: an attack ferret, for example, and a recently deceased mole, and the head of a musk deer that looks venomously resentful about having been stuffed and mounted on a wall. For another thing, some of the cat photos are great. This one made me laugh really hard. And, good lord, what exactly the hell is going on HERE?
Slipper Monster
That shot was contributed by Anders Viklund, a guy in Stockholm who has uploaded hundreds and hundreds of photos of a bizarre-looking litter of squish-faced Persian kittens. It was one of his pictures that garnered the Disturbing Small Furry Animals group a mention on FlickrBlog. Yay!

And now, as a special extra bonus feature, I present: a bunch of links to strange, cute, furry animals you may never even have heard of before!

~ The rock hyrax, or dassie. Cute!

~ Capybara. Awwww!

~ The bilby -- so cute, they made a chocolate version.

~ The pika. OMG so very cute!

~ And the quoll. Wee! Adorable!


Blogger ranjit said...

Dassie, capybara, bilby, pika, and quoll. Even their names are adorable!

12:45 a.m., June 16, 2005  
Blogger Nadia said...

It's true!

12:45 p.m., June 16, 2005  

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