Top Ten Fictional Animal Species
Writers are an amazing bunch of people. They not only manage to find a way to tell us an awesome story, but they often invent whole new worlds, give their characters crazy powers, and some of them even invent whole new races of people. Sometimes they'll even give us a whole new animal species.
I thought I'd take a look at some of the most interesting fictional animal species, and I decided to only use critters from television and movies because, if I used books, we'd be here all day.
These are my top ten favorite fictional animal species. I did not use any mythological characters, or legends, like dragons, werewolves, or unicorns. If you think I've left off your favorite, please feel free to tell me in the comments and we can talk about it like civilized people. With or without light sabers! Please note that this list does reflect my adoration of 80s movies!
(I would have used Gungans from Star Wars, but I didn't trust myself to do it without using JarJar Binks speak and I didn't want to get stalked by Star Wars fans with grudges! And light sabers.)
Gizmo was a cute little Mogwai. When I first saw him in the 1984 movie Gremlins, I wanted one. Until I found out what happened when a Mogwai's owner doesn't follow the rules. I'm not so good with rules.
Mogwais are cute, cuddly little Koala like animals that sing and generally trigger the 'Aw' reflex in anyone who sees them.
In Gremlins, Randall (Hoyt Axton) comes across the Mogwai in a Chinese antique store. After buying it as a Christmas present for his son Billy (Zach Galligan), he does tell him that he can't get Gizmo wet, he can't feed him after midnight and he can't expose him to bright light.
Well, the SHTF and all of a sudden, there's several of these things and they trick Billy into feeding them. The next day, they turn into Gremlins, and that's never a good thing. Chaos ensues, people die, and Gremlins go down as one of my top ten fictional animal species.
Hippogriffs aren't new, though Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the first place that many people heard of them.
Mythological hippogriffs were the offspring of a griffin and a female horse, which was very unusual because griffins gereally like to eat horses.
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, hippogriffs are introduced by Hagrid (Robbie Coletrane). Though most of the other students are frightened of them, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) makes friends with Buckbeak, Hagrid's favorite. Unfortunately, Draco (Tom Felton) gets injured, and Buckbeak is sentenced to death for being such a dangerous beast.
After a daring escape, though, Buckbeak lives to fly another day. He also likes to eat squirrels.
Chewbacca is one of the most beloved of all of the Star Wars characters. He is a Wookiee, a species that originated on the planet Kashyyyk. These guys are taller than humans, stronger than humans, and have the capability to learn quickly and to handle advanced technology.
Though Wookiees cannot speak normal human languages, their gutteral noises are distinctive. Their language is officially called Shyriiwook. Some other species in the Star Wars universe can understand Shyriiwook, if not speak it. Chewbacca's best buddy, Han Solo is able to communicate with him fairly easily.
Though Wookiees easily adapt to any environment, they love the forest the most. They can often be seen climbing and swinging from the trees just like monkeys. They distrust strangers, but are very loyal to their friends and family.
7. Luck Dragons
The Neverending Story was a film made in 1984 and adapted from a German novel. In the story, a kid named Bastian (Barret Oliver) finds a book that turns out to be magical. He is inventing the story as he reads it. Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) must save Fantasia from The Nothing. Along the way, he gets some help from unusual places.
Enter Falkor the Luck Dragon.
Luck Dragons aren't as strong and fierce as their regular dragon cousins, but they are awfully lucky. They can breathe fire, but it's blue.
With a long, thin body and a face that resembles a dog, Falkor turns out to be Atreyu's best compadre. In the final scene in the movie, Bastian makes it to Fantasia and is flying across the fields on Falkor's back.
Interesting note: Falkor has made appearances on South Park, Family Guy, and Robot Chicken!
The Dark Crystal was a 1982 film made by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. It told the story of a Gelfling named Jen, who has to find a shard of the crystal to save his world. He had been taken in by a race of wise Mystics when he was orphaned as a child. When their leader dies, Jen must travel to the home of the evil Skeksis and reunite the shard with the Dark Crystal before the Skeksis rule the world forever.
The Skeksis are connected mystically to the Mystics, and when one Mystic dies, a Skeksis will die also. The Skeksis are also using the power of the Dark Crystal for nefarious purposes and guard it with every evil thing that they can think up.
Skeksis are ugly, vulture looking creatures with humpbacks and have four arms. They will also stop at nothing to keep the little Gelfling from merging the shard with the Dark Crystal. They are greedy, mean and conniving, and many little kids won't watch this movie after the Skeksis first appearance, they're just that scary looking.
Besides the Snuggle Bear, Ewoks might just be the most adorable creature ever created.
Ewoks first appear in the Star Wars universe in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. They come from the planet Endor, which is actually a moon (not a space station!). The live in tree houses and, when they meet the android character C-3PO, they believe he is a God and worship him, much to his delight.
Ewoks are little, teddy bear like creatures with the most adorable eyes. They are fierce warriors with wicked senses of humor. And they really don't like the Empire trying to bogart their moon one little iota.
Though their language doesn't have an official name, it is derived from Kalmyk, a language native to a small village in Russia.
Interesting note: The word Ewok is never mentioned in the film. It's also a rearrangement of the syllables in Wookiee.
4. House Elves
Dobby the House Elf first showed up in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He was warning Harry not to return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, because he was doing this without his master's approval, he had to keep beating the crap out of himself as penance.
House elves in the Harry Potter universe are slaves to the wizards who can afford them. They do magic at their master's bidding, and generally live for hundreds of years, so they get passed down through the family as property. The only way they can be freed is for their master to give them a piece of clothing, as house elves can only wear items that are not normally used as apparel. Dobby wears a pillowcase.
Though it doesn't seem like much of a life, most house elves do not want to be freed. In fact, there is an Office of House Elf Relocation at the all-powerful Ministry of Magic to help those house elves that have been freed to find new servitude.
Critters are here, and they are hungry!
First appearing as nasty, carnivorous aliens in the movie Critters in 1986, these hedgehog like guys made bank with three sequels.
Though their official name is Crites, earthlings dubbed them critters, for lack of a better term. They just showed up out of the blue one day and started eating everything. And they didn't stop. These little guys are smart and hunt in packs. They also have razor sharp teeth and have spikes on their backs which can be shot in self defense. They also roll into little balls for added devastation.
Lucky for Earth, two alien bounty hunters touched down just in time to save the countryside from the hungry, hungry critters.
The Trouble with Tribbles is a favorite among the original Star Trek's second season. It first aired in 1967 and is almost always at or near the top of fans' most requested Star Trek episode.
Cyrano Jones, an interstellar trader, has brought these little guys to his market and hopes to make a mint on them. He gives one to Lt. Uhura, who brings it to the Enterprise where all of the crew (including Spock) immediately fall in love with it.
Unfortunately, as 'Bones' later figures out, these Tribbles are born pregnant, and reproduce at an alarming rate. Soon, the ship is swimming in a sea of these furry little puff balls who want to eat everything in sight.
Without giving too much of the plot away, these furry little guys that have the cutest purr in the whole world eventually save the day. Also, they don't like Klingons, but who does, really?
1. Flying Monkeys
The Wizard of Oz is one of the most loved movies of all time. The characters and story are unforgettable, and gave me my number one fictional animal species, the flying monkey.
These guys aren't born mean, they're just being used. The Wicked Witch of the West has enslaved them to do her bidding which currently includes getting rid of Dorthy, and her little dog, too. The witch orders them to do all kinds of nasty things, including nearly destroying the Scarecrow, before she gets melted for her bad deeds.
Though, by today's standards, the flying monkey costume is kind of lame, when I was a kid there wasn't much scarier than the thought of a big blue monkey that could fly in my bedroom window and snatch me away during my sleep.