As writers, we often find ourselves working in collaborative documents with clients and other creatives, and the many Anonymous Creatures within Google Docs have not escaped our notice. We want our readers to discover each new creature along with us! In our monthly newsletter, we feature our Anonymous Google Docs Creature of the Month! Join our community of and sign up for our newsletter. Here’s our comprehensive list from 2019!
JANUARY: We’re not sure about you, but some of our team spent too many years believing Narwhals, otherwise known as “narwhales,” were magical creatures, only to be found in lore. How lucky are we that they actually exist in our world? These artic water-dwelling whales sport a large, spear-like tusk that actually stems from a canine tooth. According to Inuit legend, this well-known spiral tusk came to be when a woman with a harpoon rope tied around her waist was pulled into the ocean after the harpoon had struck a large narwhal. In the water, she transformed into a narwhal, and her hair, which she was wearing in a twisted knot, became the narwhal tusk.
FEBRUARY: If you’re thinking, “Wait, this name sounds familiar. Didn’t they already feature this creature?” then we commend you for your attention. We did indeed feature an amusingly similar-sounding creature in our October 2018 newsletter: the Chupacabra. Try saying “Capybara” and “Chupacabra” ten times fast and we guarantee they will feel like the same word. However, unlike the somewhat horrifying Chupacabra mystery monster, the Capybara is a very real shy but friendly creature. If you’re looking for evidence, or just want to add a little extra cute to your day, check out this video of a baby Capybara and pigs. Other facts include that Capybaras are the largest living rodents in the world that can grow to weigh up to 175 lbs. It’s been said that they can run as fast as horses and survive underwater for up to 5 minutes, and therefore more than worthy of February’s Creature of the Month status.
MARCH: The story of this month’s creature feature is something of an emotional rollercoaster–full of highs and lows that, if you’re like us, can leave you reeling. Here comes the sad part: The quagga roamed South African plains until their extinction in 1878. The quagga set themselves apart with limited brown and white stripes on the front part of their body that faded into a mostly brown coat. A fun fact: Their name was derived from its call, which sounded like “kwa-ha-ha”. Now for the hopeful ending: The quagga became the first extinct animal to undergo DNA analysis in 1984. This set the groundwork for the Quagga Project, where a dedicated group of folks are recreating the phenotype of the quagga hair coat pattern by selectively breeding Burchell’s zebras!
APRIL: The Kraken has long-filled the nightmares of sea-faring folk. According to Nordic folklore, our many-legged monster has been said to devastate and devour entire ships at once. The strength of this myth has grown over time, as have accounts of its monstrous size. And while the legend itself is no longer believed by most, it almost certainly began with sightings of an existing ocean-dweller, a giant squid, whose average length is a staggering 33 feet. All this to say, this month’s “creature feature” reminds us of the potential truth buried within our favorite myths and legends. A story well-told can last for generations, and we’re all about telling a great story.
MAY: Dragon lore spans across time and geography with almost seven centuries of storytelling around the world. Sometimes known as monstrous keepers of untold treasure, other times as indicators of luck and prosperity, dragons have been one of the greatest symbols of humanity’s fears and desires. While their stories have stood the test of time, it’s possible that these mythical creatures have only recently captured your attention. And by “recently,” we mean the past eight seasons of Game of Thrones. *Spoiler Alert* For all our GoT fans out there, a moment of silence for Daenerys Targaryen, the famed “Mother of Dragons” and namesake of Untold team member, Dani Clark. Whatever your opinions of the final episode, the lone remaining dragon of the series, Drogon, and his fiery exit is unquestionably the stuff of legends.
JUNE: After last month’s more fearsome feature (shout out to Drogon the dragon) and fond farewell to everyone’s favorite fantasy series, we thought we might be due for some uplifting content. Dubbed the ‘cutest octopus in the world,’ the Dumbo octopuses use large, ear-like fins to flap and hover their way across the seafloor, hence their precious namesake. These darling little bell-shaped cephalopods inhabit some of the deepest, darkest places of the ocean–up to 13,000 feet below the surface–making them difficult to study. If you aren’t filled with a sense of wonder and delight yet, check out this rare sighting captured by NatGeo.
JULY: There are many fun parts about noticing new anonymous Google Doc Creatures within a shared document. Our favorite part is not always correctly identifying the creature based on the icon image. Take a look at the photo above and you’ll know what we’re talking about. When we first saw the icon, we guessed it was a puffer fish. Instead, when the mouse hovered over the image, the word “hedgehog” appeared. However, hedgehogs did not disappoint. They immediately drew us in with their impressive, spiky appearance and pig-like eating habits. In fact, they got their name from how they eat their prey–snakes, mice, worms–by picking and grunting their way through hedges. When they sense a threat, hedgehogs curl up into a ball, fully exposing their full coat of sharp spines. That being said, the best little tidbit about hedgehogs is this: their babies are called “hoglets” – an undeniably adorable name, for an undeniably adorable creature.
AUGUST: While you may know them as Australia’s favorite wild dogs, Dingos are also found in southeast Asia. It seems that sea travelers are responsible for the location change because studies of Australian fossils indicate that the first dingoes were introduced between 4,600 and 18,300 years ago. Some argue that they are the proud descendents of wolves, but others will assure you they are their own species. In fact, they do not bark, but howl like wolves. That and they do look somewhere between our domesticated dog pals and their wild wolf counterparts with long muzzles, larger ears, and more pronounced canine teeth. That being said, with more and more hybrids between dingoes and domesticated dogs occuring, they may be becoming more genetically similar to man’s best friend.
SEPTEMBER: This month’s creature feature is the perhaps overlooked, but nevertheless majestic, duck. You may be familiar with the Mallard duck (pictured above)—they are considered the most abundant duck on Earth, after all—but as it turns out, there’s quite a variety when it comes to duck species. Some ducks are grouped as Dabbling Ducks, Diving Ducks, and Perching Ducks while others fall under Stiff-tailed Ducks, Sea Ducks, Shelducks, and Whistling Ducks. According to The Spruce, while the name “duck” indicates that a bird belongs to the Anatidae bird family, “the scientific family of ducks is so diverse that it is possible to group certain duck species into smaller divisions by their common characteristics.” Among these common characteristics lie some interesting facts. For example, ducks have better vision than dogs. Due to their eye placement, they can achieve a nearly 360-degree view of their surroundings. They can also see in full color AND in ultraviolet. Hopefully, you walk away from this reading experience with more of an appreciation for our feathered friends—I know I did.
OCTOBER: As their roles in movies like Kangaroo Jack and Crocodile Dundee clearly indicate , Kangaroos have been a source of public fascination for quite some time, and for good reason. Often associated with the “land down under,” our marsupial friends, and their over 65 different species, have also been introduced in New Zealand as well. The naming and behavior conventions for these animals also have quite a range. Young kangaroos go by the name “joey” and spend the first several months of life in their mothers’ pouches. Groups of kangaroos are called “mobs,” and can easily be stirred into “wild routs” where individuals bounce away in all directions and sound the alarm by thumping their tails on the ground. Male kangaroos have been known to stand on their hindlegs to box one another to win over female kangaroos. While they’ve been known to commit some strangely violent acts (sparring, disemboweling, and drowning other animals), their adorable hopping abilities go a long way. Here’s evidence.
NOVEMBER: Much like my experience with narwhals, I had a hard time believing anteaters were real animals when I was a child. To be honest, before writing this post, I often confused anteaters for aardvarks. While they do share lengthy snouts, I am forever humbled by the incredible diversity of the animal kingdom. Back to anteaters: you may be surprised to learn that while they have no teeth, their tongues can extend 2 feet beyond their mouths. You’ll be less surprised to learn that they exclusively eat ants and up to 30,000 per day. They are also significantly larger than I imagined, reaching up to seven feet long. Their size even lends itself to fighting off what might be considered more fearsome creatures like pumas and jaguars.
DECEMBER: While some modern day T-rex representations are downright adorable, the actual dinosaurs were a fearsome, frightening bunch. From what we know, the Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest carnivorous beasts to ever walk the planet. When it comes to their size, think the length of a school bus. When it comes to their strength, think the ability to crush bone. Their arms may have been itty-bitty compared to the rest of their body, but their sizable jaws more than made up for it. According to our beloved NatGeo, they could somehow eat up to 500 pounds of meat per bite. And our personal favorite from 2018:
You may be surprised to see the Internet-famous Nyan Cat make an appearance in our blog. We can relate to the feeling. Last week, our team noticed an anonymous Nyan Cat enter a collaborative document, and we assure you, this pleasant surprise felt nothing short of hitting the jackpot when it comes to Anonymous Google Doc creatures. If you’ve never heard of this cat before, check out the viral video that has no less than 163,193,134 views. What you’ll find is a 3:37 video of an animated cartoon cat with a pop tart torso flying through space. As the rainbow trails behind the Nyan Cat, you’ll hear the Japanese pop song by Hatsune Miku. Where did it come from? Web-comic creator, Chris Torres, shared Nyan Cat with the world back in 2011. We’re so glad we get to share this tiny, magical corner of the Internet with our audiences.