Shamelessly Naked – Featherless Birds and Furless Guinea Pigs
Are you afraid of seeing yourself in the nude? Do you start to panic when you see others naked? If you do, you’re probably suffering from gymnophobia. I think we all probably get a little bit more gymnophobic as we leave our firm-bodied, smooth-skinned youth behind, and tend to cover up just that little bit more. Animals – now they’re the lucky ones, spending the whole of their lives dressed in fur or feathers. Wrinkles and blemishes forever hidden. Saggy bits hidden under fur coats. But this isn’t the case for all of them. Some of our furry and feathered creatures live their lives furless and featherless, some by design, some by misfortune.
Meet Oscar. A rescue Moluccan cockatoo who lives permanently at the Humane Society of Broward County. She suffers from beak and feather disease that has caused all her feathers, except for four proudly displayed plumes, to fall out. After being rescued she wasn’t expected to live for more than 6 months with this highly contagious disease, but 13 years later is still happily with us. (The video on the Humane Society webpage is really worth checking out.)
But whereaas Oscar has lost her modesty due to a disease, other animals have had it bred out of them. Like the Sphynx cat. You know how people think that the way a snake looks it should be slimy to the touch? Well similarly you’d expect a Sphynx to feel clammy, but in actuality they have a coat of very short fuzzy fur. A bit like a peach.
And how about the hairless guinea pig for the ultimate in weird cuteness. Originally bred for the unethical purpose of laboratory testing, these Skinny Pigs have risen to the status of designer pet. (And how all animals must want to be on THAT list.) They do need a bit of extra care – factor 50 sunblock in the summer and a jumper in the winter.
I don’t think any of these animals here are gymnophobic, but then again, has anyone asked them?