Just in time for October’s burnished autumn leaves and glowing jack-o-lantern pumpkins, these 10 amazing orange animals seek neither tricks nor treats. Instead, their often brilliant fiery hues serve as warning signs; a wish merely to be left alone.
Bet you thought you’d see the Monarch Butterfly here, amiright? Well, the majestic Monarch is indeed orange but its wings are shot through with black. The Julia Butterfly (Dryas iulia), on the other hand (wing?), is mainly orange with a some small regions of contrasting black.
Julia Butterflies are a fast-flying, day active species found in the Western Hemisphere from Brazil north to the southern USA. A wide wingspan averaging 3.5″ or 87mm and their pleasing, sunny orange coloration makes them a popular choice for enclosed butterfly conservatories. Odd trivia fact about Julia Butterflies: they’ve been known to tickle the eyes of tropical caimans, prompting these crocodilians to shed tears which the butterflies then drink!
Orange Baboon Tarantula
Pet owners prize the Orange Baboon Tarantula (Pterinochilus murinus) for its bright coloration (understandable) and confrontational personality… wait, what?? So much for ideal pets being docile and friendly. Measuring up to 6″ (15cm) across, this particular tarantula is not to be taken lightly as its bite is said to be extremely painful and often delivered BEFORE the usual threat display. Perhaps “Orange Pitbull Tarantula” might be a more appropriate name.
(image via: Furryscaly)
Fangs for the memories? Now this is one angry redhead, er, orange-head. The Orange Baboon Tarantula, also known as OBT or “Orange Bitey Thing”, can be found in sub-Saharan Africa – just one more reason to cancel your safari and take a stay-cation instead.
Japanese Spider Crab
The Orange Baboon Tarantula is a mere 6″ across; a full-grown Japanese Spider Crab can straddle a small car… under no circumstances must they be allowed to meet and mate! Thankfully that won’t ever happen: though spiders and crabs are related, the latter dwells in the depths of the ocean and with any luck it’ll stay there throughout its lifespan, which can be as long as a century.
(image via: Ricardipus)
Found in waters around Japan, the Japanese Spider Crab is the world’s largest arthropod only occasionally outweighed by lobsters. The all-time size champion was caught in 1921; a 41-pound (18.6 kg) monster with an extended arm span of 19 feet (5.8 m). Beat that, Time Bandit.
Starfish are regulars at most any Colorful Animals post due to their oft-intense pigmentation in a wide variety of shades.
(image via: Best Florida Beaches)
Marine starfish can exhibit a stunning range of orange hues from pale, washed out Creamsicle to bold and intense vermilion that could seemingly outshine a sunset… and why? Starfish are typically shallow-water dwellers but even a few feet below the sea’s surface, colors begin to lose their intensity. Perhaps starfish are simply trying to make up for that.
The oceans are awash with orange fish but only one has achieved the kind of fame even a top Hollywood star would envy: the Clownfish. Thanks to 2003’s Finding Nemo, the pretty but otherwise unremarkable clownfish has found a place in the hearts of an entire generation of kids, some of whom now have pet clownfish to go along with their Harry Potter owls… not the best combination, actually.
(image via: Just Animals)
Clownfish did have one pre-Nemo claim to fame: they exploit their immunity to sea anemone toxins by hiding out in the oceanic invertebrates’ poisonous tentacles. Depending on the color of the anemone, this attribute provides nature photographers with a goldmine of imaging opportunities.
Red Efts are amphibians, Newts to be exact. The bright orange, red-spotted, land-dwelling creature found in moist eastern American forests is, surprisingly, not the creature’s adult stage but rather its juvenile iteration. Born in water as gill-breathing larva, Red Efts will eventually return to an aquatic lifestyle for the balance of their unusually long lifespan – up to 15 years!
(image via: WallPapersArt)
Red Efts are often mistaken for small lizards, which is understandable as they share the same basic body plan. There ARE orange lizards, however, such as the unidentified example above. Why would a rainforest-dwelling creature evolve to be a color contrasting with the green vegetation that surrounds and shelters it? A worthy question to be sure, but the sleepy-eyed beastie above ain’t answering.
The boldly patterned, orange & black Gila Monster is one of America’s only two venomous lizards, and much like bees and wasps its color combo serves as a warning to “back off or else!” Native to the Mojave Desert and surrounding areas, Gila Monsters can grow to around 2ft (60cm) in length, quite a bit smaller than the lizards who “devoured people as if they were flies” in the 1959 b-movie, The Giant Gila Monster.
(image via: Cryptomundo)
If you survive being bitten by a Gila Monster, chances are good you’ll remember not to get yourself bitten again. Not because of the pain and the whole “almost dying” thing, but because Gila Monster venom has been found to increase memory function as well as ease symptoms of diabetes. The venom is made synthetically nowadays so don’t go pokin’ Gila Monsters before that killer math exam, mmkay?
Cock of the Rock
There are actually two Cock-of-the-Rocks (Cocks-of-the-Rock?): the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola Peruvianus) which is the national bird of Peru, and the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola Rupicola). It’s only the males of either species that boast such brilliantly orange feathers, and the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock is more orange top to bottom.
(image via: Pete Morris/Surfbirds)
The Cock-of-the-Rock inhabits rocky areas (no surprise there) in parts of western South America where the Amazonian rainforest begins to give way to a the foothills of the Andes mountains. The birds utilize their dazzling coloration and manipulate fan-like crests on their heads to try and impress potential mates, who are blandly brown-feathered for the most part and should be impressed irregardless.
Though it’s the world’s most orange ape, the name “orangutan” has no connection to the color orange – it’s purely a fortuitous coincidence for English-speakers. Instead, this pumpkin-hued “man of the forest” has a moniker originating in the Malay words for “man” (orang) and “forest” (utan). We have no idea where the name “Dr. Zaius” came from.
IUCN has designated orangutans as an Endangered Species, with the total population standing at a mere 14 percent of the estimated figure 10,000 years ago. Habitat loss and human activity are the main threats to orangutans, with additional pressure coming from an illegal trade in procuring young orangutans as pets. Several large and many small rehabilitation centers have been active in helping rescued orangutans re-adapt to the wild. These centers also add to our knowledge of these very intelligent primates and have observed some remarkable behaviors such as tool using and spear-fishing.
Though orange is just one of the tiger’s three main colors (along with black and white), it’s the one that makes the largest of the four recognized “big cats” extra special in our minds. Like hornets and Gila Monsters, tigers display a typical “warning sign” color code though in the case of tigers, the intent is purely one of camouflage in sun-dappled forests and grasslands.
(image via: Animal Spot)
Tigers share an unfortunate plight common to many orange creatures: they are a critically endangered species. Of the six recognized tiger subspecies, three are extinct and the tiger’s historical range has shrunk to only 7 percent of what it used to be. It’s estimated that only 3,000 to 5,000 tigers remain in the wild though thousands of others live in zoos or private captivity.
(image via: Amazon.com)
Melissa Stewart has recently released Rainbow of Animals, a series of illustrated childrens’ books featuring creatures of various colors including red, yellow, green, blue, purple and the title above, “Why Are Animals Orange?” Stewart highlights the benefits bestowed on these beasts by being brightly colored but although they’ve evolved to best suit their particular ecological niches, all of these colorful critters have got it made in the shade!