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Search for the world's ugliest animal

Story highlights

  • Ugly Animal Preservation Society champions nature's less gorgeous endangered creatures
  • Nascent society is in search of mascot
  • Aptly named blobfish and pig-nosed frog among contenders
  • Leave your nomination for grossest organism

Save the panda!

Sure: how could the world do without such cute, endangered creatures?

And tigers.

Never mind that the adult of the species will happily rip your head off and lick its lips afterward, can you think of a better mascot for a creature threatened with extinction than those adorable, fluffy feline cubs? (Miaow!)

Trouble is, goofy humans that we are, we tend to equate (what we consider) beauty with importance in the ecological scheme of things.

In fact, nature's many repugnant, repulsive -- or just very small -- denizens can be just as important for the environment's health.

The monkey with the hideous schnoz

It's just that the proboscis monkey (with its frankly obscene schnoz), the pubic louse (whose name speaks for its own, hideous self) and the aptly named blobfish tend not to front animal conservation campaigns.

Or none that anyone's ever heard of.

Step forward the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.

The monkfish ... probably wouldn't get by on its looks

The British group, sounding like something that's just funny-walked out of a Monty Python film, is, it says, dedicated "to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature's more aesthetically challenged children."

To the end of saving ugly endangered creatures, reports Wanderlust travel magazine, the Society is in search of a mascot -- something nice and slimy, like the jumping slug, or just malformed-looking and squat, like the New Zealand kakapo parrot.

Introducing the hagfish

The group has garnered public nominations for those neglected organisms -- also including the hagfish, the purple pig-nosed frog and the giant Palouse earthworm -- that make us shudder, but that no doubt consider each other ethereally beautiful after a pint of slime or two.

And that possibly also think Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling look like bats' bums.

Comedians will champion the public's nominations at money-raising gigs for the Society later this month and next.

Read more: Are these the world's cutest creatures?

In the meantime, the gallery above shows off some of the most unfortunate beasts from the Ugly Animal Society's shortlist and elsewhere on the Web.

Have you encountered worse on your travels?

Let us know, in the comments section below, which animal you'd least like to be reincarnated as.