Sometimes art does good things. Beautiful things. Things which transport you into another world, stimulating parts of your imagination you didn't know existed.
Sometimes, however, art gives people the capacity to merge two existent animals together to make a thoroughly amusing (and occasionally creepy) kind of freak zoo.
Welcome to the world of Animangling. Also known as Digital Taxidermy - or digitally sticking photos of animals together.
Cock and/or bull?
John McMenamin is an Animangler, and is now the 'keeper' of a 'zoo' of animal hybrids, including a Chip Russell (chipmunk-Jack Russell), Crocotoise (Crocodile-tortoise) and guaranteed internet-fave, the Owlkit (Owl-kitten.)
A careers advisor by day, McMenamin says his hobby isn't a million miles from what he himself was advised to do as a child.
"I don't have a background in taxidermy but when I saw a careers advisor in school I filled in one of those computer-based questionnaires and told it I like being creative and working with animals. It suggested "Taxidermist" or "Abattoir Worker", I laughed at it then but it appears to have been more or less accurate."
Granted, there's less blood and fewer skins involved in McMenamin's digital animangling than in taxidermy, but an equal amount of skill, we reckon.
So cute. So wrong.
McMenamin says that it's not as easy as it looks: "I have certainly abandoned more attempted animangles than I have on the site. I'm quite fussy about what I deem adequate so if I don't like the look of something I've done then it won't go into the zoo."
And if McMenamin's digital zoo existed, which would he want to see in there?
"Certainly the cuter ones and the paradoxical ones. My personal favourites are the cat/sparrow that my wife named 'Joyce' which is both predator and prey of itself and the Beagull which appears to be looking longingly at the sky but doesn't realise it can fly."
As well as taking recommendations from Twitter as to which animangles he should create next ("They don't always come up with the most sensible suggestions but I try to accommodate them regardless"), McMenamin is currently working on a 'Celebs as Zombies' project.
We're hoping a Brian Blessed zombie and the Beagull never come into contact...
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