A tube-nosed fruit bat with an appearance reminiscent of the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda has been discovered in a remote rainforest.
The bat, along with an orange spider and a yellow-spotted frog are among a host of new species found in a region of Papua New Guinea.
More than 200 animals and plants were revealed for the first time after two months of surveying in the rugged and little-explored Nakanai and Muller mountain ranges last year.
Looks familiar: The creature bears more than a passing resemblance to the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda
The findings included two mammals, 24 species of frog, nine plants, nearly 100 new insects including damselflies, crickets and ants, and around 100 spiders.
They were uncovered by two scientific teams co-ordinated by Conservation International’s rapid assessment programme, in partnership with Papua New Guinea’s Institute for Biological Research and conservation organisation A Rocha International.
The teams explored different altitudes of the forest-cloaked Nakanai mountains, which host cave systems and some of the world’s largest underground rivers, and the Muller range, accessing the remote areas by plane, dinghy, on foot and even by helicopter.
When taxidermist Mickey Alice Kwapis saved a 4-week-old rat from becoming snake food at a reptile shop, she did not expect that this would be the beginning of an unlikely friendship.
When Riff Ratt first arrived in his new home, he needed to be bottle-fed and nursed back to health.
During his feeding sessions, Kwapis’ dog Osiris would sit by his side and carefully lick extra milk off the tiny rat.
Osiris is a Dutch shepherd therapy dog who has helped his owner rehabilitate countless homeless animals.
“We’ve trained him to be really, really gentle. He responds to the word ‘gentle,'” Kwapis stated to DNAinfo Chicago. “He’s the sweetest dog, and he’s been great with other animals.
When Riff Ratt turned 3-months-old, the two animals proved their mutual trust as Osiris let his miniature companion crawl into his mouth and clean his teeth.
Since then, the incredible friends have become viral stars, thanks to their detailed Instagram account.
“Riff Ratt really likes licking the inside of Osiris’ mouth. I’m sure you all are wondering if we’re afraid Osiris will eat Riff – NOPE!
Osiris has helped foster and care for dozens of animals and he is the gentlest dog I’ve ever met,” writes Kwapis.
Read on and see more Images via Gentle Therapy Dog and Adorable Rescue Rat Become Unlikely Best Friends – My Modern Met.
This frog appears to have a big smile for the camera in Russia.
Photograph: Artyom Krivosheev/Barcroft Images