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While Korea has developed with lightning speed and will continue to do so with its ever-changing landscape into the foreseeable future, there is a more underrated side that is inching its way to oblivion. Take a moment to appreciate the natural side before the rest of it goes the way of their beloved national animal, the tiger.  But it might just scare the crap out of you.

When the forest is especially quiet and your heart rate is at a resting pace, that is when the pheasant decides to burst, wailing, from the underbrush which it is camouflaged. So much for a relaxing walk through the woods. This native bird is probably the cause of more than a handful of heart attacks.

Phasianus_colchicus_karpowi

 

It was introduced to the Americas in 1881 and people there have been startled while peacefully walking ever since. Thanks, Korea.

Let’s level up a notch, shall we? Take a walk in the woods at dusk. At this point, your eyesight is getting piss poor thus your sense of hearing is compensating as is your imagination. A boulder casts shadows here, a leaf shifts there, and then a cocker spaniel-sized sausage lumbers across your path. What you just experienced was a raccoon dog.

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너구리

These dummies are responsible for the lining on many of the hoods of obnoxiously priced comforters. People here are shuffling around in these eye-sores claiming they are coats.

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puffy abomination

If you think the last two were child’s play I invite you to stay in the woods a little longer. By now, you might be wondering why I spent so much time in the woods. When you live in the country-side and computer cafes are the most exciting thing going on you tend to look elsewhere for your kicks.

As you settle into the darkness be sure not to wander into pit viper territory. The viper has nothing on this animal. Although the featured creature does sport a pair of fangs, you likely won’t even see it. He’s stealthy as he secretively lurks. He’s swift as he dodges your gaze. He’s compact as he goes undetected in the brambles that line either side of your trajectory. And when you least expect it he’ll scream bloody mother murder.
Alright, I lied. Some people are deathly afraid of snakes but if you’ve ever heard this damn, tiny deer’s elongated version of his typical mating bark, it will make all of your orifices tightly clench in unison. It’s the deer with many names. Vampire-musk-water-fanged deer. He’s indeed rare but if you are lucky, like me, he can sometimes be seen during the day if you walk quietly in areas that aren’t frequented by people.

 

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고라니

 

These animals really are exciting to see up close and in person, even if they do make you stutter step and get embarrassed for yourself despite being alone in the deep, dark woods.

What animals have you unceremoniously encountered? Share your story in the comments and I’ll go read them in the woods.

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