The Awful Animals are the animals that appear throughout A Series of Unfortunate Events. Most of these creatures are fictional in nature, creations of the author; even the ones based on real animals seem to be trained to act in ways that real animals are unlikely to act.
- See: Amphibians
- See: Toads
Can imitate human speech (in a gravelly voice). They are soothed only by the music of Alexander Scriabin or early Sonic Youth.
Green Gimlet Toad
Should not be given too much water.
Covered in black dye.
Tibetan Third-eye Toad
This toad, discovered in Tibet by Dr. Montgomery, has a third eye between the others. He is unable to control his continuous ribbetting and can say "hello" in twelve different languages.
- A very fat toad with two wings sprouting from its back.
- A toad that resembles a church, complete with "stained-glass" eyes.
The V.F.D. crows live in the Village of Fowl Devotees, but it is implied that they have been used by the V.F.D. organization. The crows roost downtown in the morning, uptown in the afternoon, and in Nevermore tree at night. In The Vile Village, Duncan and Isadora Quagmire use the crows to transport Isadora's couplets from their hiding place in the Fowl Fountain to Nevermore Tree.
The crows are mentioned again in The Penultimate Peril. Apparently, they were carrying the sugar bowl to Hotel Denouement, when Carmelita Spats shot them with a harpoon gun. They fell and got stuck to "birdpaper," which Klaus Baudelaire hung out of a window. The sugar bowl then fell into the hotel's pond, although it was originally thought to have fallen down a funnel leading to the hotel's laundry room.
The fire-starting side of the V.F.D. have a convocation of eagles, which bend to their whim at the blowing of small, silver whistles. They are first mentioned (indirectly) in The Ersatz Elevator, when Jerome Squalor says to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire:
- "Ah! You're adventurous! I like that in a person. Your mother was adventurous, too. You know, she and I were very good friends a ways back. We hiked up Mount Fraught with some friends — gosh, it must have been twenty years ago. Mount Fraught was known for having dangerous animals on it, but your mother wasn't afraid. But then, swooping out of the sky—" (p. 27)
In The Slippery Slope, these eagles carry off Bruce and the Snow Scouts (minus Carmelita) in a large net. In The End, Kit tells the Baudelaire children that the eagles attacked Hector's self-sustaining hot air mobile home, causing it to crash into Captain Widdershin's submarine, the Queequeg. This event was foreshadowed in The Penultimate Peril when Kit Snicket says that Quigley Quagmire must save his siblings when they are attacked in the sky. She later states that he was trying to save them from eagles with a homemade net.
In The Grim Grotto, it is explained that the V.F.D. trained salmon in a process known as Voluntary Fish Domestication. The salmon were to swim upstream and search for forest fires; however, the entire "fleet" was captured by Café Salmonella , and presumably eaten. Perhaps this proves that the Café Salmonella waiters were in fact traitors, in accordance with a rhyme quoted in the same book.
- See: Insects
Although it is not certain that a group of crickets had been trained by the V.F.D., there is evidence pointing to such a conclusion. In Lemony Snicket: An Unauthorized Biography, an excerpt from The Mamba du Mal: A Snake That Will Never Kill Me by Tony "Mommy" Eggmonteror gives the following information:
- More pleasant to contemplate, however, are the snake's excellent communication skills. Certain specimens of the Mamba du Mal have been trained to recite certain phrases in an encoded form of English so they might be employed as guardians of crucial headquarters. A mamba du mal hissing the phrase "Summer is" for instance, is communicating a coded version of the phrase "Enemies are nearby." The hissed phrase "over and gone" translates to "probably in disguise," and the mamba has been known to hiss the word "dying" as a code for "Beware of arson." The only other creature with communication skills sufficient to convey these messages is the common grass cricket.
The Unauthorized Autobiography, also contains an excerpt from Charlotte's Web:
- The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer's ending, a sad, monotonous song. "Summer is over and gone," they sang. "Over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying."
- The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year–the days when summer is changing into fall–the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.
If, in fact, these crickets were speaking in code, they would have been attempting to relate the message "Enemies are nearby, probably in disguise. Enemies are nearby; beware of arson."
It is also mentioned in The Unauthorized Autobiography that a black snake, likely the Mamba du Mal, was seen communicating with crickets.
In The Slippery Slope, Snow Gnats are introduced as small flying insects which inhabit the Mortmain Mountains. The distinguishing feature of snow gnats is they enjoy stinging people for no reason whatsoever, much like the habits of red ants. The gnats' stingers contain mild poison which may kill, with a couple of stings, a small animal. There are two precautions one can take to avoid being stung by these gnats. Snow gnats do not like smoke and will flee an area that has been, or recently has been, overtaken by smoke. One may also protect oneself by covering the body with clothing. A fencing mask will impede the gnats while still allowing the wearer to see.
- See: Leeches
The Lachrymose Leeches are a breed of leeches indigenous to Lake Lachrymose. They are extremely dangerous, with six rows of very sharp teeth and one sharp nose. The leeches are vicious and intelligent enough to try to attack humans. A person must wait one hour after eating before swimming in Lake Lachrymose, or the Lachrymose Leeches will smell the food that was eaten and attack. This fate befell Isaac Anwhistle and his wife, Josephine Anwhistle. They have been known to gather into large groups and repeatedly strike the sides of a boat.
In The Beatrice Letters, there is a photograph of a Lachrymose Leech in the form of a paperweight given to Lemony Snicket on his graduation.
- See: Reptiles
- See: Lizards
Alaskan Cow Lizard
This lizard is a long, green creature that produces delectable milk.
- A lizard with two heads and bright yellow stripes on its underside (shown as a two-headed cobra in the movie).
- A lizard with wide eyes which make it look much like an owl that perches upon a log.
Hungarian Sloth Snake
This snake's top speed is half an inch per hour.
Incredibly Deadly Viper
The Incredibly Deadly Viper is very large, and was discovered by Dr. Montgomery in Tanzania. Its name is a misnomer, as the snake is one of the least dangerous and most friendly animals.
The snake first appeared in The Reptile Room, wherein it bites Sunny Baudelaire on the chin. Violet and Klaus Baudelaire, unaware of the misnomer, were terrified their sister might be poisoned. After Dr. Montgomery explained the nature of the viper's name, however, the snake became a special friend of Sunny's. The Incredibly Deadly Viper was released near the story's climax to help reveal the true identity of the then-disguised Count Olaf. At the end of the book, the viper is taken away, with the rest of Dr. Montgomery's collection, by Bruce and the Herpetological Society. When the Baudelaires say their tearful farewell to him, a tear is seen rolling down from the snake's eye.
In The End, Kit Snicket arrives in "Olaf-Land" with the snake, nicknamed "Ink," on her raft of books. Ink stays on the island for the majority of the time, cooperating with the Baudelaires. At the end, it tried to save the island's inhabitants by bringing them an apple and horseradish hybrid to rid of the Medusoid Mycelium in their bodies, but it is unknown if this attempt was successful. Snicket has said that the snake went on to live its own series of unfortunate events, often avoiding and committing treachery, much like the orphans themselves.
In the movie version of the first three books, the Incredibly Deadly Viper, rather than the Mamba du Mal snake, was framed for killing Dr. Montgomery.
This snake is often grumpy and best left alone.
Mamba du Mal
The Mamba du Mal snake was possibly named after a real snake known as the Mamba, with the suffix "du Mal" possibly derived from Les Fleurs du Mal, written by Charles Baudelaire. The snake is known to be black.
This snake was originally part of Dr. Montgomery's collection. In The Reptile Room, Stephano (Count Olaf in disguise) injects the venom of the Mamba du Mal into Uncle Monty, killing him, then falsely accuses the snake of being responsible for Uncle Monty's death. The Mamba du Mal was then taken by Bruce and the Herpetological Society, only to be bought by the Esmé Sqaualor Fan Club at the In Auction.
In The Unauthorized Autobiography, there is an excerpt from The Mamba du Mal: A Snake That Will Never Kill Me by Tony "Mommy" Eggmonteror. It gives the following information about the Mamba du Mal snake:
- The Mamba du Mal is one of the deadliest snakes in the hemisphere, noted for its strangulatory grip, used in conjunction with its deadly venom, giving all of its victims a tenebrous hue, which is ghastly to behold. More pleasant to contemplate, however, are the snake's excellent communication skills. Certain specimens of the Mamba du Mal have been trained to recite certain phrases in an encoded form of English so they might be employed as guardians of crucial headquarters. A mamba du mal hissing the phrase "Summer is" for instance, is communicating a coded version of the phrase "Enemies are nearby." The hissed phrase "over and gone" translates to "probably in disguise," and the mamba has been known to hiss the word "dying" as a code for "Beware of arson." The only other creature with communication skills sufficient to convey these messages is the common grass cricket.
This snake smiles cruelly when about to eat white mice.
This snake, which has two heads, appears only in the film. It is of unconfirmed gender and Uncle Monty calmy states he didn't believe it would be polite to ask. This was the first reptile introduced to the Baudelaires in the film.
This snake should never, ever be allowed in the vicinity of a typewriter. Its name is a reference to Virginia Woolf, an English author.
- A snake with three mouths, each on top of the other.
- A snake that seems to have no mouth.
- A snake whose venom is so lethal that it stops the victim's heart beating before the nervous system acknowledges the bite.
- A snake which can open its mouth wide enough to swallow at least four people in one gulp.
- Two snakes which have been trained to drive a car, albeit recklessly.
- See: Mammals
The Volunteer Feline Detectives (Panthera leo) were a pack of detective lions that once lived in the caves of the Mortmain Mountains. The lions were once noble creatures trained by the V.F.D to detect smoke, and it is revealed in The Bad Beginning: Rare Edition that Beatrice and Bertrand once worked to train them. At some point, the fire-starting side of the V.F.D. (including Count Olaf and his associates) took control of the felines.
The lions, mentioned in both The Wide Window and The Ersatz Elevator, first appear in The Carnivorous Carnival. During their time at Caligari Carnival, the lions devoured several people, but then perished when Count Olaf neglected to retrieve them from the lions' pit after he set fire to the Carnival.
The whereabouts of the remaining Volunteer Feline Detectives is currently unknown.