Written by Jonathan Wojcik

13 Monstrous Subeta Pets

Founded in 2004, Subeta began primarily as an independent alternative to neopets.com and aimed itself more at an older crowd, one that could handle slightly dirtier jokes and slightly gorier imagery. Most of their regular pet species, somewhat predictably, aren't really my thing, and over the years, the site's focus has shifted somewhat away from the pets themselves and towards the customization of your "human avatar," but there are still some pretty great options with much higher artistic standards than you'll find around "Neopia," and a number of them fit right in with the kinds of creepy crawlers we love around these parts. Let's check some out!



EXPERIMENT 5162:

Whereas neopets has "Mutant" pets of wildly varying quality, Subeta has the "experiments," exceptionally weird pet species you can only get by taking your pet to a laboratory to get zapped with an unstable raygun. Almost all of them are more interesting than any other option on the site, but we're only focusing on the spooky ones here, and yes, they will be dominating almost this entire post, sorry. #5162 is obviously meant to be a pet zapped into nothing but a pile of charred gunk, still semi-living if its watery eyes are any indication. Precious.
GRAVEYARD POPOKO:

"Graveyard" pets are among the only non-experiment pets that felt worthy of inclusion, and you can see why. They're all dead, rotting versions of regular species, and some of them get remarkably graphic. Even without dangling intestines though, this mangy, skulking ghoul is a favorite of mine, especially contrasted with a living specimen. What's especially unsettling is the noose around its neck. Who the hell felt the need to hang a Popoko? Or did it hang itself? Which one is even the more depressing option?
EXPERIMENT 84:

84 isn't entirely my cup of tea, really, but it's one whose creepy qualities I can really admire. It's overall nothing but some sleek, dog-like animal, but the holes clear through its rubbery flesh, the blank eyes and the lack of a mouth all lend to a pretty unnatural feel. What I wonder, though, is if the head is supposed to be "humanoid" with a chin at the bottom or more canine, simply pointing downwards.
GRAVEYARD GHOSTLY:

The "Ghostly" is probably the cutest of the basic species, but looks really amazing as a "graveyard" pet. Not quite as dead or decrepit-looking as others in the series, but I guess that's because Ghostlies are already spooky to begin with. What is it about just a bag over something's head that's always so cool looking and unnerving? It almost never fails. I don't think I've ever disliked something with a bag over its head. If I could go out with a bag on my head and not have people constantly calling the cops about it, I probably would.
EXPERIMENT 1550:

This is one of the newest experiments at the time of this writing, and there's a lot of weirdness going on here. It's basically a giant, purple owl, except its "wings" are just dripping goop, it only has one leg, its body is a translucent window to space and instead of eyes, it just has a swirly clock.
NOSTALGIC AEANOID:

The "Aeanoid," a carnivorous plant pet, normally looks like this, one of the only non-ghostly species I find very appealing, but it achieves true perfection only in "Nostalgic" mode. These are pets based on various vintage toys, and if you don't recognize what this is supposed to be, here you go. This pet is a giant, tentacled rubber finger puppet of a flesh-eating plant. Those finger puppets even used to turn up as trick-or-treating handouts when I was a kid!
GRAVEYARD TORRENT:

The dead version of the obligatory goldfish-like pet is one of my favorites for two reasons: one, the rotten eyeball hanging so far out of its head. Two, the way it's just floating there indicates it could very well just be dead-dead, and not even un-dead. Just a reeking fish corpse someone keeps treating like it's still alive. Why does that keep happening!?
EXPERIMENT 008:

Another one that's not quite something I'd get for myself, but still hits some good enough buttons to talk about. 008 is a lot of extremely unrelated things tossed together, but a snail-bodied demon goth beast works so weirdly well, and feels like it'd make a great Bowser-esque video game villain.
GRAVEYARD ILLUMIS:

While not a pet I'd own myself - the Illumis, dead or otherwise, is one of those disneyfied insects I'm just really neutral on - I highly appreciate that they have it impaled on mounting pins, like a dried moth specimen, and how it seems to have removed one of them to use as a cane or staff, or at least clean the litter out of a playground with it.
EXPERIMENT 585:

A much buggier bug pet, 585 combines an arachnid with a vertebrate while actually preserving the coolest features of the arthropod, which is remarkably rare. The artist also played those features for straight cute factor, which is so easy to do, but again, seldom taken advantage of. The doe-eyes and fuzzy chelicerae of a spider form a naturally adorable face, and it's almost never appreciated. Whoever designed 585 did a fantastic job and clearly appreciated spiders just the way they are.
EXPERIMENT 1102:

A snake-like mutant with a fishbowl growing out of its head is a pretty original concept, and I do like how the eyes are on tubes that wrap around the outside of the fluid-filled bubble, though I'm disappointed by how "cute" this version looks compared to the original artwork, which was so much more malformed, ghoulish and absurd, like it didn't even have a front or back or any symmetry at all. Still one of the most appealing things on the site even now, but it used to be even twice as magnificent.
EXPERIMENT 164:

Can you even believe this is one of the very least popular pets on the whole site? Seriously? I don't know who could look at this thing and feel anything but delight. It's a flabby dinosaur-toad dominated by its mouth, with ridiculous eyes, a split tongue, and that's such a beautifully sickly skin pattern, isn't? Blinding blotchy green on scabrous yellow. Perfect. What really makes this one, though, are its incongruously human feet. The teeth are awfully familiar looking, too. What if this adorable wretch was a human, once?
EXPERIMENT 8471:

Can you even believe this masterpiece is the other most unpopular pet species? People have no taste, I swear. What I love about this melting, bubbling abomination is that it's clearly supposed to be something generically cute; some sort of four-eared angel-dragon-cat, like half the other things on Subeta, Neopets and most of their other imitators, but its creation went heinously awry. It's a beautiful bit of self-parody, and I love how it looks equally like it's confused, grumpy, agonized and oblivious.

Bonus: Battle Opponents!


THE TORCHBEARER:

Yes, like many "virtual pet" sites, a lot of the coolest creatures on Subeta are, unfortunately, featured only as NPC monsters for your pets to beat up on, rather than monsters you're allowed to smother with your virtual affection. There aren't quite enough of them for their own post, but they're not "pets" either, so we're going to tack them onto the end of our pet list because I said so. The Torchbearer wouldn't be all that interesting if not for the fact that its nether regions are not only a ghost-white pumpkin, but one dribbling blood from its fanged mouth. With the mouthlessness of its upper goblin-cat-thing body, we can surmise that this thing eats through its pumpkin-crotch. Freaky. I'll try my best to ignore the sudden realization that it also kind of looks like a diaper monster.


THE CARRION LORD:

I feel kind of obligated to include this one. Like, if I don't, you know there's going to be "what about the carrion lord??" comments, you know? A massive, burrowing, maggot-like draconic serpent is definitely the kind of thing that should appeal to me a bit more than it does, but I guess it just doesn't have quite as much personality as I'd expect from such a thing. Its eyes and fangs are all fairly bog-standard monster features, as opposed to bogleech-standard, a joke I only just made because otherwise, again, someone else is going to. I'm onto you guys. I've got your number.


THE NIGHTLADY:

Now, you're probably going to think the Nightlady is another one I find underwhelming, especially since I was just talking about how spider-hybrids rarely get to hold onto Aranean facial features, but give the Nightlady a closer look; she does have an actual spider head, it just also has the lower half of a humanoid head growing out from under the fangs, where a spider's real mouth opening can be found anyway. I think if her elf-face had its own set of eyes, the effect would be completely ruined, but with only the ocelli on top of her head, Nightlady is freaking adorable. Adorable, yet also scarier, and yes, more attractive than your average dark-elf spider-woman. So I find eyeless faces sexy. So sue me. At least I also dig faces with only eyes, so it balances out! Another cool touch? The way her legs look so spider-like while actually being fleshy. Nightlady is just overall so much cooler than what she's even a homage to.


THE MUTANT SCIENTIST:

In 2012, apparently, there was a special event during which you could unlock a series of special monsters to battle by collecting their "research notes." The following year, we actually met the scientist who wrote them, whose excellent fashion sense looks even better after she transforms into an abominable hodgepodge of her various research subjects. It's just too bad she can't wear those great fuzzy slippers over her new insect legs.


THE CAREAPER:

Once more, we've got a monster that sounds ordinary on paper - a big, multi-legged beast with gnashing teeth and a hand on its tail - but really goes the extra mile in its final execution. I always love a creature whose face looks just a bit like a hominid skull, with nostrils in just the right place to look like it just used to have a nose, and really tipping the scales from cool to radicool are the dozens of little eyeballs stuffed into each socket, even pushing the surrounding skin outward in frog-like bulges! I also really like its color scheme. Too many monsters go for drab, washed-out colors, which is pretty and all, but there's also something to be said of monsters that look like someone painted them on LSD.


THE RICTUS:

The very last one I felt like talking about, it's a real shame you can't at least get your own Rictus from the experimental raygun, or something, or it'd have to be one of my two or three top picks for the site's "pets," combining aspects of a bat with a vampire squid and some sort of withered plant. It's damn near one of the Halloweeniest design concepts achievable, pretty much the entire mood of autumn embodied in a bloodthirsty monster. There's even a tiny little glimmer of Giger in there, with the swept-back, eyeless head and all.

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