Weirdlife Episode 6 Poddle Birds and Comb Frogs Animated Cover

The Weirdlife Short Story & Audiobook Series: Episode 6 - Poodle Dogs and Comb Frogs

Hickory uncovers the best groomers of the animal world, as well as their use of a remarkable frog. He also discovers first hand the bird’s dangerous side!

Read myself

Poodle Birds And Comb Frogs

Chimpanzees pick fleas off each other. Oxpeckers clean the ears of hippos. Lots of creatures in the animal kingdom take grooming very seriously. But a very special flock of feathered creatures, here in the foothills of Peru, take grooming one step further.  

See this trail of freshly-clipped fur on the ground near the thick, bubbling Shampoo Springs? I must be getting closer to it. Ah! Now I can hear the distinctive call...

*Oo-la-la! Oo-la-la!*

...of the poodle bird.

Hickory points to a purple bubbling waterfall.

My name is Hickory Slick. Welcome to Hickory Slick’s Weirdlife...with Hickory Slick, with a very special message to all my fans.

For years, I’ve been ignored by Explorer Monthly. For those who don’t know, that’s a very important magazine. Well, guess whose face is going to be on the cover next month? Mine! In fact, a photographer from the magazine will be taking my picture this very afternoon! Exciting stuff, eh?!

 Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the poodle bird. It’s an easy bird to spot. It has flashy orange tail feathers and bright, purple fluffy feathers on its head. The head feathers are done up in different styles depending on the bird’s mood. 

Ah! And there’s a poodle bird right there, on the back of a shaggy llama. The bird’s head feathers are very curly, with a large green leaf as a bow on top. Let’s watch the bird in action!

*Snip Snip Snip Snip Snip*

The poodle bird is grooming the llama. See how it uses its beak just like a pair of scissors? It’s trimming the long, knotted fur of the llama. Most people don’t realise that llamas usually have fur that hangs all the way down to the ground. Llamas are always in danger of tripping over their long hair. They rely on the poodle bird to give them that short-haired look we’re used to seeing on them.

Oh! And this is a treat. We get to see an animal helping an animal helping another animal. In this case, the poodle bird is using a comb frog to help untangle the llama’s matted fur.

*Grrrobbbit Grrrrobbit*

Yes, you can often find a poodle bird gently holding this unique frog in its beak. The top of the comb frog’s head is shaped like a comb. But that’s not the only reason this frog is useful. When the poodle bird gently squeezes the comb frog’s belly...


A green frog with spikey head in between a yellow beak.

...a mist sprays out of its mouth. The mist is not just ordinary frog spit — it’s a fur conditioner and sculpting gel! It makes the llama’s coat shiny and healthy. The mist also allows the poodle bird to make interesting shapes out of llama fur! The frog can even spit in different colours.


*Snip Snip Snip Snip Snip*

*Oo-la-la! Oo-la-la!*

The poodle bird is now telling the llama that the grooming session is over. The llama’s fur is silky and smooth, and trots away looking very happy.

The poodle bird holds a mirror up to the llamas face.

Why do poodle birds do this? Why do they spend hours each day giving llamas makeovers? Scientists believe that they do it to impress other poodle birds.

Ah! There’s another llama who has been groomed by a poodle bird. The llama’s fur has been layered and dyed blonde, with bold green streaks. Other poodle birds are squawking with their approval.

*Oo-la-la! Oo-la-la!*

 Poodle birds don’t just groom llamas. Already today, I’ve seen other animals with fancy hairdos: an anteater with dozens of ribbons in its fluffy tail; a chinchilla with a crew cut; and a yellow-tailed woolly monkey that should now be called a hot-pink-tailed woolly monkey. Are there any creatures a poodle bird wouldn’t try to style? 

The llama has yellow and green stripes. Anteater with multicoloured bows in their tail, a pink monkey and blue chinchilla.

Well, that’s all I have time for today. I’m afraid I have to cut this episode short. I must take a nap before my big photo shoot. I’ll just stretch my travel hammock between these two trees, close my eyes and...


I’m awake! Ahh, there’s nothing like a quick nap to make you feel refreshed! I have just enough time to comb my hair and straighten my hat before my Explorer Monthly photo shoot. I’ll just unfold my portable mirror and—

AAAH! What has happened to my hair? Half of it missing! And the rest has been sculpted into a tall, green, spiky mohawk! And—


Great gumdrops! My moustache! Why is it waxed into five ridiculous curls on each side?! And why are my eyebrows swirly and purple?!

Hickory sits in a hammock. His hair shaved into a mohawk and his hair and moustache are bright green.

Oh no. A poodle bird must have done this while I was asleep. Oh dear, I’ve never looked more laughable! 

And is that the photographer for Explorer Monthly over there? She’s asking me to come over! Now she’s pointing to her watch to say that she’s in a hurry! Wait, please—could you hold off on taking my photo while I fix my— 

*Poof! Click, poof! Click!* 

She’s taken my photo already.

These shots will be on the magazine’s cover, won’t they?

*Poof! Click, poof! Click!*

A picture of green haired hickory and the poodle bird, on the front of a magazine called 'Explorer Monthly'

What a disaster. Who knew the poodle bird could be so...dangerous.


Well...this has been Hickory Slick. Tune in next time for Hickory Slick’s Weirdlife...with me, Hickory Slick.

The End


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Benefits of reading Weirdlife - Poodle Birds And Comb Frogs

Weirdlife is an animal documentary inspired bedtime story series. This short story covers the theme of discovery. Poodle Birds And Comb Frogs is written and narrated in the first person. We recommend this story for children with a reading age of 6 - 10 years old.

Who are the main characters in Weirdlife - Poodle Birds And Comb Frogs

The main character in The Weirdlife series is Hickory Slick and features a variety of fictional animals. In this episode Hickory introduces us to the poodle birds and comb frogs.