It's a Jonah-and-the-whale kind of moment. You wake up, and your guest room appears normal. But as you get your bearings, you realize that you're in the belly of a reptile--otherwise known as Australia's Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn.
The curious trend of zoomorphic architecture--that is, buildings that look like animals--has been around for millennia (ever heard of the Sphinx?). And new species of animal-like buildings continue to turn up in concrete jungles like Bangkok, along roadsides, or in national parks.
Even serious tastemakers like Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry have been inspired to inject a playful animalistic motif into their building plans. For the Vila Olímpica in the seaside city of Barcelona, Gehry managed to capture the sleek, muscular movement of a fish in motion in a way that is utterly sublime.
Read on for more strange buildings that--beastly or beautiful, by design or by accident--pay tribute to the animal kingdom. Long may these crazy critters stand.