Help Me With Some History

Resolved on 04/23/2023! Thanks to the Jellyneo Book of Ages Staff!

So, a long, long time ago, Neopets had some sort of Virtupets-themed poll, based on the Jellyneo Dr. Sloth image database descriptions of these 6 critters. I'm most interested in Pet 1, who will henceforth be known as Mr. Snaky. Some of the others are distinctly recognizable.

The pets from the poll. L-R: Mr. Snaky, Jersey Devil, Mutant Grundo, Flaming Robot, Grundo Leader, and Chrome Dome Mouse

Based on their presence in the same kind of circles as unconverted Neopets, these were probably intended to be some sort of Neopet designs. They also had alternate versions of their images with stars in the background, for some reason.

Based on the art style, this poll couldn't have happened any later than 2001. It also can't be from before 2000 because it clearly references Virtupets. Presumably, it predates August 24, 2001, which gives us the release of the Mutant Grundo as an actual Neopet with an appearance based on Dr. Sloth's minions, or design #3.

The old style of Mutant Grundo depicted in #3 appears in plenty of images from before the release of anatomically modern Mutant Grundos and survived into a random event.

Sourced from Jellyneo's random event guides

The pink, winged Mutant Grundo also made it into a random event, becoming the Grundo Leader NPC.

The odd little robot also made it into a random event, but was replaced by a Tuskaninny when they were revamped. It appears in no other images I could find.

Thus far, given the findings I have, here are the conclusions I have about the origin of these creatures and the purpose of the poll they were supposedly part of.

  1. The poll happened sometime in between 2000 and 2001, after the discovery of Virtupets.
  2. If it happened before Dr. Sloth-related plots, it was a poll for what his minions should look like. If it happened afterwards, it was a poll for which of them would become a new Neopet.
  3. The Mutant Grundo won and the other contestants were turned into random events.

There's just a couple of questions remaining. Number 1, while the random events for the Grundo Leader, Mutant Grundo, and Flaming Robot are recorded, there exist 80*80 random event-style images of Chrome Dome Mouse and Mr. Snaky, but no records of a random event featuring them. Were the random events ever implemented? If so, what were they? If not, why do the images exist? Why are Mr. Snaky and Chrome Dome Mouse the only ones to be animated? And where's Jersey Devil?

And of course, there's the matter that despite the images existing and there being onsite results suggesting a poll happened, there are no records of this poll nor references to it in the 2001 new features, which raises the following questions:

  1. Did this poll happen? If so, when?
  2. What was it supposed to determine?
  3. Why did Flaming Robot, Mutant Grundo, and Grundo Leader get through into recorded random events if Mr. Snaky, Jersey Devil, and Chrome Dome Mouse didn't?

If you know of any answers to these questions, or of someone who does, please contact me. Jellyneo's Book of Ages and image database is where I got most of this, but even they have no records of an ancient Virtupets poll or the nature of the non-future random event creatures from it.