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Animals By Will Lewis -

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Pete Oxford Photography]

Giant Palouse Earthworm of the Underground

The Giant Palouse Earthworm is rare species of earthworm. Distinguished by its size, the Giant Palouse Earthworm can attain lengths of up to 3 feet surpassing the dimensions of common earthworms. While its appearance aligns with that of the common earthworm, its larger size sets it apart. The Giant Palouse Earthworm is native to the Palouse region, an area situated in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, specifically within Washington and Idaho. Its presence is confined to the deep and fertile soils of this region.

Some people consider the Giant Palouse Earthworm to be gross because it looks different from what we’re used to. It’s quite large and has a long body, which can be off-putting. Plus, it lives in the soil, and that can make it seem a bit strange. However, it’s essential to remember that not everyone feels this way, and some people might find it interesting instead of gross. In terms of soil health and how ecosystems work, the Giant Palouse Earthworm plays a vital role. Like other earthworms, it helps air the soil, improves drainage, and breaks down organic matter. All of this makes the soil better for plants to grow in. Even though they aren’t famous and might not seem very exciting, earthworms, including the Giant Palouse Earthworm, are essential parts of healthy ecosystems because they make the soil better and help with the movement of nutrients.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via IFLScience]

Hairy Frog Aka Wolverine Frog

The Hairy Frog is referred to as the Wolverine Frog due to its appearance, is a species of frog found in Central Africa. This frog looks kind of strange and eerie because it has skin flaps on its body and hind legs, which give it a hairy or fringed appearance. This animal has flaps covered in thin skin with blood vessels. It can use these flaps for self-defense by breaking its bones, which makes sharp bones poke through its skin, creating claws or spines.This characteristic, in conjunction with its unusual appearance, contributes to its Wolverine moniker. Indigenous to the central African countries of Cameroon and Nigeria, the Hairy Frog resides within rainforests and other dense forest regions.

The Hairy Frog is categorized as gross by some due to its peculiar appearance, the presence of skin flaps, and the capacity to inflict self-injury to create spines for self-defense. The unique adaptations it employs for self-defense, which consists of self- harm, might be regarded as disturbing by some. Like other frogs, the Hairy Frog plays a pivotal role in the ecosystem, both as a predator and prey. It engages in the consumption of various small bugs, thereby contributing to the regulation of insect populations. Furthermore, it serves as food for many predators, including snakes and birds. Frogs also play a vital role in indicating the health of the environment. Their population changes reflect the condition of the ecosystems they live in. Despite its strange appearance and defense method, the Hairy Frog is an interesting species that has a specific place in its ecosystem’s food chain.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Davina’s observations]

Surinam Toad the Terrifying Mother

Meet the Surinam Toad, a remarkable aquatic toad with a unique appearance and extraordinary way of having babies. This toad has a flat, leaf-like body, a broad flattened head, and skin covered in tiny warty bumps that help it blend into its surroundings. But what makes it truly stand out are its eyes, which are on its back, a perfect adaptation for its life in the water. Its unusual looks, with a flat body and hidden eyes, make the Surinam Toad a truly remarkable sight. These toads call South America home, especially in the Amazon Basin and freshwater areas in countries like Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and Venezuela. You’ll often find them near slow-moving or still water.

Often considered gross, the Surinam Toad is known for its unusual way of reproducing. Instead of laying eggs, the female carries fertilized eggs on her back. The eggs then become embedded in skin pockets to continue growing. Then fully developed froglets emerge from the mother’s back, which is quite startling for some. In their aquatic world, Surinam Toads play the role as both hunters and prey. They snack on small aquatic bugs, maintaining a check on insect and crustacean populations. However, they also find themselves on the menu for various predators, including birds, snakes, and other water-dwellers. Despite their peculiar way of reproducing it’s an intriguing adaptation that helps them survive in their watery habitat. These toads also play active roles in recycling nutrients and the intricate web of food chains in their ecosystem.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Wired]

The Jawless Lamprey

Lampreys are a unique group of fish known for their primitive, jawless nature and sometimes considered eerie for their feeding habits. They have an eel-like body with a round, suction-cup mouth filled with rows of sharp teeth. Some species appear silvery or gray, while others have brownish or mottled coloration. Lampreys live in various freshwater and marine environments worldwide, from rivers and lakes to oceans, depending on their species and life stage.

What might make lampreys seem gross to some is their parasitic way of feeding. Certain lamprey species attach themselves to fish using their suction-cup mouths and sharp teeth, draining nourishment from the host fish’s bodily fluids. This feeding method can be seen as gruesome, and their toothy appearance adds to their unsettling image. However, lampreys, both parasitic and non-parasitic species, play vital roles in their ecosystems. Parasitic lampreys help regulate fish populations by targeting weaker individuals, maintaining the overall health of fish communities. Non-parasitic lampreys, especially in their larval stage, become prey for various birds, fish, and aquatic creatures, contributing to nutrient cycling and food web dynamics. Lampreys also serve as indicators of water quality, aiding in the assessment of aquatic ecosystem health. Despite their somewhat gruesome feeding style, they are essential for maintaining the balance in freshwater and marine environments.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via National Park Services]

The Sizable Tarantula Hawk

The Tarantula Hawk, a large and eye-catching wasp species, stands out for its unique hunting habits. These wasps are easy to spot with their shiny, metallic blue-black bodies and vibrant orange wings. While most wasps are around 1/3 inch the Tarantula Hawk can be up to 2 inches in length. They live in various parts of the Americas, from North to South America, and can be found in deserts, grasslands, and open areas.

Some people might find Tarantula Hawks a bit unsettling because of their predatory behavior. Female Tarantula Hawks are known for their quest to catch tarantulas. They sting the tarantula to paralyze it and then lay an egg on its body. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva feeds on the still-living tarantula. This hunting strategy can seem pretty gruesome to some. However, in the world of tarantula population control, Tarantula Hawks play a vital role. By hunting and parasitizing tarantulas, they help keep the population of these large spiders in check. In turn, the Tarantula Hawk has positive effects on the broader ecosystem by preventing overpopulation and maintaining balance in the world of arachnids. Despite their seemingly brutal hunting style, they serve a crucial ecological function in nature.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via AZ Animals]

The Massive Goliath Beetle

The Goliath Beetle is a group of large, heavy-bodied beetles known for their impressive size and striking appearance. They rank among the world’s largest beetles, sometimes reaching lengths of up to 4.5 inches. Their sturdy, oval-shaped bodies are covered in a shiny exoskeleton, which can feature distinctive patterns and vary in color from brown to black. Their remarkable size, vibrant colors, and, in males, impressive horns make them iconic beetles. Goliath Beetles are found in various regions of Africa, particularly in tropical and subtropical forests, where they reside on the forest floor. They can be located in parts of West, Central, and East Africa.

The Goliath Beetle isn’t universally considered gross like some other creatures. Many people find their size and appearance impressive rather than off-putting. However, their substantial size, heavy bodies, and prominent horns may appear intimidating or unusual to some, leading to differing opinions about their looks. These beetles play a crucial role in the forest ecosystem as decomposers. They feed on decaying organic matter, including dead plants and wood, helping break down and recycle organic materials. This activity, in turn, aids in nutrient cycling and promotes soil health in the forest, benefiting the entire ecosystem. Despite their unconventional appearance, Goliath Beetles contribute significantly to maintaining the balance of their habitat.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via The Scientist]

The Terrifying Giant Isopod

Meet the Giant Isopod, a marine crustacean that’s part of the isopod family, closely related to the common woodlouse. But here’s where it gets interesting – unlike its land-loving relatives, this one calls the deep sea home. Picture a really weird-looking creature with a flat, segmented body and lots of legs, kind of like other isopods. Some of them can grow up to 14 inches long, and they’re covered in a tough exoskeleton that shields them from the tough conditions of the deep sea. Some people find their appearance downright grotesque, like a giant, prehistoric woodlouse. These Giant Isopods are found in the deep ocean, typically at depths ranging from 550 to 7,020 feet , and you can spot them in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

What makes the Giant Isopod even more intriguing is that its bizarre appearance. It resembles a supersized aquatic version of the common woodlouse which can give some folks the creeps. Their armored, otherworldly features, combined with their deep-sea home, might lead to the gross or unsettling label. But don’t let their looks fool you – Giant Isopods play a vital role in their ecosystem as scavengers. They chow down on the carcasses of marine creatures that sink to the ocean floor, making sure that nutrients get recycled in the deep-sea environment. This helps keep the ecosystem in balance by preventing a buildup of organic material on the ocean floor and averting various ecological challenges. So, despite their unconventional or unattractive appearance, these Giant Isopods are crucial for the health and sustainability of deep-sea environments.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via National Geographic]

The Large Nosed Proboscis Monkey

The Proboscis Monkey, found in Southeast Asia, particularly in Borneo, stands out with its unique features. It has a potbelly, long limbs, and a big, droopy nose that hangs over its mouth, especially in males. Their fur is reddish-brown, and you can spot that potbelly. Their strange looks, especially the long nose, make them easy to identify.

These monkeys call Borneo their home, mainly in coastal and swampy areas, like mangrove forests, riverbanks, and forests near water. Some people might find their long, droopy noses unusual or unattractive, but opinions vary. Proboscis Monkeys have many roles in their ecosystem. They mostly eat leaves, fruits, and seeds, helping spread seeds and regrow the forest. They also become prey for animals like crocodiles and large raptors, affecting the food chain in their habitat. Despite their unique appearance, Proboscis Monkeys are vital for the health and diversity of Borneo’s rainforests and mangroves.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via The New England Primate Conservency]

The Eerie Snub-Nosed Monkey

Meet the Snub-Nosed Monkey, a unique primate found in various parts of Asia, known for its distinctive feature: a short, upturned nose. These monkeys are of medium size, with fur that can range from gray to golden or brown, often marked with eye-catching multicolored patterns. They call dense, mountainous forests in Asia their home, where they navigate challenging terrains and environmental conditions.

The Snub-Nosed Monkey’s upturned nose might not fit the usual idea of what a monkey should look like, making it stand out. Their unusual facial feature, combined with their colorful fur, sparks curiosity and discussions about their appearance. Beyond their appearance, these monkeys play a crucial role in their ecosystem. They are plant-eaters, munching on leaves, fruits, and plants, and help spread seeds in their forest homes, promoting diversity and regeneration. So, even though they might look a bit different, Snub-Nosed Monkeys play a significant part in keeping Asian forest ecosystems healthy and thriving.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Shutterstock]

Turkey Vulture the Scavenger of the Skies

The Turkey Vulture is a big bird with an impressive 6-foot wingspan. They’re scavengers, feeding on dead animals. What makes them stand out are their featherless red heads and dark brownish-black feathers on the rest of their bodies. You can spot them by their V-shaped wings when they’re flying high in the sky, often soaring.These vultures are all over the Americas, from southern Canada to the southern tip of South America. You can find them in various places like forests, grasslands, deserts, and even in cities. Whether they’re gliding up high or perched near their meal spots, Turkey Vultures are a common sight.

Some folks might find Turkey Vultures “gross” because they feed on dead animals. They’re linked to the sight of dead creatures and the process of them breaking down, which can be seen as unpleasant. But here’s the thing, Turkey Vultures are like nature’s cleanup crew. They’re great at devouring dead animals which helps stop the spread of diseases connected to decomposition. This is essential for keeping the environment healthy and disease-free. So, despite their not-so-pretty appearance and somewhat gruesome eating habits, Turkey Vultures play a crucial role in many ecosystems around the world.

Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via ThoughtCo.]

The Parasitic Bot Fly

The bot fly, an unsettling parasitic insect, inflicts a nightmarish existence upon a range of mammals, including humans. Its life cycle unfolds in two distinct phases, with the adult bot fly bearing little resemblance to its parasitic larval stage. The mature bot fly typically sports a hairy, housefly-like appearance, although their shapes and colors can vary depending on the specific species. These eerie creatures are found across various regions in the Americas, spanning from the southern United States down to South America.The adult bot flies lay their eggs near the host’s burrows or resting areas. Once these eggs hatch, the developing larvae embark on a grisly journey by burrowing into the host’s skin that produces a distinctive, painful lump beneath the skin’s surface.
These larvae, often referred to as “warbles” or simply “bot,” have a stout, segmented body, and some species even feature backward-facing spines or hook-like structures that anchor themselves deep within the host’s flesh. This gruesome lifestyle has led many to consider bot flies as repulsive due to the harm they inflict on their hosts and the excruciatingly parasitic nature of their larvae. Yet, despite their profoundly unsettling presence, bot flies serve an indirect ecological role by regulating host populations and influencing the overall health of host species, revealing that even the most grotesque inhabitants of the animal kingdom can play a crucial part in maintaining the balance of ecosystems.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via BBC Science]

The Hairy Yeti Crab

The Yeti Crab, an extraordinary and mysterious resident of the deep sea, earns its name from the legendary Yeti thanks to its snow-white and shaggy appearance. These crabs are easily recongnized due to their remarkable features They have long, silky, hair-like structures that adorn their bodies. However, it’s not folklore but a fascinating reality that these crabs thrive in one of Earth’s most extreme environments – the hydrothermal vents lurking deep within our oceans. These unique Yeti crabs call the deep-sea hydrothermal vent systems home, scattered across various locations in the world’s oceans, including the Pacific and the Indian Oceans.
These vent systems are harsh and forbidding, characterized by intense pressure, searing hot water, and toxic chemicals. What might initially appear unsettling to some is that the Yeti crab employs these hair-like filaments to cultivate an exclusive community of bacteria. The bacteria residing on the crab’s hairs become the crab’s primary source of sustenance. This captivating adaptation isn’t just a quirk; it’s essential to living in the hydrothermal vent ecosystem. It contributes significantly to nutrient cycling and the survival of a variety of species in these extreme conditions. So, even though their appearance might be unconventional, the Yeti crab plays an indispensable role in an ecosystem that few other species can withstand.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Mississippi State University]

Ichneumon Wasp with Parasitic Larvae

The Ichneumon Wasp is a truly captivating yet often misunderstood insect that plays a unique and crucial role in the natural world. Recognizable by their slender bodies and distinctive thread-like antennae, these wasps can be discovered inhabiting a diverse array of ecosystems across the globe, ranging from lush forests to carefully manicured gardens. However, it’s their parasitic reproductive strategy that truly sets them apart, and while it might disconcert some, it is a phenomenon well worth exploring. They can be found all throughout North America in woodland areas.
Female Ichneumon wasps lay their eggs on or within other insects’ larvae, primarily targeting unsuspecting caterpillars or grubs. Once the Ichneumon wasp larvae hatch, they embark on a remarkable journey that is both unsettling and awe-inspiring. In a truly unsettling process these tiny parasites begin consuming their host from the inside and eventually emerge as fully developed adults. This parasitic lifestyle might send shivers down one’s spine, but it fulfills a vital ecological role. By regulating potential pest species and skillfully maintaining the balance of insect populations within their respective ecosystems, Ichneumon wasps contribute to the overall health and sustainability of these environments.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Critter Science]

The Repulsive Tongue-Eating Louse

The Tongue-Eating Louse possesses a lifestyle that is as bizarre as it is unsettling. This parasitic crustacean primarily takes up residence in the mouths of certain fish species, with a predilection for attaching itself to the fish’s tongue. Tongue-eating lice are most commonly found in the mouths of specific fish varieties, particularly those like the spotted rose snapper. Once attahced to the fish’s tongue, the louse then feeds on the fish’s blood vessels which results in the atrophy and ultimate loss of the fish’s tongue. Astonishingly, the louse then assumes the role of the fish’s tongue, continuing to feed on the host’s blood and mucus. This parasitic behavior may strike as gruesome, involving the complete replacement of the fish’s tongue, but it serves as a survival strategy for the louse, albeit at the expense of the host fish.
The Tongue-Eating Louse is undoubtedly gross due to its parasitic lifestyle, which not only includes the act of feeding on its host but also the replacement of a vital organ, the fish’s tongue. Understandably, this behavior can evoke feelings of repulsion. However, within the complexity of the marine ecosystems, this unusual parasite plays a unique role that raises questions about its ecological purpose. Some researchers suggest that the presence of the Tongue-Eating Louse might contribute to maintaining the health of fish populations by reducing competition for resources. Additionally, it can serve as a food source for other marine animals, in turn participating in nutrient cycling within the marine ecosystem. While its lifestyle may appear gruesome on the surface, the Tongue-Eating Louse adds a distinctive purpose within these underwater worlds.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Fox]

The Terrifying Tapeworm

Tapeworms constitute a peculiar group of parasitic flatworms that make their homes within the digestive tracts of various animals, including humans. They have elongated, ribbon-like bodies composed of individual segments. Their appearance often garners repulsion, primarily because their parasitic nature and unique anatomical structure. These parasites establish residence in the intestines of a broad spectrum of hosts, including mammals, birds, and fish, exhibiting a widespread presence that spans different regions across the globe.The perception of tapeworms as repulsive creatures primarily comes from their parasitic lifestyle. They thrive within their host’s intestines by absorbing nutrients from the host’s digested food.
This potentially causes health concerns in their host organisms, an unsettling prospect for many. However, these often villianized parasitic organisms serve a surprising ecological role. They indirectly contribute to the regulation of host populations by exerting a certain degree of control over the health and numbers of their host species. In the world of nature, tapeworms aid in maintaining the delicate balance of animal populations within their respective ecosystems. Despite their unsettling reputation tapeworms remain an integral part of the complex web of life by playing their role in the natural checks and balances that define our ecosystems.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Blobfish: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/blobfish

Hagfish: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/animals-a-to-z/pacific-hagfish

Aye Aye: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/aye-aye

Naked Mole Rat:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/naked-mole-rat

Palouse Earth Worm: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/giant_Palouse_earthworm/index.html

Wolverine Frog: https://a-z-animals.com/blog/hairy-frogs/

Surinam Toad: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/facts/surinam-toad

Lamprey: https://www.britannica.com/animal/lamprey

Tarantula Hawk: https://www.britannica.com/animal/spider-wasp#ref139531

Goliath Beetle: https://www.discoverafrica.com/blog/meet-the-goliath-beetle-the-worlds-heaviest-insect/

Giant Isopod: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/animals-a-to-z/giant-isopod

Probiscus Monkey: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/proboscis-monkey

Snub Nosed Monkey: https://primate.wisc.edu/primate-info-net/pin-factsheets/pin-factsheet-golden-snub-nosed-monkey/

Turkey Vulture: https://www.britannica.com/animal/turkey-vulture

Bot Fly: https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/flies/human_bot_fly.htm

Yeti Crab: https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/yeti-crab

Ichneumon Wasp: https://bugguide.net/node/view/150

Tongue-Eating Louse: https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2022/04/28/tongue-eating-louse-eats-tongues/

Tapeworm: https://www.britannica.com/animal/flatworm

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