Have you ever seen a tapir before? They kind of look like mini-elephants that have had their trunks removed. They reside in rainforests and flooded grasslands, though their numbers are currently in decline. In Belize, they’re known as the mountain cow since they graze on grasses and leaves. Don’t assume that their cute good looks means that they’d make good pets. They’re roughly the size of a cow, and one was known to have attacked the Costa Rican Minister of Environment in 2006. So it might be best to just leave them alone.
The pangolin has sometimes been confused with an aardvark or an armadillo, but they’re not really related to them at all. They’re more closely related to anteaters. They sport huge claws that they use to dig at huge ants’ nests so that they can eat the delicious bugs inside. The reason for their armor-plating is to protect themselves. All they have to do is curl up into a ball and tuck their head in so that any predators can’t get to their soft underbellies. Beware, however: they have stink glands that they also use to deter predators, and have been considered worse than the scent of a skunk.
The echidna is similar to the platypus, in that it is a mammal that lays eggs. That makes them an outlier from the characteristics of what mammals actually are. Despite laying eggs, they also lactate like other mammals so that their young can feed. They kind of look like a cross between a duck and a porcupine, but it’s not really clear what kind of food they eat. It’s unknown what those spines are used for, but the males have spurs on their hind legs that they use for fighting each other over mates and territory.
Blue-tongue skinks have plenty of interesting characteristics, the most notable being their very bright blue tongues. Nevertheless, this is just for display; these reptiles’ other talents are mostly for defensive purposes because of how many predators hunt them down. Firstly, a blue tongue skink will actually bite off its own tail and leave it behind in the dirt to confuse predators. Secondly, their coloration looks like a Death Adder, which is a snake. Why? To deter predators, of course. They can expand their rib cages to appear much bigger than they really are in hopes of scaring off any predators trying to eat them.
Also known as the Hungarian sheepdog, the Komondor is a breed that protects livestock from predators. What really makes them stand out is their very unique coat, and it’s quite long and thick, making it similar in appearance to cords or a person’s dreadlocks. The breed starts with soft and fluffy fur like a puppy, which then starts to curl as they mature. The outer coat becomes coarse and corded, possibly to protect the dog against the elements, while the undercoat remains soft. However, grooming is necessary to keep the cords separated so that the dog’s coat doesn’t become one giant tangled mess.
The alligator snapping turtle is one of the most terrifying turtles globally. They tend to live in swampy areas, as their primary source of food is fish. It’s one of the largest freshwater turtles and can weigh as much as 175 pounds. Their jaws are strong enough to claim a human finger if you get too close. However, what really makes the alligator snapping turtle unique is how it catches fish. It will sit at the bottom of the river bed and open its mouth. It has a projection at the end of its tongue that looks like a red wriggling worm. Of course, this is going to be attractive to any hungry fish, and once they try to take a bite, the snapping turtle’s jaws clamp down on its easy meal.
There are some strange bird species, but nothing is more bizarre than the roseate spoonbill. Its body is pink in color, similar to a flamingo, but the bill is what makes it stand out from the rest. This bird’s beak has the shape of a spoon, as its name suggests. It may look strange, but this bill actually has a purpose. The spoonbill wades through fresh coastal waters with its beak in the water. It waves it around from side to side, stirring up the river beds to find their meal. Spoonbills mostly feed on frogs, aquatic bugs, crustaceans, and small fish.
Monkeys and apes are our closest relatives when it comes to animals on the planet, but sometimes you have to wonder why some monkeys look the way they do. One of those is the proboscis monkey, which has a nose that only a mother would love. Other than being a rhinoplasty surgeon’s dream job, the shape of the proboscis monkey’s nose actually serves a purpose. Firstly, only the males have noses like this, and secondly, they use them to attract mates. Scientists have discovered that the males with the largest noses tended to have the most females in their harems.
Conjoined twins aren’t anything new, but it rarely happens in the animal kingdom. This two-headed southern black racer was found in Florida and was likely the result of two monozygotic twins that didn’t separate during development. Unfortunately, two-headed snakes rarely survive in the wild because they have separate brains that want to make different decisions. That can be anything from where to go to what to eat, which can put them in conflict. What’s strange is that each head responds to different stimuli differently, which further decreases the odds that they would survive out in the wild.
The thorny devil lizard looks like a tiny spiny dinosaur, but these spines are actually camouflage them in their environments. Their coloration helps them blend in, too, especially amongst the scrub of the grasslands and in the Australian deserts. They mainly eat ants, but the other amazing thing about their spines is that they also store water in them. This is very useful in the desert, where water is scarce. Having these spines means that they can go for much longer in the hot sun without taking a drink.
The glass frog is pretty unique, and it’s not because of how cute they are. These cool animals look like normal frogs on top, sporting bright green colors, but they have translucent bellies if you turn one over. That means that you can see all of the frog’s organs. So what reason would they have to be translucent? Scientists discovered that the frog’s legs changed in opaqueness depending on the amount of light, and when they tucked their legs close to their sides, it was much more difficult to see where the outline of the frog was. That made it more difficult for predatory birds to find them.
The red-spotted coral crab is one of the best-dressed animals in the ocean. This little crab has a polka-dotted suit and sparkling green eyes, making it stand out from everything else around it. However, these spots are actually help them hide amongst the corals that they call their home. These crabs are only about a few inches across, so they’re actually pretty small. Their size also makes it easy for them to get away by hiding within the deeper recesses of the corals where predators can’t reach them.
The saiga antelope is another one of the strangest creatures to exist in today’s modern world. Unfortunately, it’s critically endangered, which means that there could be none of these marvelous creatures left in a few years. This unfortunate notion is a huge deal because they’re reminiscent of the animals living in the Pleistocene period. The most prominent feature of the saiga antelope is the bloated nostrils that face directly downwards. The shape of their nostrils helps filter dust out of the air during the summer migration and warm up cold air in the winter before going into the lungs.
Geckos are some fascinating lizards, but the satanic leaf-tailed gecko definitely takes the cake. It might look like something out of a nightmare, but you have nothing to worry about. Despite its appearance, this gecko is actually relatively harmless. The only thing they eat is insects, and they’re not poisonous. Their slightly barbed appearance helps to camouflage them amongst leaves in trees, where they spend most of their time so that they can’t get eaten by predators. You can only find these cool animals in Madagascar, so it’s unlikely you’ll come across these unique creatures unless you’re planning a trip.
Have you ever seen a stick move on its own? Well, you will when you take a look at the giant walking stick. It literally looks like a stick with legs and eyes. This insect is a type of grasshopper, so they have legs that can actually jump. In addition to its extraordinary appearance, it has large, bulbous eyes perched at the end of its head so that it can see everything that’s going on around it. This unique feature helps it be aware of and avoid predators by remaining perfectly still so that it looks like nothing more than a stick or a branch on a tree.
The Victoria crowned pigeon is definitely a ground bird that stands out from the rest. You may be surprised to discover that it’s a type of pigeon that most people hate. However, many people have started keeping them as pets because of their gentle nature. It’s hard to think of a pigeon sporting such fancy plumage, but this bird decided to go against the grain. They’re not a bird for novice bird keepers since they require a lot of time and space. Another thing that makes this pigeon stand out from others of its kind is that it doesn’t have a soft coo; instead, it makes a loud boom sound that can be quite alarming.
The shoebill stork is an enormous bird that can look intimidating but is actually quite docile when it comes to people. They even allow photographers to come right up to their nests and take pictures instead of trying to scare them away. The shoebill stork has quite an impressive beak, to say the least, but they only eat fish, frogs, water snakes, and young turtles. Nothing that would require a beak that looks like it could crack open a coconut. Many scientists believe that the modern shoebill stork is related to dinosaurs.
The Japanese spider crab is definitely a creature that looks like it crawled out of someone’s nightmares. It has incredibly long legs that make it look like a spider and can read up to 12 feet across from claw to claw. That’s nothing to laugh at, but thankfully, they’re not territorial in any way towards humans. In fact, they’re on a protected list because they’re considered a delicacy in Japan and run the risk of being overfished. Unlike other crabs that look for environments to blend into, the Japanese spider crab hunts at night to avoid predators.
This marvelous fish is also called the dragon’s beard fish and is from the same family as scorpionfishes and lionfishes. Although it’s not that much different from other lionfish in the ocean, it has some differences in its coloration and markings that make it stand out from the rest. Don’t get too close to these fish, however. Although they only feed on small fish and crustaceans, the spines along the fish’s back contain venom that can be quite debilitating. You’re better off leaving them alone or looking at them from afar.
It’s a long name for a bird that, at first, doesn’t look that impressive, but a closer look at the long-wattled umbrellabird will reveal exactly why it has this name. The males have a long wattle that hangs from their throat that’s covered in feathers. So what do they do with it? They can extend these wattles to a magnificent length when putting on a display to find potential mates. Fancy birds like these tend to put on very fancy shoes that attract females as they try to one-up each other in the mating department.
Everyone is aware of just how bizarre the platypus can be. In fact, Australia alone has some of the weirdest animals that aren’t found anywhere else on Earth. So what makes the platypus so strange? First is its appearance, and it looks like a beaver that had a duck’s bill grafted onto it. Secondly, it’s a warm-blooded mammal that lays eggs, which no other mammal in the world does. Lastly, the males are actually equipped with poisoned claws on their front feet in order to fend off predators. It’s definitely one of the strangest animals out there.
Although the maned wolf looks more like a fox, it is indeed a wolf. With a rusty orange coat and black covering its legs, it would be very easy to mistake this animal for some kind of fox. Nevertheless, what makes this creature stand out more than its coat is its super long legs. The reason for these long legs is for the maned wolf to see over tall grasses so that it can find its prey more easily. They mostly hunt rodents, birds, and rabbits, all of whom use long grass to hide in. On occasion, you can find the maned wolf hunting fish in nearby water sources as well.
This unique turtle, the Mary River turtle, is on the verge of extinction. Scientists also call this cool animal the green-haired punk turtle, and that’s due to the grassy strands of green algae growing on top of its head. It definitely looks like a skater punk ready to grind his board along some rails. To add to the look, this turtle has two spike-like projections on its chin, almost like piercings. It’s a shame that they’re on the endangered list because this species is one of the sole survivors of lineages that date all the way back to the dinosaurs.
The sage grouse may seem boring to look at, but that’s because you’ve never seen one when it’s in display mode. The males have fascinating mating and display rituals that make you question how they came up with these intricate practices in the first place. The sage grouse stand out from the rest because they have two air sacs on the front of their chests that they puff out when they’re ready to show off. It can appear obscene, but remember that these are the males who don these air sacs, not the females.
If you were to walk past one of these mossy frogs, you might not even notice that it’s there. That means that its camouflage is doing the job! The mossy frog lives in Vietnam and China, though, so you might not come across one any time soon. Its skin has green and brown markings and warty bumps to resemble moss. This way, it can sit perfectly still amongst the trees and not be noticed by any predators. In addition to its excellent camouflage, it will curl up into a ball and pretend to play dead when it’s threatened.
The giant leaf-tailed gecko lives in Madagascar and feeds on most bugs, ranging from moths and roaches to crickets. They are masters of camouflage, as evidenced by their leaf-shaped tails so that they can perch themselves against a tree trunk and blend in perfectly. That makes it difficult for predators to find them. Furthermore, it is easier for these cool animals to hide from their prey. In addition to blending in quite well into its environment, this gecko has another defense mechanism when a predator threatens it. It will open its mouth and scream at such a pitch in an attempt to scare the predator away.
Porcupines are pretty rare to see. The Northern African crested porcupine is even rarer, but what’s so fascinating is that they’re the largest rodent porcupine in the world. Labeled as a rodent, it can get up to almost 30 inches long and can weigh as much as 50 pounds. People call this cool animal the crested porcupine because they can erect the quills along their back to form a crest. They can also make the quills rattle together when they feel threatened, possibly in an attempt to scare predators away.
Cuttlefish are considered “cute” by people who come across them. They are pretty strange to look at, especially with the weird shapes of their pupils, but that’s not why these seemingly docile creatures are on this list, and it’s because of the unique thing they can do with their skin. Experts consider these cool animals the “chameleons” of the sea because of their ability to change the color of their skin and the texture of it. Moreover, they can do all of this in a split second. They use this ability to camouflage themselves from predators or communicate with each other, and they actually have quite an elaborate series of communication elements.
The Hamydras baboon can appear quite majestic, and it has a lovely thick mane of silver-grey fur with bright red faces for contrast. But beware: they have impressively long fangs that can easily cause injuries to those who threaten their space. However, what really sticks out on the Hamydras baboon… is its rear end. These cool animals have posteriors with large red paddings, and they provide cushioning for the hard surfaces they sit on. It can be a bit alarming to see for the first time and possibly a little obscene as well.
The blue-footed booby isn’t only known for its ridiculous name but also for the very bright coloration on its feet. Its name comes from the Spanish word “bobo,” which means stupid due to how tame the birds can be around people. Its feet and display rituals are also a marvel to behold. The blue color can vary with intensity, and it’s the males with the brightest feet tend to get mates. In examining the chicks of these males, the healthiest babies tended to have fathers that had the most brilliant blue feet as well.
The gharial looks as if Mother Nature was playing a prank on a crocodile. Unfortunately, because of their unique appearance, they have become critically endangered. Scientists made gharial after the “ghara” which is an Indian pot, and this is due to the bulbous protrusion at the tip of a male gharial’s snout. These cool animals are the only crocodile species with a noticeable difference between males and females. Their long snouts help them catch fish, but very little of their food supply is in the rivers because of overfishing. Conservation efforts have been put in place to help these gharials to thrive.
Everyone is used to seeing zebras with stripes, so you can imagine how everyone’s jaws dropped when they came upon the first polka-dotted zebra. Born in Kenya, this isn’t a new species of zebra. Instead, it simply has a pigment disorder where the skin and short hair have more black than white. Many scientists believe that this disorder could result from inbreeding within zebra herds due to their decreased range as a result of hunting, ranches, and habitat loss. Unfortunately for this foal, it’s likely to die young, given that its pattern doesn’t help it blend in well with the rest of the herd, making it easy for predators to pick it out.
As beautiful as the peacock mantis shrimp is, it’s not an aquatic animal that you should really mess with. Despite how small this shrimp is, you’re better off keeping your distance. And that’s because these cool animals know how to pack a punch. How powerful are they? Their punches are capable of ripping open the hard shells of mollusks and crabs, and it’s one of the fastest movements to take place underwater, not to mention in the entire animal kingdom. Furthermore, their punches can even kill other shrimp if they feel threatened, winding back with their powerful forearms and smacking the ever-living crap out of anything nearby.
Markhor live in flocks that usually consist of females and kids; the males are solitary and only come around during the breeding season. The markhor has many predators, so they always live on very high alert in order to avoid getting eaten. That is why they have such a strong sense of smell to know when they need to get away. However, what’s most remarkable about these animals is their folklore. Scientists think they eat serpents and that a foam-like substance falls out of their mouth when they do so. The local people collect this foam, thinking that it helps treat snakebites.
A few years ago, the axolotl became a craze when everyone wanted to own one as a pet or wanted merchandise sporting these water dogs, so-called in the native Nahuatl language. They have several characteristics that make them unique in the animal kingdom. First of all, axolotls are actually amphibians but never actually go through metamorphosis. Secondly, they’re able to regenerate limbs that they’ve lost completely. They can completely regrow an entire leg in just a few months, complete with nerves and muscle tissues, making the regrown limb completely functional. They can even regenerate tissues of the eyes and heart, as well as less vital parts of their brains.
Sea slugs, despite their name, are actually quite pretty. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, as demonstrated by the blue glaucus. It has a beautiful blue hue to its body and appendages that makes it a marvel to look at. It has also been called the blue dragon or blue angel. In its natural habitat, the blue glaucus blends in easily with the ocean water as well as the sky so that they won’t get eaten. However, the blue glaucus is also known for ingesting venomous prey and using those toxins to protect themselves from predators.
For the average homeowner, moles are complete headaches. These pests can make a lawn very lumpy. The star-nosed mole is one of them, but they look much different from the average mole. They are excellent diggers and can even swim underwater for up to 30 seconds. What is the reason for the shape of its nose? These cool animals have very poor eyesight, which is typical for all moles. They use their nose projections to sense prey, such as bugs, that they can eat. They can touch up to 12 different things at once in a single second. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this also makes the star-nosed mole one of the fastest hunters in the world.
Also called the long-nosed tree frog, the spike-nosed tree frog has a funny projection on the end of its nose. Only the males of the species have this distinctive trait. Experts also refer to this cool animal as the Pinocchio frog for apparent reasons. The protuberance points upward when the male calls and deflates when the male is resting. However, the size of this spike plays no role when females choose males to mate with. Scientists believe that this spike only helps the frogs differentiate themselves from other species of frogs that live in the forests.
Many people are familiar with how bizarre the hammerhead shark appears. With eyes on either side of their wide head, it’s a wonder that they can even see anything at all. However, sharks don’t need to see very well to catch their prey, and that’s what their broad heads are for. They have a sensory organ on their heads called a cephalofoil that senses the electrical fields created by any prey or threats from several miles away. Because their eyes are so far apart, they can rotate their eyes to the point that they actually have 360-degree vision.
The Chinese water deer is one of the only deer species that doesn’t grow antlers. Instead, they produce large fangs protruding out of their mouths, like vampire fangs. Both males and females have fangs, but the girls have much smaller ones. These large teeth are nothing to worry about since the Chinese water deer is still an herbivore. They only use their tusks to fight off other males during the mating season before claiming females, and they use them to fend off predators in any way they can.
People think werewolves are creatures of fiction, but there is a real cat species that looks like it could be related to the werewolf. This species of cat is called the lykoi and is a natural mutation found in the domestic shorthair cat. This gene mutation causes Lykoi cats to have short hair or be completely hairless. Despite their somewhat feral appearance because of their fur, they’re actually quite affectionate towards their owners and are very unchallenging in their behavior. They tend to shed a lot as they grow older, but the hair grows back later in their lives.
Heterochromia iridum is the technical name for any animal with eyes of different colors. One of the most prominent examples of this unique animal is a husky with one brown and one blue eye. It doesn’t happen very often, but scientists have agreed that the reason for heterochromia is the lack of genetic diversity. Having heterochromia iridum doesn’t affect a person or animal’s vision at all since it only affects the pigments in the iris and not the functional structure of the eye itself. In some cases, this condition could result from injury or disease later on in life.
Barn owls, and all owls, are capable of doing strange things with their bodies. Because their orbital sockets are very shallow in their skulls, it means that their eyeballs can’t move. They can blink, but they cannot move up and down or side to side. That means that they compensate for this by moving their heads. Moreover, they can move their heads an impressive 270 degrees. That means that they can see almost everything around them just with a turn of their head. And they can even turn their heads upside down!