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Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Stephen Davies eBird Macaulay Library ML

The Long-Wattled Umbrellabird

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. 

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
National Geographic

The Platypus

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Animals World

The Maned Wolf

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
One Green Planet

The Mary River Turtle

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Bureau of Land Management via Flickr

The Sage Grouse

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Matthijs Kuijpers / Alamy

The Mossy Frog

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Paignton Zoo

The Giant Leaf-Tailed Gecko

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Honolulu Zoo

The Crested Porcupine

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
National Geographic

The Cuttlefish 

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Honolulu Zoo

The Hamadryas Baboon

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
National Geographic

The Blue-Footed Booby

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
National Geographic

The Gharial

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
National Geographic

The Polka-Dotted Zebra

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Oceana.org

The Peacock Mantis Shrimp

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Animalia

The Markhor

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. 

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
LaDameBucolique Wikipedia

The Axolotl

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
americanoceans.org

The Blue Glaucus 

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Animalia

The Star-Nosed Mole

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Tim Laman / NG

The Spike-Nosed Tree Frog

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. 

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
World Atlas

The Hammerhead Shark

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
National Museum of Nature and Science

The Chinese Water Deer

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
steptacular Wikipedia

The Lykoi

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. 

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Keith Kissel Flickr Wikipedia

Heterochromia Iridum

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.

Insanely Unique Animals that Made Us Do a Double Take
Caters

The Barn Owl

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!

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