The Strangest Animals on Earth
With over 8 million different species on Earth, the amount of diverse, beautiful creatures can be breathtaking. Other times, it can be completely strange.
It's impossible to collect every animal anomaly on the planet, so we've rounded up a list of our favorites that includes mammals, ocean oddities and even the strangest insects. Feast your eyes on this plethora of unique animals.
The Angora Rabbit
Hailing from Ankara, Turkey, these rabbits are too hairy for their own good. An adult Angora rabbit's wool will grow 1.2 inches a month, which is a lot of hair for such tiny critters. They're often bred for their silky, soft Angora wool coats that, if left unattended, can make them look like walking pillows.
These aquatic aliens are sometimes referred to as Mexican walking fish, but they’re actually amphibians. But unlike other amphibians, the axolotl remains in the water after reaching adulthood because they never develop lungs. Their wide heads, tiny arms and lidless eyes make for quite the awkward water dweller.
The Spectral Tarsier
These little primates with bulging eyes, giant hands and flapping ears are spectral tarsiers. This particular species of tarsier is native to the island of Selayar in Indonesia. If their appearance isn’t peculiar enough, wait until you learn about their eating habits.
The Hairy Bush Viper
No, it's not a real-life dragon. But hairy bush vipers are extremely dangerous. They're so poisonous that they can cause severe hemorrhaging of a victim's internal organs. They can grow to be over 2 feet long and use their protruding scales to climb small plants.
The Red-Lipped Batfish
The red-lipped batfish is native to the ocean floor surrounding the Galápagos Islands. By floor, we mean the very bottom, since the batfish aren't very good swimmers. Since they have such strong pectoral fins, they tend to walk along the ocean floor, rather than swim like other fish.
The Walking Stick
The walking stick bug is an accurately named insect. Their bodies resemble twigs and branches so predators can't spot them in the trees while they graze on leafy greens. If you thought their appearance wasn't strange enough, check out their mating habits.
Blobfish are, without a doubt, heinous looking deep sea dwellers. In fact, they were voted the world's ugliest animal in a 2013 online poll. That's likely thanks to their gelatinous bodies which allow them to float above the ocean floor.
The Proboscis Monkey
These long-nosed monkeys live on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Their bright, orange-red hair gives them a flaming hue, but it’s their pink, flapping noses that set them apart from other primates. Female proboscis monkeys have smaller noses that arch upwards, so only the males have the drooping, giant snouts.
The Amazonian Giant Fishing Spider
At almost 5 inches across, the Amazonian giant fishing spider is a mega predator for land and river prey. These spiders can even swim underwater to snag their next catch. It isn't just guppies that the spiders hunt, either.
No, that's not a mop. That's a dog underneath those wooly, matted dreadlocks. And they weren't bred to clean your floors, they actually developed their fur as a form of camouflage. As sheepherders, their distinctive fur helped the komondor resemble the flock to surprise unsuspecting wolves on the hunt.
There's a big, bulbous difference that separates the gharial from other gators. When males reach a decade in age, the bump behind their nose starts to grow. The bump attaches itself to a flap over the nostrils, so when it exhales, the flap buzzes.
Is it a cat? Is it a mongoose? Is it a long meerkat? The answer is pretty complicated. The fossa, native to Madagascar, has been difficult for scientists to categorize because it has so much in common with cats and mongooses.
The Mata Mata Turtle
These peculiar turtles are only found in the wetlands of the Amazon forest. Unlike all other turtles, the mata mata can't retreat its long neck into its shell. Their giant necks allow them to stretch their nostrils above water for air while their bodies stay underwater on the stream floor.
Shoebills are often referred to as the world's scariest birds. These native East Africans can grow 4 to 5 feet tall and can remain motionless for hours, staring at prey with their haunting, gold eyes. Their giant beak perches against their neck to support the weight.
The Panda Ant
Before digging into the peculiar panda ant, it's important to note that they aren't actually ants. They're technically wasps, but the females are wingless, which gives them their ant-like appearance. While the females lack wings, they're the only panda ants to pack their own stingers.
The Long-Wattled Umbrellabird
The male long-wattled umbrellabird has some very bizarre features. Aside from their black, bushy, Elvis Presley-like pompadours, they also have gargantuan wattles. At rest, the feathered, drooping wattles can hang longer than the total length of the bird's entire body.
The Hammer-Headed Bat
No, this is not photographic proof of the legendary Jersey Devil. The hammer-headed bat is one of the largest (and most evil-looking) bat species on the planet. Their bodies can reach close to 12 inches in length with wingspans reaching almost 40 inches!
The Goblin Shark
These demonic sharks stand out for their large, projectile snouts and extremely wide jaws. The combination makes for a very strange-looking shark. Scientists have yet to figure out why the shark has such a strange snout, but many believe it helps them poke for food in narrow areas.
The Long-Eared Jerboa
These desert rodents look like mice but photoshopped to have longer tails, feet and ears. The little rodents get around by jumping on their hind legs like little kangaroos. These back limbs are four times as long as their tiny forelimbs.
The Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese spider crab is no ordinary crab. They can grow to be over 12 feet long and weigh upwards of 44 pounds. Their bodies are only a foot-and-a-half in length, which means the majority of their length is in the legs.
These bright-eyed, lemur relatives are native to the island of Madagascar. Although they're categorized as primates, they have bizarre characteristics that separate them from their relatives. They have rodent-like teeth that never stop growing, and an especially long, thin, middle finger.
The Sea Pig
Their pink, plump bodies give them a pig-like appearance, but these 6-inch long ocean dwellers are actually sea cucumbers. They're found at the very bottom of the ocean floor, almost 4 miles under the surface. The walk around using 5 to 7 sets of tube-like feet.
The Saiga Antelope
This antelope subspecies has a snout like no other. The swollen snout of the saiga antelope is so heavy their nostrils face downwards like an elephant’s. These land mammals use their snouts for a heightened sense of smell and to collect warmer, wetter air.
These marine mollusks are the strangest of the cephalopods, and not just because they're so weird looking. Their camouflage capabilities are top-notch, but cuttlefish have extra tricks up their sleeves. When it comes to mating, they're the ultimate shapeshifters.
These little creatures are the only mammals that are completely covered in scales. The scales make up for 20% of their entire weight, while the rest of their body weighs the same as a domestic cat. But they keep themselves well-fed, chowing down on roughly 70 million insects a year.
The Leafy Sea Dragon
No, that's not floating seaweed. It's a leafy sea dragon. A close relative to the seahorse, these little sea dwellers get their name from their many appendages. Each branchy appendage helps camouflage the sea dragon from predators, giving them a plant-like appearance.
The Sphynx Cat
These strange cats may look hairless, but give them a pet and you’ll realize that’s not the case. The Sphynx cat is actually covered with a tiny layer of downy fuzz. They won’t feel like a typical cat when you pet them, but they will have a suede-like touch.
The Blue Dragon
These inch-long blue creatures are commonly referred to as sea swallows and blue angels, but they're actually just sea slugs. Their blue hue camouflages them from predators above while they float on the ocean's surface. Their undersides are silver so predators below can't see them while looking up.
Who knew they made antelopes so tiny? The dik-dik gets its name from the frail, squeaking sound it emits to alert other dik-diks and larger animals of danger. It's good to have a solid defense system, as these little critters have a lot of predators.
The Lilac Breasted Roller
These little birds stand out for their colorful plumage and disproportionately large heads. Both male and female rollers have around 8 colors on their coats. These colorful birds are smart hunters, and will hunt near brush fires to snag fleeing insects.
The Muslin Moth
No, they aren't furry little ghosts, they're Siberian muslin moths. Muslin moths are furry little insects found in the Lake Baikal area in Southern Siberia. While the males are typically a darker, brownish color, the females have a haunting white exterior.