This planet is pretty jam-packed full of weird, wonderful and sometimes freakin’ bizarre things…
Having said that, it’s often easy to forget that despite the fact that we, the human race, are the superior species (apparently)… there’s a lot we don’t actually know about the world we live in.
Take the Internet for example, up until 1990 the world-wide-web didn’t even exist. It’s crazy to think about really, what would you do without being able to interact with Aunty Acid every day? The mind boggles.
The same theory extends to animals too. Each and every year new species are being discovered and just when we think we’re getting a grasp on how many creatures make up the animal kingdom… we find proof of tonnes more.
Check out this list of the strangest and most beautiful lesser-known species hidden away in some of the farthest corners of the globe!
1. Thorny Devil
Not the kind of lizard you want to pick a fight with, despite its tiny size! This guy’s got some clever tricks up its sleeve too. For example, it has two heads (only one is real) just to make a predators job that little bit harder.
Plus, we’ve got to address the fact that its entire body is covered in sharp spikes for protection. Next time you happen to find yourself taking a stroll through the Australian deserts… maybe wear heavily padded shoes just in case.
2. Hooded Seal
I know what you’re thinking; this has got to be some sort of weird scientific experiment in which they’ve cross-bred a seal and a leopard. Nope. You can, in fact, find this marine mammal around the North Atlantic ocean.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the odd-looking blob on top of its head. This is actually a sort of bladder which they can voluntarily inflate to both attract potential female suitors and scare away predators. Neat!
3. Long Eared Jerboa
I had to double-take with this one as at first, it looked like a giant moth. But, this little cutie pie is actually part of the rodent family. You can find the species around the likes of Mongolia and China.
Their giant ears are a third longer than the size of their heads and they have long thin tails which are twice as long as their entire bodies. So, you could say they’re slightly disproportioned… But, despite their tiny size, they can jump upwards of nearly 9 feet (taller than most humans)!
4. Dumbo Octopus
Another one you look at and just think “awww”. Obviously named after Dumbo the Elephant from the classic Disney film, any guesses as to why?
Now, if you were thinking this little guy probably resides in the ocean somewhere, you’d be right. I mean cmon… it’s an octopus.
Interestingly, this particular species are incredibly small, usually no more than 8 inches in length and if you were desperate to see one in person, you’d need to make your way to the coast of California, New Zealand or the Philippines. Nice excuse for a holiday…
5. Frill-Necked Lizard
This guy looks like something straight out of Jurassic Park! Whilst Dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago, this particular type of lizard averages at over 2.5 feet in size, so it’d still be pretty freakin’ scary to come face to face with one. It could do with a name to suit that frightening persona though. Frill-Necked? Doesn’t exactly send shivers down my spine.
If you’re the daring type though, head over to Australia or New Guinea and say hello.
6. Australian Peacock Spider
No guesses as to where this colorful arachnid comes from. It has to be said that, even if like me you’re not a massive fan of eight-legged creepy crawlies, this guy’s pretty spectacular (and not all that scary). Part of the reason for that is the mesmerizing patterns found on the flaps of the male spiders, who display them proudly when trying to catch the attention of a female.
Another reason could be that both sexes reach about 5mm in length, so forget giant terrifying tarantula and think tiny little beauty instead.
7. Bergamasco Shepherd
Picture a dog belonging to Bob Marley… does it look something like this? This pooch’s ancestry can be traced back to the Italian Alps and Bergamo and was originally used as a herding dog. Nowadays, you can find them dotted across the globe.
It’s unique coat which becomes matted to form natural dreadlocks is thanks to the fact that there are three different types of hair that grow on its body, that become intertwined. Making the Bergamasco the most chilled-looking scruff on the planet.
And possibly the most graceful…
8. Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Now this one definitely is a moth, I checked. It’s not difficult to see why it’s named poodle either. Found specifically in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela, this bundle of fluffiness looks like the kind of moth you want to give a cuddle to and usher into your home rather than out of it.
That’s if you even realise it’s real and not a soft play toy.
9. Angora Rabbit
Keeping with the theme of fluffy cuteness, check this ball of candy floss out! The distinctive air length of the Angora Rabbit gives them the appearance of a giant pillow, but I must warn you, lying on them may lead to squishing.
If you fancy having one of these domestic creatures for yourself, you’ll need to travel to the region of Ankara in Turkey.
I can’t make my mind up if this little tree-hopper is adorable or frightening. Look at those eyes, they look like they’ve seen things, terrible things. Whilst their cuteness is questionable, their unique athletic abilities are not. They’re pretty handy when it comes to getting around, leaping from tree to tree.
Found in the islands deep in South East Asia, they’re capable of catching birds mid-flight and you’d be hard pushed to find a predator that could catch one up in the heights of the rainforest.
Ok, let’s move on, I feel as if it’s staring into my very soul.
11. Uakari Monkey
No, someone’s not shaved this poor guys head, they just happen to have this let’s say quirky appearance naturally.
You can typically find this particular species of monkey in tropical rainforests across Southeast America. And, as for the face, the redder the better when it comes to the ladies…
12. Star-Nosed Mole
So, it’s nose is on the more noticeable side. But, it’s what’s on the inside that counts and I’m sure these burrowing creatures have the absolute best personalities…
Found in the northeast of the US, the Star-Nosed Mole is actually incredibly efficient at making its way around the underground thanks to the sensitive feelers sprouting out of its face. Function over fashion and all that…
13. Aye Aye
After you’ve got over the fact that these guys eyes will haunt your dreams for eternity, you might be interested to know that the Aye Aye calls only one place home. The Madagascan rainforests of course!
It must be freakin’ exhausting constantly looking like you’re in a state of shock like that all of the time. Reminds me of when you look in the mirror for the first time at the salon after the hairdresser has butchered your scalp. Looking at this one’s hairstyle, that might just be the cause.
And the winner for the strangest looking creature on this list is…
What’s even stranger is the fact that you’re unlikely to ever actually see one. That’s because the Tardigrade is a micro-animal, first discovered in the waters of Japan and only measures in at a whopping 0.5mm!
If we delve deeper, we find that they’ve got eight legs, tiny little claws and are capable of withstanding extremely punishing conditions. So whilst they may look like little marshmallows, they’re determined, little survivors.
15. Red-Lipped Batfish
“What should we call it?”… “I don’t know, it looks like a bat with lipstick on possibly on its way out for the night, but it’s a fish” … “I’ve got it!”
This grumpy-looing aquatic creature isn’t the best swimmer, so it uses it’s specially adapted pectoral fins to crawl along the seabed, making it look even more like a bat than it already does. The Galapagos Islands and Peru are where you’ll find them… if you really wanted to.
So there you have it! Ever seen any of these odd-looking creatures before?
Let me know in the comments!