We have all heard the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but when it comes to these creatures there is no question in any beholder’s eye that they were not blessed with beauty and good looks. These creatures are so strange and bizarre looking that they alarm us and require us to take another long look at them. Like a bad accident that you can’t look away from, they demand our attention. Not all of these creatures pose a threat to people, but people certainly pose a threat to them. Sadly, a lot of them live in very specialized places and areas in the world where people are encroaching upon their lifestyle and today they have been placed on the endangered list. Even the ugliest most grotesque animals on the planet are in their own right very beautiful and quite amazing. These real-life creatures are a reminder for us that there are really terrifying things out there in our world right now. It is a very scary place to live today with things happening like pollution, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction sufficient enough to hurt them. These creature’s looks reflect the nightmarish times of today. Hopefully, they will survive and learn to thrive in these times like we humans need to do.
15. Star-Nosed Mole – It’s Not Such A Star
The Star-nosed mole lives in wet lowland areas and is nearly blind. Amazingly for a creature without great sight, it is astonishingly quick. So quick, in fact, that is is the world’s fastest eater. It can scarf down an insect or worm in a quarter of a second. It almost looks like it has an octopus head but it’s twenty-two little pink fleshy appendages called Eimer’s organs are used as sensory receptors to detect wave vibrations. It’s one of only two animals in the world that can smell underwater. The water shrew is the other one. According to National Geographic, it’s able to do this by sucking the air bubbles it blows out back into its nose.
14. Venezuelan Poodle Moth- The “Poodle” Part Doesn’t Make Us Love It More
Oh my gosh how much more bizarre could a creature be? Not much, but experts agree that the Venezuelan poodle moth most likely belongs to the moth family. The only existing photographs of the moth were taken in 2009 by Dr. Arthur Anker who was on vacation in Venezuela at the Gran Sabana National Park. The details in the photograph were not sufficient enough for scientists to determine if it is actually a member of the moth family or perhaps a new species. Fact is, it’s not a fake creature like the chupacabra or jackalope, it is very real. Now if only we can find it again and have the experts place where it belongs on the tree of life.
13. Aye-Aye (AYE)
The Aye-aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. Yup, even though they don’t look it, the Aye-ayes are primates which means they are related to apes, chimpanzees and humans. They can only be found off the south-east coast of Africa on the island of Madagascar. With perpetually growing rodent-like teeth and a special middle finger that is very thin, the aye-aye gnaws holes in wood and inserts it finger into the hole to extract grubs. They are almost in the brink of extinction because the local people used to believe it was bad luck to see one. Sadly, today they are Madagascar’s most endangered animal.
12. Marine Hatchetfish – OMG Those Teeth!
Do not confuse the strange Marine Hatchetfish with the hatchetfish you commonly see in home aquariums. This bizarre creature lives deep below the ocean’s surface around 660 to 3300 feet. With its large, tubular eyes that point upwards, this predator can see its dinner from the ocean floor. Its eyes are incredibly sensitive and have adapted to the low light conditions found at such depths. Like the firefly, they are bioluminescent and can create their own light. By being able to adjust the level of light below them to match the light coming from the surface, they are essentially invisible from any other predators.
11. Gharial – Puts The Movie “Saw” To Shame
With an estimated population of fewer than 235 left in the wild, this fish-eating crocodile is found in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Loss of habitat from people manipulating the flow of rivers which cause areas to dry out, hunting them for traditional medicine, and getting tangled up in fishing nets are things that have caused the gharials to be placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a critically endangered animal. When it comes to evaluating the conservation status of animals and plant species, the IUCN Red List is considered one of the most comprehensive and widely recognized.
10. Coconut Crab – Sounds Delicious
There are so many interesting things about this colossal hermit crab that it almost outweighs its disturbing habits and its odd appearance. It eats coconuts of course, but this is a relatively newly evolved skill unique to modern coconut crabs. This is a good thing because it helps them eat each other less. Yup, along with decaying rats, animals and other crab species, they even eat their own kind. Not to mention they never let a good discarded meal go to waste. Molting takes them about a month and when they’re done they wolf down their own exoskeleton. They have an amazing sense of smell and are very antisocial so beyond eating each other or mating they live alone.
9. Tube-Nosed Bat It Is, Pretty It is Not
Not discovered until 2009 the Tube-Nosed fruit bat was found in Papua New Guinea during a scientific expedition through the Muller and Makanai mountain ranges. Kind of looking a bit Yoda-like, this bat’s weird nose allows it to continue to breathe while its face is stuffed up inside a delectable fruit. They typically live in forested areas near the water but human activities have severely compromised their ecosystems. It was thought that the tube-nosed fruit bat required high-quality forests to exist but sadly they have been forced to adapt to living in degraded environments. Today they are listed as an endangered species.
8. Naked Mole Rat – Sounds Like A Good Insult
Neither mole or rat or totally hairless, these creatures are related more closely to guinea pigs and porcupines. Native to Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, mole rats are like ants in that they are eusocial (they live in a hierarchy where there is a queen mole rat, workers and soldier mole rats). They live most of their life underground and in darkness but they are not blind. Colonies can consist of 20-300 naked mole rats and their territory can be as large as 6 football fields. They can live as long as 30-years and appear to be disease resistant. Worker mole rats spend their time digging, soldiers defend the colony from predators, and the queen is just a female that has fought her way to the throne.
7. Goblin Sharks are Ghoulish
Living in deep, dark icy oceans this is the main reason Goblin sharks are rarely seen. Below the ocean surface between 330 and 4, 300 feet this deep-sea habitat provides them protection from being accidentally captured in fishermen’s nets or lines. The Goblin Shark looks pink or even red and that’s because its blood vessels show through its skin. It’s clumsy and slow so it just waits for its prey to pass by and then scoops it up with its accordion jaw that expands forward. As they sweep their snout over the seafloor to find food, their nose is filled with electroreceptors that pick up tiny electrical fields from the prey.
6. (Blah Blah) Blobfish
The endangered and rare deep sea Blobfish lives off the Australian and Tasmanian coasts. Living at depths of 182 – 365 feet, the Blobfish has adapted to the great and continuous ocean pressure by having a body structure that is mostly a gelatinous mass which lacks bones and muscles. As a deep sea predator, they ambush their prey and forage on other invertebrates. Sea crabs, shellfish, mollusks and urchins are on the menu for the Blobfish. Today they are facing near extinction due to bottom trawling and deep-sea fishing. Even though they are not edible, they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time when they are captured with the other marketable invertebrates and fish.
5. Pink Fairy Armadillo Sounds So Cute But NOT
Found only in the sandy plains, dunes and grasslands of Central Argentina, the Pink Fairy Armadillo is the smallest armadillo of them all. Unlike all other armadillos, the Pink Fairy’s dorsal shell is completely separate from its body and is held in place only by a thin membrane that runs along the spine. Its color comes from the blood vessels that show through its shell. With such a restrictive geographic range they are unable to survive outside of their natural habitat for long so they can’t be kept as pets. They live a solitary life and are mostly threatened by human farming activities, cats and dogs.
4. Lamprey – OMG No Words For How Scary This Guy Is
This primitive, eel-like, parasitic fish is straight out of what nightmares are made of. Jawless with large red eyes and a single nostril sticking out from the top of their head, the Sea lamprey is quite disturbing. It spends some of its life in the Atlantic Ocean and then it goes to the fresh waters of the Connecticut River. It has expanded its habitat to Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes by maneuvering through man-made canals. Their large mouths are designed for sucking blood and like a vacuum cleaner they attach themselves to their prey and cut into them with their rasping tongue and sharp teeth.
3. Cantor’s Giant Soft Shelled Turtle Is Not So Soft On The Eyes
Just as odd as this turtle’s looks are is the fact that it spends 95% of its life motionless and buried under the ground in slow-moving rivers with only its mouth and eyes protruding out from below. It can hold its breath for a very long time which allows it to only have to surface two times a day to take a breath. While it hides under the ground, it is able to quickly attack passing crustaceans and fish. It is the world’s largest softshell turtle and can be found throughout southeast Asia. Sadly, again we have another endangered animal because they are hunted for their meat.
2. Jerboa – And not It’s Not A Jackalope
This jumping rodent is found in both cold and hot deserts like the Gobi and Sahara Deserts throughout Northern Africa and Asia. It has learned to survive in the harsh desert environments with its keen sense of smell and is excellent hearing ability. Since their diet consists mostly of plants they may never need to drink water in their lifetime, which is typically about two to three years. These elusive and shy animals usually live alone in burrows and hibernate during the winter months. When these creatures are being chased by predators like owls, foxes and jackals, they are able to hop almost ten feet high to escape the danger.
1. Atretochoana – Where Do We Even Start
It’s not a snake but instead scientists today believe this unique creature is more closely related to frogs and salamanders. The Atretochoana was discovered in the Brazilian rainforest in the late 1800’s by Sir Graham Hales. While he was on an expedition he managed to procure two specimens which were misclassified until recently. They were rediscovered in 2011 when six of them were found in a drained hydroelectric dam at the bottom of the Madeira river in Rondonia in Brazil. Today they are classified as caecilians which are limbless, serpentine amphibians and it is also the only known caecilian without lungs.
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