When Sherlock Holmes creator, Arthur Conan Doyle said, “Life is infinitely stranger than anything the mind could invent”, he probably had an anomalous creature in mind. For most of us, our knowledge of the different kinds of wildlife that inhabit the earth is quite limited. Most of us are familiar with a wolf or a lion or an elephant, but did you know that there are approximately 1,367,555 species of fauna that are not insects? Out of those, most of them are unknown to us, and even scientists are doing their best to closely study each one of them. There are some that have recently been discovered and have left everyone in awe. Be it their appearances, their ways of living, their diet or even the way they reproduce, such animals remain unearthed wonders of this world. Since the atypical creations of nature often go unnoticed, it is a good idea to give them their due respect every now and then. To do this, from the Aye-aye to the Dumbo Octopus to the Pink Fairy Armadillo, we have compiled a list of 22 strange & weird animals you probably didn’t know exist.
1. Red-Lipped Batfish
Residing in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, red-lipped batfish aren’t as great swimmers as other water animals. In fact, their fins are used to walk around on the sea bed. As they grow, their dorsal fins take the form of a spine-like protrusion which helps them attract preys. Related to the rosy-lipped batfish of Costa Rica, they look like they colored their lips red.
2. Japanese Spider Crab
At first glance you might run for your life when you see the Japanese spider crab. Known to be the largest arthropod, they grow as large as 12 feet wide and weigh as much as 42 pounds. Despite their dangerous claws, they are occasionally hunted down for food, causing serious issues with the conservation of the species.
3. Glaucus Atlanticus
These pretty little creatures are unlikely examples of slugs. The glaucus Atlanticus floats in water upside down while preying on their food. They also have the ability to store toxins released by other animals, and use them later in a conflicting situation.
A kind of lemur found in Madagascar, the aye-aye behaves like woodpecker. It taps on the trees and then makes holes to scourge for tiny preys such as insects.
5. Goblin Shark
Sharks are one of the most feared creatures ever, and this particular species can grow to almost 13 feet in length. Their lineage dates back to more 125 million years ago, and hence they are also called a “living fossil”. They prefer staying close to the sea bed while they hunt for food, which primarily consists of the blackbelly rosefish and small crustaceans.
6. Cantor’s Giant Soft Shelled Turtle
Turtles are adorable looking creatures no doubt, but the species in question surpasses all other members of their family. Found in Asia, they can grow as large as six feet in length and look as if their shells are made of flesh.
7. Dumbo Octopus
The dumbo octopus is a cute sea creature that gets its name from its delightful floppy fins which look like ears. Their tiny tentacles lend them an endearing appearance that would make you want to cuddle them if you could.
8. Tufted Deer
We’ve all heard of vampire bats, but did you ever know about a deer that looks like the legendary creature? Strange, yet beautiful, the tufted deer has small fangs emerging from its upper jaw and devil-like horns on its head. It is indeed one of those weird animals you probably didn’t know exist.
9. Giant Isopod
The Giant Isopod is huge crustacean found abundantly in the deep waters of the Indian and Atlantic oceans. These mammoth creatures look very familiar to bugs such as the woodlouse. They are a very rare catch and on a seldom occasion they might be found in public aquariums of Japan and America.
10. Star-Nosed Mole
The star-nosed mole is a creepy yet fascinating little animal living mainly in the United States and Canada. The strange nose is used to feel the regions around the burrow it digs. Containing nerve cells, the star nose has the ability to detect seismic waves.
11. Saiga Antelope
The Saiga antelope has been declared a critically endangered animal and can be found in limited numbers in Kazakhstan and Russia. This gorgeous beast has an unusual, large nose which helps them filter dust and keep their bodies warm during the winters.
12. Maned Wolf
The maned wolf is a very rare breed of canines that is considered to be the tallest of all similar wild animals. Resembling a fox as well as a wolf, it is neither of the two. It is the only member of the genus Chrysocyon (golden dog).
13. Blob Fish
The blob fish literally looks like a big ball and is found mainly in New Zealand and Australia. In a bid to adapt to its surrounding, this species of fish has evolved into what appears to be a gooey heap of flesh. Since it has a lower density than water, the blob fish can float easily near the surface of the sea.
14. Pink Fairy Armadillo
A species native to Argentina, the pink fairy armadillo is a weird critter that digs tunnels in the deserts and preys on smaller insects. Though their conservation status is still undetermined, it is believed they are in danger, owing to their limited numbers.
The gerenuk is slender, exotic looking animal that resembles a deer in general. However, what makes it stand out is its neck that is similar to that of a giraffe. In fact it has been nicknamed, “the giraffe-necked antelope” and for a good reason. They can reach higher than other animals in the same genus, standing straight on their hind legs and elongating their necks.
The markings on the body of an okapi might bear close resemblance to that of zebras, but it is the giraffe family that they actually belong to. These strange animals like to sleep during the night, while they search for food in the day. The females slightly differ from the males in their appearance. Found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, they mainly feed on grass, fungi, fruits and leaves.
17. Panda Ant
Wingless female panda ants, belonging to the Mutillidae genus, are in fact wasps and not otherwise. Predominantly sighted in Chile, these wasps have stings that hurt a lot and thus have earned themselves the name cow killer. The color of the hair on their bodies resembles the black and white markings on pandas.
18. Hummingbird Hawk-Moth
Though it’s a moth, it acts, feeds and looks like a hummingbird, hence earning its name. The hummingbird hawk-moth not only feeds on flowers and produces humming sounds while flapping its wings, but also are excellent when it comes to identifying colors.
19. Pacu Fish
The pacu fish is closely related to the dangerous piranha, except that their teeth are completely different. As if their cousins weren’t bizarre enough, the pacu fish is weirder owing to their teeth which bear an eerie resemblance to that of human beings. Though aggressive in nature, if domesticated from a young age, they can make good pets. In fishing villages of South America, they are popularly called “ball cutters”, for whacky reasons such as they might bite off people’s testicles!
20. Penis Snake
Well, the name itself suggests how this critter looks. The penis snake is a rare example of the species Atretochoana eiselti. This amphibian lacks eyes and is the proud owner of a flat head that is broader than its body, lending it the appearance of genitals.
21. Mantis Shrimp
Though most people might never have heard of or seen the mantis shrimp, it is quite a common sea beast found in tropical waters. Not much is known about them except for the fact that they like to stay hidden in the deep waters, and prey on smaller animals. This is probably why they are more commonly known as “thumb splitters”, “sea locusts” and “prawn killers”.
If I tell you that the babirusa is also known as the pig-deer, it might give you a vague idea of how it looks. It does resemble a boar, but the babirusa has multiple tusks. They are found in islands such as Buru, Sulawesi, Sula and Togian, all in Indonesia. Scientists claim that the tusk is the most unique feature of this beast. If it does not keep grinding its tusks, they might continue to grow till they pierce the animal’s head.