Nature is full of amazing creatures, some of which you have to see to believe. From insects to sea life and beyond, this list is full of incredible creatures that almost don't seem real. The axolotl is sure to put a smile on your face!
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The pink fairy armadillo, also called the pichiciego, was first discovered in 1825 and is native to central Argentina. This little guy is the smallest species of armadillo and is typically found in the desert within sandy plains, sand dunes, and some grassland areas. While they do resemble other species of armadillo, the pink fairy armadillo is true to its name and possesses yellowish-white fur and a pinkish bony armor shell. They also have small eyes and primarily eat insects, snails, and some plants. The pink fairy armadillo is also nocturnal and solitary and has been listed as a threatened species. This is primarily due to farming and other larger predators.
The axolotl or Mexican salamander is often referred to as a Mexican walking fish. However, although it's sometimes referred to as a fish it is actually an amphibian. They are commonly found in lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City. A standout feature of axolotls is that unlike other amphibians they do not develop lungs or take to land, instead they remain in the water. Perhaps another even more important feature is that they are commonly studied due to their ability to regrow their limbs. In 2010, it was cited that they were near extinction primarily due to the development surrounding their home territory which caused pollution and an increase in invasive species. They are still listed as critically endangered, although scientists have undertaken major conservation efforts in recent years.
This bug-eyed creature is called an aye-aye. The aye-aye is a lemur that is native to Madagascar. This creature is known to be the world’s largest nocturnal primate. A standout feature about this animal is that it has a very strange way to find food. The aye-aye taps on trees in order to find it’s food of choice (namely, grubs) and then uses its rodent-like teeth to gnaw holes in the wood and create a hole. The aye-aye also has a long thin middle finger, that it then uses to insert into the hole and pulls out grubs to eat. The aye-aye is currently listed as an endangered species.
This majestic ball of fluff, believe it or not, is an animal called an Angora rabbit. This is actually a domesticated rabbit, and one of the oldest types of the domestic rabbit originating from Turkey. As you might notice, the rabbit possesses some luxurious hair for which it is commonly bred. During the mid-18th century, they were quite common pets for various members of the French royal family. There are even different breeds within the umbrella of Angora rabbits, that include English, French, Giant, and Satin, among others. These rabbits can live for up to twelve years, although a shorter lifespan is not uncommon if they are kept outdoors.
Australian Peacock Spider
The Australian Peacock Spider definitely lives up to its name! This beautiful insect is a type of jumping spider. Just like their avian namesake, the males of this species have an extension with white hairs and beautiful colors, which are used to attract their mates. An interesting fact about this species is that the males attract females by performing their very own version of a “dance” by raising their legs and waving them around. If the female is not interested she often attacks, kills and eats the male. She also may do this after mating, akin to black widows. On a happier note, they do not pose any threat to humans.
The Maned Wolf
This strangely-proportioned creature is the maned wolf. It is the largest of the canid (wolf) found in South America, including the countries of Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru. Its coloring is much closer to a fox but it is actually a wolf. This animal is often found in grasslands. It is thought to have been displaced in some countries due to land development. It is considered as near threatened and is also listed as “vulnerable” by the Brazilian government. One interesting feature of this animal is that unlike many other wolf species, the maned wolf does not form a pack.
White Loggerhead Turtle
This adorable sea turtle is named Nimbus and he is located at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Nimbus is a white loggerhead sea turtle, typically these turtles are actually brown in color. However, like other creatures around the world, Nimbus is albino which means he lacks melanin. For animals, this can be kind of a big deal because melanin protects the skin from the sun and also the eyes from having vision problems. These animals natural skin color also helps them to blend into their environment. Nimbus is only able to see partially and was found to be fully blind in one eye. Nimbus was found by volunteers on the beach while still in his shell. It’s lucky for him that he was found because he was also born with a cleft palate and he probably would not have survived.
This creature is no longer among us, but once swam in the Permian seas nearly 290 million years. Yet the helicoprion, is strange enough of a creature that it has to make the list! The helicoprion is a shark and one that definitely looks terrifying. Due to its strange teeth, some people have taken to calling it a buzzsaw mouth. The fossils recovered all demonstrate spirally arranged clusters of teeth which are referred to as tooth whorls. It is unknown exactly how they ate or how the rest of their body was shaped although that hasn’t stopped researchers from making educated guesses. Many scientists have assumed that it is likely they consumed soft-bodied animals. This creature certainly would have been terrifying to witness in person due to its looks alone!
This might be the cutest octopus ever! The grimpoteuthis, also referred to as the Dumbo octopus is known for its name. It gets the Dumbo part of its name from the Disney film because the octopus has fins that resemble large ears. These octopuses normally live from around three to five years and eat various creatures like crustaceans, bivalves, worms, and copepods. They are considered to be a deep-sea creature and are found at depths of 9,800 to 13,100 but some have even been found at an astounding 23,000 feet below sea level—which is deepest any known octopus has been found! They are considered to be a very rare species although they have been found in many different places around the world including Australia, Oregon, The Philippines and Martha’s Vineyard.
Is that a rabbit?! A squirrel?! No, it’s a Patagonian Mara. While this creature does resemble a jackrabbit, it is actually a large rodent. It does, however, act somewhat like a rabbit, and is also an herbivore. It is found only in Argentina. One interesting feature of this species is that it is monogamous. Although it does sometimes breed in “warrens” or groups of several pairs. This creature also prefers to live where there is a lot of shrub cover in order for it hide from other predators, however, they are also found in more desert-like areas as well. It is considered a near threatened species, primarily due to hunting.
Naked Mole Rat
The naked mole-rat is truly one of the strangest creatures on this list, which is saying a lot! The naked mole rat is a burrowing rodent and is also sometimes called a sand puppy. Although this creature is a mammal, it has adopted a number of strange traits including the only known mammalian thermoconformer, which means it can regulate its body temperature and is almost entirely cold-blooded. The mole rat also lacks pain sensitivity in its and also has low metabolic and respiratory rates which are probably directly related to its cold-blooded nature. It has also been studied quite a bit by researchers due to the fact that it shows remarkable resistance to cancer and oxygen deprivation.
The tardigrade is an extremophile which means it can live in extreme environments like boiling or freezing, toxic environments, and even radiation. They are often referred to as “water bears” and have been written about quite frequently in mainstream media as of late. The tardigrade is also a micro animal, meaning we cannot see it with our naked eye. They were first discovered by a German zoologist Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773. These creatures literally exist everywhere from the deep sea to mountaintops, to mud volcanos including in tropical rainforests and even Antarctica. As of now, they are basically the most resilient lifeform that we know about and can even go without food or water for more than 30 years.
The Irrawaddy dolphin resembles what a child’s drawing of a dolphin would look like in real life. The dolphin is of relatively small stature and appears to have a permanent smile on its round head. It also somewhat resembles a beluga whale. It is located in the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. While research still needs to be conducted, the population seems to be over 7,000 with the majority in Bangladesh. The population outside Bangladesh has been noted as critically endangered. Much of their population has dwindled due to the effects of human beings, including getting tangled in fishnets.
Talk about horns! The Ankole-Watusi is a species of cattle that is originally from central Africa but can now be found in America. Unsurprisingly, the animal is known for its massive horns! The horns are actually the largest circumference in any known cattle breed. While the color of the cattle very, they are typically reddish brown in appearance. The cattle were originally brought to a zoo Germany before finding their way to America when a herd was started In the 1960s. Interestingly, the cattle are actually said to be a cross between the Egyptian Longhorn cattle of Africa and Zebu Longhorn cattle originally from India.
If you have tropophobia, avert your eyes! The toad lives primarily in the forests and marshes of South America in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and other surrounding areas. It has no tongue or teeth. This creature is considered threatened primarily due to damage to its natural habitat. In the wild, it looks almost like a mottled brown leaf and appears to be flat. It also has broadly webbed feet with star-like appendages. The common Suriname toad is similar in appearance to a mottled brown leaf and is almost completely flat. Another interesting feature about this animal is that it has almost nonexistent eyes, no teeth, and no tongue. It also has a strange feature where it imbeds eggs on it’s back where it almost looks like a honeycomb. When the babies emerge from the eggs they are fully formed toads although they are very tiny.
The star-nosed mole is truly a bizarre looking creature. The mole is quite small and is actually located in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. It lives primarily in wet areas. A really interesting feature about this animal is that not only is it blind but it’s also the world’s fastest eater. Apparently, this little guy can eat an insect or worm in less than one second. The mole is able to acquire its food by pushing its head against the soil as fast as it can. Although the movement looks very strange, there are actually 100,000 nerve fibers sending information to the mole’s brain which is five times as many nerve sensors than a human has in their hand. The mole is also able to smell underwater!
The Bone-Eating Snot Flower
Osedax mucofloris roughly translates to “bone-eating snot flower worm”. This is a worm that eats through whale bones in order to get through the lipids. There are also other kinds of Osedax, all of which eat through bones. They have no mouth, gut or anus but instead, have bacteria on the worms’ roots. The “roots” or appendages are used to burrow into the bones. The bacteria is what allows them to break down the lipids in order to get nutrition. Another interesting feature in this truly strange animal is that the worms are exclusively female, with the males never developing pass microscopic size.
The lamprey is a creature that looks straight out of a horror movie, but it is indeed a real life thing, although it has likely inspired many creatures within the horror genre. The adult lamprey is known for its terrifying looking funnel-like sucking mouth. While there are a variety of lampreys, they are known for boring themselves into the flesh of other fish. They then suck the blood of the poor fish they have bored into. Talk about terrifying! In certain cultures, lampreys have been considered as a delicacy. In ancient Roman times and even at Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation, a pie was made of lampreys.
The fossa is a cat-like mammal found primarily in Madagascar. While it closely resembles a cat it more closely related to the mongoose family. It is on the smaller size and can get up to about 31 inches and 19 pounds. It also has semi-retractable claws and ankles that allow for it to climb and jump up and down trees. It is commonly found in forest areas. It is a meat eater and hunts at any time of the day. Some of the species it preys upon include rodents, lizards, and birds. The fossa has been listed as vulnerable and the main threat is due to the destruction of their habitat.
The blobfish has found itself the recipient of unlikely fame and even found himself into memes and political discourse. The blobfish is a deep sea creature found primarily off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. The creature is able to live in water with immense pressure because of it’s strange gelatinous flesh which has a density slightly less than water allowing it float. Although, the appearance we are used to seeing is due to decompression damage done when they are brought up to the surface. Blobfish were featured in various music and TV. The New York Daily News published a picture of a blobfish alongside Senator Ted Cruz and the fish was also voted World’s Ugliest Animal in September 2013.
At the Taigan zoo park, a zebra and donkey fell in love and the result was Zebroids! The zebra gave birth to this fella whose dad is a donkey. They named the baby Telegraph, and he has a head and body that resembles a donkey while his legs featured zebra stripes.
It's frowned upon to crossbreed at the zoo, but in nature, donkeys and zebras have mixed before. However, it's more common for the mother to be the donkey.
Tigons and Ligers, Oh My
These six-month-old cubs were bred from a male African lion and a tigon, which is a cross between a tiger and a lion. Raised at a Chinese zoo, their unique genetic make-up has led them to be called "litigons."
It's not easy for a tigon and a lion to reproduce, so these cubs are extra special. Their size and beautifully unique coats are quite amazing. Like tigers, they enjoy swimming and they get their social personalities from their lion side.
Blue Poison Dart Frog
These incredible frogs are poisonous, and their color lets their potential predators know it. They're found in the far north of Brazil and live between five to seven years. Their glands are filled with poisonous alkaloids that can paralyze or kill another creature.
They're very active and do not hesitate to warn and wrestle with any creature they might find threatening. Just like other frogs they start their lives as tadpoles.
Whale sharks are pretty amazing-looking! Unlike aggressive species of sharks, the whale shark eats by filter-feeding, like a whale. They're only found in tropical oceans and are estimated to live up to 70 years.
They are in fact, sharks, and got their name due to their whale-like size, the largest one seen spanning an incredible 41.5 feet. Whale sharks have over 300 rows of tiny teeth and their mouths take up the entire front of their body. These sharks are docile and even pull divers along for a ride on their fin.
Red Lesser Panda
This adorable tree climber is a Red Lesser Panda. Found in the Himalayas and southwestern China, they're distinguishable with their reddish-brown fur and fluffy ringed tail.
Around the size of a house cat, researchers were left scratching their heads when trying to classify the red panda. They're thought to be related to weasels and raccoons. Their strong claws allow them to scale trees and their thick fur coat keeps them warm in the snow.
This beautiful horse is called a Knabstrupper. They were first bred in Denmark, way back in 1671. They called them "the tiger horses" at the time. A very rare breed of horse, they feature white coats with black spots called the Leopard complex. They look similar to Appaloosa horses, but quite unique.
Their size is around 15.2 hands and they're still bred in places like Denmark, Norway, Switerzland, Italy, and Netherland.
This pig with sheep-like fur is called the Mangalica pig. These pigs were bred in the mid-19th century, crossbreeding two different Hungarian pigs. These pigs grow a thick, woolly coat and are tougher than other pig breeds in extreme temperatures. There's quite a few of them in Hungary, where around 60,000 piglets are born each year.
Many people love their meat, which tastes strong and juicy, and is paired with paprika and other spices.
At first glance, the Tanuki looks like something out of an animated movie. But believe it or not, the Tanuki is not the result of CGI. The Tanuki, also known as the Racoon Dog, is a canid indigenous to East Asia.
The Tanuki gets its name thanks to its resemblance to the raccoon, although they are not closely related at all! These cuties are great climbers and can usually be found scaling trees like nobody's business.
Isn't this little guy kinda cute? The snub-nosed monkey gets it name thanks to its unique facial features and their short stump noses. They live in the foothills of the Himalayas, which can be as much as 4,500 meters above sea level. With such high elevation, the snub-nosed monkey experiences about 280 days of frost each year along with significant snowfall.
No worries though — the snub-nosed monkey can handle it!
Southern Right Whale Dolphin
The southern right whale dolphin is a sight to behold. These gorgeous creatures are small and slender and live in the cool waters of the Southern Hemisphere. Southern right whale dolphins may have 'whale' in their name, but don't get confused — these cuties are dolphins.
Like other dolphins, they eat a diet heavy in fish, squid, and octopus. They are very graceful and are quick swimmers who tend to live in groups of up to 100!
Believe it or not, this thing is real! This is the Kiwa hirsuta, also known as the Yeti Crab, is a crustacean that was only discovered in 2005. The Yeti Crab is a decapod and makes its home in the South Pacific Ocean.
These guys are known for their noticeable silky blond setae, which resembled hair. The setae cover its legs and claws. Interestingly, the Yeo Crab's hairy pincers contain filamentous bacteria. When the creature emits it, the bacteria can detoxify poisonous minerals from the water.
The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher
With its large eyes and vibrant coloring, it's hard to believe the Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is real. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher makes its home in the forests and woodlands throughout the Amazon basin. These gorgeous birds can grow to be six inches in length and their compact size makes them quick and nimble.
Aside from their intense coloring, these birds are known for the large nests they build. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher will sometimes build nests more than six feet in length!
The Pacu Fish
Photo Credit: The_BlackTuna / Reddit
No, this isn't Photoshopped — the Pacu fish does, in fact, have a set of eerily human-like teeth. "Pacu" is a common name used to refer to a variety of omnivorous South African fish.
These fish are related to the piranha, although this pacu, in particular, doesn't have razor-sharp teeth. Instead, this specific fish has squarer, straighter teeth and a less severe underbite than others.
The red-lipped batfish looks like a child that got into their mother's makeup, don't you think? This little guy's coloring is all natural.
The red-lipped batfish is closely related to the rosy-lipped batfish, who also happen to have bright red lips. These species are found at depth of 10 to 250 feet and call the Pacific Ocean home.
The tufted deer gets its name thanks to a prominent tuft of hair on its forehead as well as its fang-like canines. This cutie is a close relative of the muntjac and lives throughout central China and northeastern Myanmar.
Unfortunately, due to overhunting and habitat loss, the tufted deer is considered near-threatened. Because they must live 4,500 meters above sea level to thrive, it makes them a hard animal to study.
The gerenuk looks like a cross between a deer and a giraffe — which isn't too far off! These beautiful creatures are also known as the giraffe gazelle and make their home in the Horn of Africa.
They have long, slender necks and limbs and grow up to 41 inches tall and weight up to 115 pounds. The gerenuk is not particularly social and prefers to stick in groups of two to six.
The baribusas, also known as deer-pigs, are part of the swine family. They are found primarily in Wallacea, specifically on the Indonesian islands of Sula, Buru, Togian, and Sulawesi. Baribusa are notable thanks to their large upper canines in males. The canines emerge vertically, penetrating through the skin and in front of their face.
The barisbusas' striking appearance has inspired scary masks in Indonesian culture. Often times, the animal is presented as a gift to those visiting the country.
The Sunda colugo is a flying lemur, although it is not a lemur and it does not fly! Instead, the Sunda colugo leaps among the trees. This cutie is arboreal and is only active at night. They spend their time feeding on soft plants, young leaves, soft shoots, flowers, and fruit.
The Sunda colugo is a skillful climber and feels most at home when navigating an intricate tree system. When they find themselves on the ground they are basically helpless!
The zebra duiker is a tiny antelope that lives primarily in Liberia, but occasionally along the Ivory Coast too. These graceful creatures have gold or red-brown coats topped with 12 to 16 distinctive stripes. Their stripes resemble that of a zebra which is where they get their name!
Zebra duikers are ruminants, which means they primarily eat fruit and seeds. They're equipped with a reinforced nasal bone which enables them to crack open certain fruits.
The gobi jerboa is a rodent found primarily in China and Mongolia. This cutie thrives in the temperate desert and grassland. The Gobi jerboa is equipped with a unique tail that allows to easily accelerate and gallop. This is especially helpful when escaping predators! Its long legs also help it hop around as these creatures don't scurry like other rodents, but instead, jump!