Some animals are blessed with beauty – the majestic Bengal tiger for instance, or the emperor penguin.
Others unfortunately are not.
Even Charles Darwin would be scratching his head after taking a look at these. How on earth did they evolve to look so….weird.
The rare aye-aye hails from Madagascar. It can be identified by its goggle-eyes, large bushy tail and alien-like fingers. Believe it or not, these creatures are related to apes and humans. Unfortunately for the aye-aye the native people believe they are an omen of bad luck and due to hunting and environmental pressure they are at high risk of extinction.
Named after the elephant Dumbo from the Disney film, this octopus is the deepest living species of its family. They hoover just above the seafloor at depths of around 13,000 feet. We think it looks more like a marine Moomin.
Remember the Dilophosaurus frilled-necked dinosaur that saw off the computer programmer Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park? Well here’s a real life one. The frill-necked lizard comes from northern Australia and you’ll be happy to know that unlike the film’s dinosaur it’s really small and doesn’t spit venom.
The ghost shark is actually only a distant relative of the shark family. They live in cold water depths below 8,000 feet. They are not terribly well suited as a marine creature as they’re pretty poor swimmers, flapping their fins like a bird to propel forward. Although, they are still here so they must be doing something right.
Very little is known about this odd looking shark. Few have ever been seen by humans and they are thought to be low in numbers. Their most unique feature is their jaw that protrudes out below their snout. Their dislike of sunlight has also given them the nickname vampire shark.
These marine creatures are masters of disguise. The thousands of spines and ability to change colour allow them to blend in with the surrounding seaweed and coral. They are voracious carnivores eating fish the same size as themselves. These solitary fish prefer their own company and only meet during mating season.
Unfortunately there are only around a thousand of these crocodilian creatures left in their Indian subcontinental home, although efforts to conserve them are ongoing. They are one of the largest species of crocodile reaching lengths of up to 21 feet. Their distinct elongated snout holds up to fifty razor-sharp teeth.
Leafy sea dragon
Closely related to the sea horse, these camouflaged marine creatures blend seamlessly into their seaweed surroundings making them almost impossible to see. Interestingly, like sea horses, it is the male who are the child bearers. They are endemic to eastern Australia.
Naked mole rat
Well we don’t have to tell you what this little thing looks like. They are hairless other than the small whiskers that help them to navigate in their subterranean tunnels. These rats can live up to 20 years, something that no other small rodent can do. Once born, they spend their entire lives looking after the rest of the colony and their queen.
Pink fairy armadillo
Although pink fairy armadillo is a fairly accurate name, pygmy armadillo would also suffice as they are tiny compared to other armadillo species, measuring in at around 10 centimetres. Although they are essentially sluggish above ground, they can burrow super-fast, particularly when threatened.
Although the red-lipped batfish is a fish, it doesn’t really act like one. It’s fins point downwards allowing them to sit on the seafloor and even appear to walk across it. They are found in the waters around the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The reason for the name should be obvious.
Star nosed mole
Perhaps the most odd looking creature on this list, the star nosed mole looks as though its eaten a grenade that’s subsequently gone off. Surrounding the nose are twenty-two tentacles, used to feel around whilst burrowing. Although it’s hard to tell by the photo, they are actually pretty small – the largest growing to around 20 centimetres. They are found in the United States and Canada.
Although tarsiers are very shy animals, their constant startled look is from their large eyes which they use at night. They are arboreal, meaning they live in the trees and they feed on insects and lizards. Sadly in captivity tarsiers can become stressed and have a tendency to commit suicide by banging their thin skull against objects.
Also called the thorny devil, this lizard’s spines are seriously sharp and an excellent way to deter predators. Native to the bush in Australia, these small dragon-like creatures can remarkably consume thousands of ants each day. When they cool down they become darker in colour.
Demonic tube-nosed bat
Looking like something from Star Wars, this small fruit bat’s distinctive tubular nostrils and small snout make them easily recognizable, as do the yellow spots on the ears and wings. They can be found feeding on fruit and amber in the forest of Papua New Guinea where they are endemic. Unfortunately, they are considered to have a high risk of extinction in the wild.
I think most people would agree that the viperfish is one seriously terrifying looking creature. Fortunately for us it prefers the deep sea at around 5,000 feet. It uses its fang-like teeth to skewer its prey. If all that’s not weird enough it also has a photophore, an organ that lights up to help it lure in other fish.
The Yeti crab was only discovered in 2005 near Easter Island. They do not have eyes, so it is thought that the thick hair on their arms are to feel their surroundings. The hair is covered in bacteria which is dinner when nothing else can be found. More recently another species of yeti crab has been discovered living in large numbers in the harsh waters near the Antarctica.