Planet Earth is home to more than one million different species. We are all familiar with dogs, cats, birds and bees but have you heard of fish that change gender or crabs that climb trees? The animals in this list are truly out of this world and will not fail to blow your mind. Here are 10 bizarre animals you ought to know about:
10. The Saiga Antelope
This animal’s long, saggy nose that hangs below its mouth gives it an incredibly distinguished appearance when compared to other members of the antelope family. It is thought that the unusual design of their nose facilitates breathing by cooling hot air during summer months and warming cold air during winter months. Saiga antelopes are typically found in desert grassland regions of Asia and follow seasonal migration patterns.
During migration, saiga antelopes come together in herds of thousands! During mating season, which takes place in early winter, male saiga antelopes summon a group of up to 30 females which they keep as a kind of harem. They feed on a variety of vegetation including grasses, shrubs and bushes. If any other male comes about, they will fight in a vicious battle to the death. Almost 90% of adult males are killed during this time.
9. The Giant Coconut Crab
Meet the largest arthropod on Earth! These incredible creatures measure up to a meter in length and weigh almost 4 kilograms. They grow continuously throughout their lifespan and can live to be 30-60 years of age. Coconut crabs are found on small, tropical islands situated in the Indian and Pacific ocean.
The Crab is among the most bizarre animals on our planet and it lives in underground burrows covered with coconut husks. Although they spend most of their time on the ground, these crabs are capable of climbing palm trees that stand 33 feet tall. While on the tree, they break open coconuts with their massive claws, and fall to the ground. They can withstand falls from heights of 15 feet without sustaining any damage. Coconut crabs eat a variety of fruits, including coconuts, but also eat other small crabs and dead animals they encounter along the beach. Although resilient creatures on land, Coconut crabs will die within just one hour if they are left in water.
8. The Shoebill Bird
This magnificent prehistoric looking animal can be found among African swamps from Southern Sudan to Northern Zambia. A Shoebill bird is among the most bizarre animals on our planet and can grow up to 5 feet tall with a maximum wingspan of 8 feet! Its razor sharp beak can be up to 24 centimeters in length. This massive beak is ideal for catching fish, frogs, turtles and baby crocodiles.
This bird is solitary and only interacts with others during mating season and the raising of young. It spends most of its life standing silent and alone by the water waiting for prey to appear. Once it catches sight of its prey, the shoebill breaks free of its motionless stature and falls forward to thrust its beak into the body of its victim. Since it falls with so much force, the shoebill often loses its balance and collapses into the swamp. It can take over ten minutes for the shoebill to untangle itself from the underwater greenery and stand up again.
7. The Leafy Sea Dragon
This camouflage master is extremely well disguised by its leaf-like green and gold projections as it floats through the seaweed-filled ocean waters. In contrast to most species, it is a male seadragon that carries babies! A female will unload as many as 200 eggs into the male’s pouch, where they remain for a period of about eight weeks before hatching. This creature is one of the most bizarre animals o Earth and its stomach-less and toothless and feeds solely on mysidopsis shrimp and plankton.
It is only found in the Southern region of Australia and requires cold water at temperatures from 10-12° C. A seadragon propels itself with two translucent fins; one on the back of its neck and one that lies close to its tail. Although a seadragon remains floating in a central area for most of its life, it is capable of swimming at speeds of 150 metres per hour. Unfortunately, the leafy seadragon is endangered due to the accumulation of water pollution and the mass collection for aquariums.
6. The Goblin Shark
This giant-nosed prehistoric shark is unlike any of its kind and is easily counted among the most bizarre animals you need to see. Goblin sharks are rarely sighted as they live in the depths of the ocean (300-4000 ft below sea level) so not much is known about this mysterious beast. A goblin shark can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh more than 450 pounds. It has the remarkable ability to extend its jaw to the size of its snout which is quite useful for catching prey. Its front teeth are sharp and thin, for grasping and tearing flesh, while its back teeth are flat and wide, for crushing hard shells and bones.
A goblin shark’s diet consists of deep sea fish, squid and octopus. Why the goblin shark has such a long and disproportionate nose, we do not know for sure, but we do know that its nose contains many sensory pores that detect electric currents. These electrical currents are used by the shark to interpret its surroundings, as it is very dark and difficult to see prey in the depths of the ocean.
5. The Panda Ant
Also known as ‘Euspinolia Militaris’, these “ants” are actually an endangered species of wasps. They were discovered in 1938 in the coastal regions of Chile and have not been found anywhere else in the world so far. They lay more than 2000 eggs annually but only a fraction is able to survive. Due to their unique black-and-white pattern, panda ants stand out stand out to predators making them an easy target. When they are fully grown, panda ant’s measure up to 8 millimeters long and can live to be two years old.
This is miraculous considering the average life span of most wasps is under 12 months. The sexual dimorphism in the panda ant is so extreme that males and females are frequently mistaken for members of different species! Males are nocturnal while females are diurnal. Females have wings while males do not. Though small in size, their sting is quite powerful. Panda ants have been able to take down animals larger than cows with just a few stings!
4. The Parrotfish
This vibrant and colorful creature can range anywhere from 1 to 4 feet in length and live for an average of 7 years. Remarkably, a Parrotfish can change its gender several times in its life! It is also capable of changing its patterns and colors as it matures. This makes classifying Parrotfish very difficult for scientists. Counted as one of the most bizarre animals ever, Parrotfish can be found in tropical oceans worldwide. Its diet mainly consists of algae which it tears apart from coral reefs. The algae is scraped up with its front teeth, which are fused together and resemble a parrot beak (hence its name), and the algae is proceeded to be chewed by another pair of grinding teeth, which are located in the throat of the Parrotfish.
Every night, the Parrotfish secretes mucous from the top of its head to produce a cocoon-like structure that wraps around itself. It is believed that this mucous blanket is designed to hide the scent of the Parrotfish from its predators as it sleeps.
3. The Planthopper Nymph
Before reaching adulthood, a young Planthopper, also called a Planthopper nymph, will display colorful, fiber-optic like threads from its behind. The Planthopper nymph is quiet rightly among them most bizarre animals. These fabulous fibers, composed of a waxy substance excreted from the Planthopper’s abdomen, also help the nymph glide as it hops from leaf to leaf. They also protect the young Planthopper from predators by making itself appear too beautiful to be edible! These babies move with quick, abrupt hops to get from leaf to leaf. They are found in rain-forests all over the world. However, because these insects are so titty bitty, not much larger than a particle of dust, they are difficult for us to find and observe.
2. The Glaucus Atlanticus (Blue Glaucus)
Unfortunately, this creature is not a real-life Pokemon. It is however a poisonous sea slug that spends most of its lifetime floating upside down in the ocean. It is able to float by swallowing a large bubble of air which it stores in a specialized sac in its stomach. With the help of a muscular foot, it is able to withstand the surface tension of the ocean. Although sittings are rare, it can be found swimming in the waters surrounding Australia and South Africa.
A Glaucus Atlanticus is capable of killing animals several times larger than itself. The Blue Glaucus, being immune to most toxins, is able to collect the venom of Portuguese man o’ wars, from their tentacles that grow to 30 feet in length. The Blue Glaucus stores this potent poison from Portuguese man o’ wars in its wing-like arms until it comes across its next victim.
1. The Blob Fish
In contrast to most species of fish, the Blob fish, also called Psychrolutes Marcidus, does not have a skeleton, muscles or swim bladder. Instead, it is composed of slimy, jelly-like flesh. Because this jelly-like substance is less dense than water, the Blob fish can naturally hover above the ocean floor without expending any effort! They can be found 3000-4000 feet under the seas of New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. When it is under water, the high pressure atmosphere of the depths of the ocean keep the gelatinous flesh intact, and the Blob fish looks more like a fish and less like a blob of slime. When it is out of the water, the extreme decrease in pressure causes Psychrolutes Marcidus to lose its form and die after a very short period of time. No Blob fish has ever been caught alive because of this reason.
10 Bizarre Animals
- The Blob Fish
- The Glaucus Atlanticus (Blue Glaucus)
- The Planthopper Nymph
- The Parrotfish
- The Panda Ant
- The Goblin Shark
- The Leafy Sea Dragon
- The Shoebill Bird
- The Giant Coconut Crab
- The Saiga Antelope