You may be a well traveled individual and perhaps even somewhat of a globetrotter. You may be a wildlife enthusiast or study animal species in your spare time. However, chances are
10. Star-Nosed Mole
No, we aren’t kidding; there is such an animal. The star-nosed mole, found in the wetlands of Eastern Canada and Northeastern United States, is aptly named for it pointy tentacle-like snout. Its nose and appendages are there for the purpose of giving the mole the sensation of touch. It has more than 25,000 sensory receptive glands located in the small area of its nose. This little creature’s diet consists mostly of small invertebrates and fish, worms and insects. It doesn’t need to worry about where its next meal will come from as these moles are excellent swimmers and can easily overtake its prey
9. Goblin Shark
This deep sea shark is quite a rare find. It normally grows to be approximately twice the length of an average human adult male. This shark is rare in that it can trace its lineage back to prehistoric times. Its scary features are most notable, a protruding jaw and long flat nose combined with unusually long and pin-like teeth. This shark is a deepwater creature and has been spotted in three of the world’s oceans, typically at depths of 1,000-3,000 ft. Physiological studies suggest that the Goblin Shark is sluggish and somewhat sedentary in its lifestyle, feeding on sea life that is typically easy prey such as crustaceans.
Another deep sea creature to make our list of most unusual looking animals is the Blobfish. After one look at its blubbery and pale flesh it becomes readily apparent how it got its name. This fish is found off the coast of Australia and New Zealand, normally at depths of roughly 2,000 – 4000 ft. It is mostly a gelatinous mass of fat and lacks any significant muscle. The Blobfish is not worried, however, as its primary means of feeding itself is to simply open up wide and allow anything edible to flow in as it leisurely strolls across the ocean depths. Unfortunately, for it though, Blobfish often get caught up in the deep water trawling nets of ocean faring fishing vessels. Scientists are very close to declaring these pudgy fish an endangered species as a result.
7. Sea Lamprey
These eel-like fish are parasitic in nature. Their vampire qualities usually make most cringe at the sight of one. A Lamprey will attach its suction cup mouth to the side of another fish and allow its many fine teeth to slowly grind away the scales and then penetrate the flesh. A lamprey will latch on and typically stay latched until its tongue has drained the blood from its host. In North America, the Sea Lamprey has taken up residence in the Great Lakes and is considered an invasive species. Its favorite victim is the freshwater perch. Perhaps surprising to some, the lamprey has been considered an upscale culinary treat, if not a delicacy, to most of the European continent as well as elsewhere. Queen Elizabeth II, was treated to lamprey pie during her coronation ceremony in 1953. As the saying goes, to each his own.
6. Naked Mole Rat
This pale and creepy looking little mole is native to eastern Africa. It has also been referred to as Sand Puppy and Desert Mole Rat. It burrows into the earth and builds itself a subterranean labyrinth that it calls home. This mole is extremely robust and capable of sustaining itself even in the harshest of environmental conditions. This is attributed to an unusual ability to equalize its own body temperature with that of its surroundings. Imagine if humans could do the same thing; we wouldn’t need winter coats anymore in those blistering cold northern climates. There would be little debate in saying this sun-deprived critter is undoubtedly one of the most unusual looking animals underfoot.
5. Vampire Deer
This aptly named deer may look cute and cuddly at first glance, however, beware, this fawn packs a nasty bite. The Vampire Deer or more correctly, Musk and Water Deer, are two deer species possessing unusually long canine teeth, or tusks. A water deer is smaller in stature than its bigger cousin the musk deer. These deer are native to China and Korea but have been imported to various other places around the world. Despite the scary thought of being faced down by a pair of these ghastly teeth, these deer are herbivores. Their diet mostly consists of leaves, grass and flowers. So you’re probably safe.
4. Maned Wolf
The Maned Wolf is the largest carnivorous canidae of South America. Its odd looking legs are strikingly long and uncharacteristic of wolves. It’s almost deer or horse-like in appearance. You may imagine that this beast is a rather quick sprinter, with such a long stride. So, it’s probably best to never cross paths. The typical adult weighs 50 lbs. and is 36” tall. Of peculiar interest is that the Maned Wolf does not hunt in packs, such as garden variety wolves do. So if you’re ever lost in the jungles of South America, you may actually stand a fighting chance if you are ever targeted as prey.
3. Dumbo Octopus
This odd, underwater, bell-shaped octopus is often referred to as a Dumbo Octopus due to its ear-like fins protruding from the top of its body. These features along with its wide round body have been known to resemble Dumbo the elephant from Walt Disney fame. Its proper name is Grimpoteuthis. Clearly we can see why most prefer to call it by its nickname. For those readers with children, you may also find a resemblance to Pikachu of the Pokémon franchise. The Dumbo Octopus lives at the extreme ocean depths of 10,000 ft. – 13,000 ft. and survives on various small aquatic life such as crustaceans and worms. They are not typically large and on average grow to about 12 inches in length and 10-15 lbs. in weight.
This cute little bug-eyed primate was once more populous and widespread. Today it can only be found on the islands of Southeast Asia. Though there are fossilized records which have been found in North America. Its long fingered hands and feet help it excel as an excellent tree climber. Head popping eyeballs are each, on their own, as large as its brain. As with other primates it has a long tail which also helps in scaling to heights, although its tail is bare and looks like a snake. The Tarsier is the only entirely carnivorous primate. Their diet includes insects, birds, snakes and bats.
Topping our list of the most unusual looking animals is another primate, but more specifically a lemur. The Aye-Aye of Madagascar looks a little like Golumn from the Hollywood blockbuster Lord of the Rings. This lemur is the world’s largest nocturnal primate, which probably explains those intense eyes. The Aye-Aye shares something uniquely in common with the striped possum. They are the only two animal species in the world which forage for their food using a method known as percussive foraging. It taps on a tree trunk to identify hollow sounds where grubs, those little green caterpillar-like bugs, may have bored through and taken up residence. It then gnaws into the tree and using its middle finger pulls out its prize, a totally caught off guard grub.