If you’ve never seen one of these, it’s because it can only be found in Mexico and is close to extinction. Axolotl is a strange-looking creature and a carnivore amphibian with a difference. Unlike similar species, the axolotl does not change with time, remaining gilled and aquatic, and doesn’t go to the land during adulthood. Adults can measure up to 12 inches and live 10 to 15 years.
Originally, the Axolotl is native to Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in the Valley of Mexico, but lake Chalco no longer exists and Lake Xochimilco remains a remnant of its former self, existing mainly as canals. Those determined enough may still find the amphibian in Central Mexico’s fresh waters, however, the clock is ticking.
Already heard of the axolotl? We have found for you even more surprising and odd creatures. You won’t believe some of them and there is no way you have heard of them all. Click next to see them.
The Gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked antelope most commonly found in Tanzania, Kenya, southern Somalia, Ethiopia and Eretria. The animal measure 80 to 100 centimetres with extremely long necks, small heads tender big eyes and long ears.
This creature is highly adaptable and typically found in habitats with woody vegetation, especially dry, flat thornbush and thickets. It’s a shy animal avoiding very dense woodlands and very open habitats.
The Gerenuk has unusual eating habits, unlike other antelopes who eat by grazing. He stands on its two hind legs and uses its two front legs to graze from tree branches reaching plants up to 2 metres. The most peculiar thing about his eating habits is that he never has to drink water. He only need a very little amount of liquid to survive and the plants he eats contain just enough water for him to never needing to actually drink.
The Raccoon Dog, also known as the Mangut isn’t technically a raccoon or a dog, and his closest relatives are foxes. The animal is native to the forests of eastern Siberia, northern China, North Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Though they have been recently seen in some European countries, having been released, or having escaped.
Some people keep them as pet, which is problematic as they are wild animals and should absolutely not live in houses. The number of illegal Raccoon dog pets in the UK is not known, but the RSPCA rehomed five raccoon dogs in 2018 and eight in 2017 as owners did no longer want them. Animals kept in captivity often become unmanageable and while they are too small to be dangerous to humans, they can bite and scratch.
Raccoon dogs feed on insects, rodents, amphibians, birds, fish, reptiles, molluscs, as well as fruits, nuts, and berries. The animal is considered as an ‘invasive specie’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In some ecosystems, especially islands, invasive species can have a huge impact on the biodiversity and even cause extinctions among animals they feed on. That’s why Raccoon Dogs shouldn’t be brought in new environments and it’s illegal to breed them.
The star-nosed mole is certainly one of the world’s weirdest-looking animals. It is a small mole that can be found in wet low areas in the northern parts of North America.
The star-nosed mole eats small invertebrates, aquatic insects, worms, mollusks, small amphibians and small fish. They eat faster than any other mammal on Earth; indeed they can identify and eat in less than two-tenths of a second. This is due to their nose’s incredible nervous system, which convey information from the environment to the animal’s brain at speeds approaching the physiological limit of neurons.
The mole’s distinctive nose contains more than 100,000 nerve fibers, which is five times the number of “touch” fibers in the human hand. It’s therefore an extremely sensitive organ also able to smell underwater. The Star-nosed moles are the only mammal known to smell underwater. They have been observed blowing bubbles into the water and then re-inhaling them through the nose in order to sniff for prey, an incredibly unique behaviour.
Bolas spiders are small nocturnal animals with oddly ‘lumpy’ abdomens. Females are brown and can grow up to 15 mm, while the males, significantly smaller, measure about 2 mm and are distinguishable by their reddish colour. The Bolas Spider can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from gardens and meadows to shrubby areas and woodlands in America (North and South), Africa and Australia.
The Bolas spiders is famous for its unusual prey capture technique: rather than a web, the spider produces a single silk line with a super-sticky ball of glue at the end, which it flies at its prey (usually moths). This is where the spider gets its name from. The Bolas is an ancient man-made weapon (from South American) used to capture animals.
But the Bolas Spider has another evil trick to attract its prey. The Spider releases pheromones to attract excited male moths hoping to mate with a female. They get captured and eaten instead.
The Superb Bird Of Paradise
There are about 45 Bird Of Paradise species that can be found in rain forests of New Guinea and forest edges of Indonesia, but the most remarkable of them is perhaps the Vogelkop or Superb Bird-of-Paradise. Males and Females look significantly different: the male bird is black with a bright blue crest while the female bird has a reddish brown color and don’t look as impressive.
The bird’s mating season is quite a show, as the males have one of the most elaborate courtship technique in the world. Indeed, competition amongst males for females is intensely fierce, due to the fact that the species has an unusually low amount of females, so they have to work their hardest to find a mating partner.
After carefully and meticulously preparing the mating scene by cleaning the floor with leaves and removing any dirt or branches – a truly unseen behaviour amongst birds – the male then attracts a female with a loud call. After the curious female approaches, the male folds his black feather cape and his blue-green breast shield springs upward and spreads widely and astoundingly around his head, transforming him into an other-worldly dancing creature.
Sunda Flying Lemur
Despite his name, the Sunda flying lemur is not a lemur and can’t actually fly. It is however an extraordinary mammal with impressive gliding skills. Native to the temperate forests of South East Asia, throughout Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, the Sunda flying lemur can glide for a distance of up to 100 meters, while only losing about 10 meters of elevation.
The key to the Sunda flying lemur’s impressive gliding skills is an enormous flap of leathery skin that runs from its face to the tips of its fingers, right down to the end of its tail, giving it a whole lot of surface area with which to keep itself aloft.
The Sunda flying lemur usually leave alone. It measures about 20 inches long from nose to tail, and it only weighs two to four pounds. Being small and light is important if you plan to glide through the trees. These lemurs are covered in soft fur and have white bellies. Their backs are mottled combinations of white, gray, black, and sometimes red. This colour combination is useful to camouflage the lemurs in the trees so they can hide from predators.
It is a valid question to wonder what kind of species is a Salp. Is it a jellyfish or just a strange fish?
Surprisingly, this supernatural-like creature is – neither. Salps are actually a member of the Tunicata, a group of animals also known as sea squirts. They are anatomically closer to humans than jellyfish. They are classified in the Phylum Chordata; which means they are related to all the animals with backbones.
If you take a close look at their anatomy, you can see they are shaped like a small barrel. They band their muscles to move in the water and pump water through they feeding filter. The most visible part of the animal is usually a lump of food in its see-through stomach (the little red lump you can see on the image above).
You can sometimes see chains of Salps in the sea. The most abundant concentrations of Salps are in the Southern Ocean (near Antarctica), where they sometimes form enormous swarms, often in deep water. Though don’t panic if you dive here as they are harmless to humans. Salps are important for the ecosystem because they reduce the carbon levels in the water.
The Proboscis monkey or long-nosed monkey, owns an unusually large nose, a reddish-brown skin colour and a long tail. The animal is found in the southeast Asian island of Borneo, mostly in mangrove forests and on the coastal areas of the island. The purpose of this elongated nose is to attract suitable mates and to amplify warning calls.
The specie feeds on unripe fruit because the sugars in ripe fruit ferment in its digestive system cause bloating so bad that it can be fatal. Studies have shown that the Proboscis Monkey may contribute significantly to seed dispersal for the various fruits that form part of its diet. Therefore its survival is intrinsically linked to the forests he lives in.
Unfortunately, these monkeys are under threat due to deforestation and also poaching because they are considered a delicacy by some, so they’re now listed as an endangered species.
The Dumbo octopus is actually named after Dumbo the elephant from Disney. The reason for his nickname is the octopus uses its ear-like fins to propel through the water and steers using its webbed arms.
The creature is small compared to other octopodes. The largest Dumbo octopus ever recorded was 5 feet 10 inches (1.8 m) long and weighed 13 pounds (5.9 kg), but most species can grow up to 16 feet (5 m) long.
The Dumbo octopus lives at least 13,100 feet (4,000 m) below the surface which is the deepest-living specie of all known octopuses. What’s very particular about this specie is that unlike most octopuses, the Dumbo octopus doesn’t have an ink sac because it rarely encounters predators in the deep sea. Though it owns a variety of shapes and colours and has the ability to camouflage itself to its environment, just like a Chameleon.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
image: Daderot, Wikimedia Commons
Armadillo is a Spanish word meaning “little armored one”, Armadillos are tiny omnivore mammals, usually measuring 10 to 147 centimetres and living up to 15 years. Armadillos are the only mammal specie wearing a shell. Most of the armadillos species, including the pink fairy one, are not able to encase themselves into their shell.
The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest species of armadillo known, his size ranges between 90-115 mm in length, excluding its tail, and will weigh less than a pound. Similarly, this is the only species of armadillo that has its dorsal shell almost completely separate from its body.
This unique animal is a solitary, desert-adapted animal and resides in the dry grasslands and sandy plains of central Argentina. This sandy environment works well for the pink fairy armadillo since they are excellent diggers. In fact, they have the ability to completely bury themselves in a matter of seconds if threatened.
The Giant Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese spider crab, gets its name from its resemblance with a spider, as it has a rounded body with immensely long slim legs. It is one of the largest crab species, measuring up to 12 feet (4 meters) and can live up to 100 years. Its strong shell protects him from predators like octopuses.
This giant marine crab lives in the Pacific Ocean around Japan, inhabiting vents and holes on the ocean floor at depths between 50 meters to 600 meters. Because of the depth at which it is found, it is difficult for men to catch the giant Japanese spider crab, so the species is not widely found commercially and is considered a rare delicacy in Asia.
Why we think this crab is terrifying: have you ever been nipped by a normal-sized crab? It hurts. A giant crab could probably rip your toe off.
The Amazon’s Pink Dolphin
Did you know dolphins colour can be influenced by their environment, capillary placement, diet, and exposure to sunlight? Their colour can actually vary from gray to mostly gray with some pink spots or almost flamingo pink.
You can find pink dolphins species in the fresh waters of South America. Also named the Amazon river dolphin, the pink river dolphin is found throughout much of the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela. The animal is classified as vulnerable in certain areas due to dams, pollution and men.
Pink dolphins are intelligent, they have unusually large brains, with 40% more brain capacity than humans. They are pretty big animals, measuring up to 9 feet (2.7 meters long) and weighting 181 kilograms. They can live up to 30 years. This specie is more lonely then the sea dolphin. You’ll often find the Amazon river dolphin alone or in a really small group of up to 4 dolphins.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth
This adorable and alien-like furry animal was located by a zoologist, the Dr. Arthur Anker, in the Canaimá National Park in Venezuela. Named the Venezuelan poodle moth, it was found and photographed in 2009 and not seen ever since, but we promise it’s real.
The moth is often mistaken on the web with images of other furry moths, such as Bombyx mori but experts agree it most likely belongs to the Lepidopteran genus Artace. However, the one existing photo does not show sufficient detail to determine whether it belongs to a described species or one new to science so the exact provenance of the Venezuelan poodle moth stays a mystery.
This discovery gives a lot of hope to scientists, thousands of species are found every year in the South American rain forest and there are so many other exciting species to discover.