8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth
Here we present to you our choice of 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth. Naturally, with an estimated 1-2 million animal species in the world, this list barely scratches the surface of those considered weird. And even that label remains entirely subjective, we know. If you have your own choices for animals worthy of inclusion on a list such as this, please let us know. In the meantime, enjoy.
Mexican Mole Lizard
Mexican Mole Lizard Facts
- Despite its common name, the Mexican Mole Lizard represents neither a mole nor a lizard. Yet this extremely unique and rare animal does constitute a type of reptile, however.
- This unique creature serves as one of only 180 known species in its genus that form neither lizard nor snake.
- More specifically, it forms one of only four known species in this small genus that possesses any legs at all.
- The Mexican Mole Lizard is also an amphisbaenian. Being exclusively subterranean dwellers, it is rarely seen. The average lifespan also measures only about two years.
- It’s truly earns it spot on this listing of 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth.
Mexican Mole Lizard Physical Description
The Mexican Mole Lizard remains a rather diminutive reptile. Individuals attain a maximum known length of roughly 9.5 in (24 cm), and the width of the small bodies also typically only measures about 0.25 in (6 mm).
Its coloring shows predominantly varied shades of pink, which occurs because of a complete lack of skin pigmentation.
The Mexican Mole Lizard possesses two legs, placed directly behind the head. Five toes with sharp, comparatively long claws appear on the feet.
Its skin also grows rather closely segmented, like an earthworm, and it remains oviparous, with the female laying between 1-4 eggs.
The reptile exhibits no recognizable degree of sexual dimorphism.
Species: B. biporous
Mexican Mole Lizard Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Mexican Mole Lizard appears to only be endemic to portions of the Baja Peninsula, Mexico, in southern North America. It may also be found from the extreme southwestern portions, through Big Sur, to the Western Cape Region, however.
The habitat of this remarkable reptile remains predominantly dry to desert regions, with plentiful shrub vegetation.
Therefore, members of the species typically prefer to remain below ground, or under the layers of vegetation. This provides a measure of protection from predators.
The Mexican Mole Lizard constructs lengthy and elaborate systems of tunnels beneath the ground. It is carnivorous in nature and will prey on virtually anything small and soft enough to swallow.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Lowland Streaked Tenrec Facts
- The bizarre-looking Lowland Streaked Tenrec forms an extraordinarily unique species of Tenrec. The species has developed several completely unique attributes.
- Remarkably, it remains the only known mammal to generate sound by stridulation. Mothers use this as a means of communicating with their young.
- Also, it serves as the only known species of tenrec to be active by both day and night. All other tenrecs only become active at night. This serves to give them a competitive edge.
- Lastly, this ranks as the only known tenrec to live in groups. It also tends to remain with its family, living in groups of as many as twenty individuals. It’s also truly one of our favorite choices for this article about 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec Physical Description
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec forms a rather diminutive animal. Mature adults attain an average length of head and body of about 6.5 in (16.5 cm). It also stays quite light, rarely exceeding 7 oz (200 grams) in weight.
Its snout grows rather elongated, while the tail appears vestigial. The head, back, and sides appear black, with long yellow stripes. The underbelly typically displays a chestnut brown and covered with soft fur.
Yet the rest of the body is covered with numerous long, sharp quills. It is also important to note that some of these
In fact, these seem most numerous on the crown of the head. Also, it is the remarkable quills that are used for stridulation.
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec rubs these together to generate a unique sound. This sound is so low-pitched that it is below the threshold of human hearing.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec inhabits a rather limited range. The species is found throughout less than half of the island of Madagascar, near Africa. Its range consists almost entirely of lowland (hence the name) tropical rainforest.
Consequently, in the loose soil, it typically constructs long, shallow burrows in which to dwell. These are also rarely more than 6 in (15 cm) beneath the surface.
The species is primarily insectivorous, but will also consume worms and fruit.
Its principal predators include the Fossa and the Malagasy Mongoose. Attacking the nose and paws of a predator with the quills is its only defensive strategy.
Breeding usually occurs between October and December. An average litter consists of 5-8 young.
Sadly, its lifespan remains short, averaging less than 2.5 years.
- The Pangolin remains the only known mammal to have evolved protective scales. Due to these, people sometimes call it the scaly anteater.
- The animal constitutes the only surviving member of a family. Also, only four known species of this unique creature exist.
- Sadly, this impressive species now lists as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. The Pangolin remains the most heavily hunted mammal in the world.
- It now enjoys protection by law, yet illegal hunting continues. It still gets hunted both as a source of bushmeat and for its scales (for clothing).
- The animal also gets hunted for use in making traditional medicines. It’s clear why it appears on this list of 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth.
Pangolin Physical Description
Due to its rather distinctive appearance, the Pangolin remains easily recognizable.
The scales covering its body grow large, and composed of keratin. Each scale also possesses a sharp edge, further increasing the protection they provide. These protect the Pangolin from would-be predators since the animal curls into a tight ball when threatened.
The various species range in length from 12-39 in (30-100 cm). Average weight is about 4.4 lb (2 kg). Sexual dimorphism is present, with males averaging 50% larger than females.
The legs grow short, giving it a low-slung form. It also possesses a thin tongue which the animal can extend as much as 16 in (40 cm).
The claws are relatively long and quite powerful. In addition to its armor, it also has a second defense mechanism. When threatened, it can release a noxious-smelling chemical from glands near the base of its tail.
Pangolin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Pangolin evolved as endemic to parts of both Asia and Africa. It inhabits either grasslands or forests within that range.
The majority of the different species live as nocturnal, yet one appears active by day. It typically makes its homes in either hollow trees or deep burrows. These burrows may be as much as 11 ft (3.5 m) deep.
Its diet consists mainly of termites and ants, which it locates with its keen sense of smell. These it extracts with its specially adapted tongues.
This extraordinary creature typically walks on all four legs, yet remains capable of walking on its rear legs only for a short time. It also seems to be an excellent swimmer.
This animal lives a primarily solitary life, usually meeting only to mate. A typical litter contains 1-3 offspring.
- The unforgettable Trogloraptor represents a rather extraordinary species of arachnid, and perhaps the stuff of nightmares for some.
- However, despite its moderately impressive size and fearsome appearance, the remarkable creature poses absolutely no danger to humans.
- This bizarre arthropod was only discovered, quite accidentally, in 2010, by a trio of cave conservationists, during a routine exploration.
- The creature the explorers discovered evolved so differently from other arachnids that an entirely new family and genus had to be created to place it in.
- For the moment, even though its known range consists of an extremely restricted area, the IUCN does not have a listing for the creature.
Trogloraptor Physical Description
The amazing Trogloraptor ranks as a moderately large variety of arachnid, yet the invertebrate displays no noticeable degree of sexual dimorphism, as many related species do.
Both genders possess an average body length of roughly 04. in (10 mm). The legs, however, grow rather over-sized, giving adults an overall leg span of about 3 in (7.6 cm).
Yet, regardless of its size, the Trogloraptor stands out from all other known arachnids. It evolved claws on the end of each of its eight long, thin legs.
In color, this fascinating arachnid presents a rather dull orange-brown color over its entire body, except for a dark brown V-shaped mark on its cephalothorax.
Species: T. marchingtoni
Trogloraptor Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
To date, the entire habitat range of the incredible Trogloraptor consists of two caves in the state of Oregon, United States, in North America.
Multiple specimens have been recovered so far, but all lived in one of two caves near the city of Grants Pass, in Josephine County.
This rather surprising arachnid most commonly spins small, uncomplicated webs. These it almost always creates on the ceiling of the cave it inhabits.
From there, individuals either capture prey in the small webs or drop on them from above. However, the exact prey of the species remains a mystery.
Although the Trogloraptor possesses venom glands, like many arachnids, its venom poses no known threat to humans. It’s nonetheless easy to see why it appears here among out choices of 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth.
- The rather remarkable Kakapo also goes by several other common names. These include the night parrot and the owl parrot.
- This large, flightless bird also evolved as endemic to a highly restricted and rather isolated portion of the world.
- Sadly, this truly remarkable bird also now finds itself facing serious threats to its continued existence as a species.
- Its known population only totals 148 extant individuals, as of April 2018. For this reason, the IUCN now lists it as Critically Endangered.
- Its greatest threats include habitat loss, climate change, and also non-indigenous predators, such as cats, ferrets, rats, and stoats.
Kakapo Physical Description
The surprising Kakapo ranks as rather small, compared to some of the other flightless birds throughout the world.
In appearance, this fascinating avian resembles a rather rotund parrot. The species also presents a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism.
The larger males average about 4.4 lb (2 kg) in weight. Meanwhile, the smaller, and slightly less rotund, females only average about 3.3 lb (1.5 kg).
In coloring, the bird typically presents a combination of yellowish-green, mottled with brownish gray or black on the upper side.
The flank and breast also tend to have the same background colors, but the mottling consists of yellow.
Species: S. habroptila
Kakapo Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
In its native habitat, the avian inhabits a multitude of habitats. These include forests, scrublands, grasslands, and also coastal areas.
Although is adapts well, it primarily lives and feeds in a nocturnal manner. During the day it prefers to roost under various forms of cover.
While the Kakapo remains incapable of light, it is an accomplished climber. It uses this skill to find its food in the trees.
Unlike most other birds, this species remains entirely herbivorous. It usually feeds on a variety of seeds, leaves, fruits, and stems.
- The Hoatzin represents a unique species of tropical bird and appears to also be endemic to a very specific type of habitat throughout its natural range.
- The extremely unusual bird also remains widely regarded as the most enigmatic of all known extant species of bird.
- It remains so distinct from any other recognized avian that scientists now classify it in its own separate family and suborder.
- The Hoatzin also has the well-deserved reputation of exuding a strong manure-like odor.
- There remains no clear picture of the evolutionary path of this animal to the present.
Hoatzin Physical Description
In terms of general shape, the Hoatzin appears similar to the pheasant. The total body length averages roughly 26 in (65 cm), with no discernible sexual dimorphism.
The neck grows elongated, and the head stays relatively small. The face also appears devoid of feathers. The species also remains noted for its bright maroon colored eyes. Atop the head sits a large spiky crest.
The tail grows long and broad, while the wings and back typically show a dark shade of brown. The underside typically displays combinations of off-white and chestnut in color.
One unexplained evolutionary trait of the Hoatzin ranks as extremely unique. Though they disappear shortly after birth, the hatchlings are born with claws on their wing digits.
Species: O. hoatzin
Hoatzin Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
In the Amazon Basin, the Hoatzin occurs in riparian forests, mangrove forests, and swamps. Elsewhere in South America, it also lives in the Orinoco Delta.
The Hoatzin feeds primarily on the leaves of plants native to its specific habitat, and also on the fruit and flowers occasionally.
Despite the relatively large wings, the bird is a poor flier. It also remains quite clumsy on the ground, moving awkwardly. The bird also possesses a generally mild temperament.
The animal generally congregates in small colonies, and breeding occurs during the rainy season.
The existence of the claws on the wings of the hatchlings has led many to believe they are descended from the Archaeopteryx, which disappeared around 150 million years ago.
There remains absolutely no evidence of that, however.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Venezuelan Poodle Moth Facts
- The astonishing Venezuelan Poodle Moth currently still remains an almost complete mystery to entomologists. This incredibly unique looking insect first made an appearance in 2009.
- The name derives from a comparison of its appearance to a cross between a
mothand a poodle.
- At this point in time, entomologists know virtually nothing about it. Some assumptions, however, can be presumed to be reasonably accurate.
- The zoologist Arthur Anker photographed the bizarre looking Lepidoptera in 2009, while on an expedition. Dr. Anker took a total of 75 photos of the extraordinary species, yet only a few are available to view.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth Mystery
The Venezuelan Poodle Moth remains a nearly complete mystery to scientists. Measurements derived from Dr. Anker’s photographs show the unique Lepidoptera to be about 1 in (2.5 cm) in length.
The astonishing physical appearance, coupled with the dearth of actual information has led to its being touted as a purported hoax on the internet. However, the origin of the images is considered indisputable.
Experts believe that the Venezuelan Poodle Moth may be a relative of the furry muslin moth. It is also most likely extremely rare. In fact, subsequent expeditions to the region have been unable to spot the moth again.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth Habitat and Potential Classification
To date, the only known examples of the Venezuelan Poodle Moth live in Venezuela, in South America. To be more precise, it inhabits the Canaima National Park.
The region includes diverse habitat types, any of which could support a population of this unique moth. These habitats include moist forest and high rock plateaus known as tepuis.
The exact classification of this remarkable invertebrate remains impossible at this point due to insufficient information.
However, it bears a strong superficial resemblance to the Muslin Moth, thus experts believe it represents a member of the Artace genus.
Saiga Antelope Facts
- The Saiga Antelope remains the most distinctive looking species of antelope in the world. This animal actually has a proboscis rather similar to a walrus.
- Sadly, the animal also holds the classification of critically endangered, according to the IUCN. This animal once inhabited an enormous portion of the Eurasian steppe.
- But now its population only inhabits portions of The Republic of Kalmykia and Kazakhstan.
- Mankind hunted this incredible creature almost to the point of extinction in the 1920s. Fortunately, it managed to recover somewhat. Historically, hunting of the creatures occurred extensively among local populations.
- The greatest threats to its existence as a species remain a mysterious malady and extensive hunting for the procurement of its horn, which is used also in traditional Chinese medicines.
- It’s one of the most impressive creatures in this listing of 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth.
Saiga Antelope Physical Description
The most immediately noticeable feature of the Saiga Antelope is its unique proboscis. This is actually an over-sized nose structure which serves two purposes.
During migrations in the summer, it serves to filter out dust, and during the winter it heats up the frigid air before it enters the lungs. This represents a rather remarkable adaptation.
The animal displays a slight degree of sexual dimorphism, with the males being larger in size than the females. Additionally, the males develop moderately large, and uniquely colored horns, while the females are hornless.
Males may reach a height at the shoulder of as much as 2.5 ft (0.8 m), and weigh as much as 139 lb ( 63 kg). The antelope appears predominantly various shades of tan in color, except for the belly and throat. These typically display a white or cream color.
Species: S. tatarica
Saiga Antelope Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Saiga Antelope once inhabited a territory that extended from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains all the way to what is now Mongolia..
Within its current range, the animal inhabits a variety of habitat types, including grasslands, steppes, woodlands, and semi-deserts. This species tends to form large herds, often numbering in the thousands.
It feeds on a variety of plants, including several species that are poisonous to other animals. It also engages in seasonal migrations that cover great distances.
Though adept at climbing, it tends to avoid extremely steep or rugged terrain. After the mating season, females actually come together in large groups to give birth. Interestingly, two-thirds of all births for this species consists of twins.
Saiga Antelope Mysterious Malady
In May of 2015, a terrible, and still mysterious, tragedy struck the already threatened Saiga Antelope population. Within a period of only 14 days, more than 130,000 of these unique creatures abruptly perished.
This number represents half of the world’s population of Saiga Antelope. Entire herds were extinguished in a matter of days.
The precise cause was never officially released. However, it is suspected that an extremely virulent form of pasteurellosis is responsible.
Yet the underlying trigger of this apparent epidemic among this unique ungulate remains a complete mystery.
8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth
We hope you have enjoyed this list of 8 of the Weirdest Animals on Earth. Countless other creatures await your discovery. Please avail yourself of the opportunity to learn more about our wonderful world, and the creatures that share it with us. Also, please do all you can to protect and preserve our world and its myriad forms of life for future generations.