Did you think you’d already seen almost everything about animals? Don’t get me wrong, some species may still surprise you. Nature did as she pleased, and a few strange specimens managed to escape her imagination. Discover the top 20 in pictures.
Seeming to have come out of a science fiction film or the imagination of a particularly inspired writer, some animal species have something to surprise us! Cocky or frightening, disturbing or magnificent, these specimens have quite unusual characteristics that sometimes suggest that they are the result of a crossing of two species. But, however, none of this: they are real and guaranteed without photo retouching! Discover 20 of the strangest animals on Earth.
Octopi of the genus Grimpoteuthus, also known as Dumbo octopi, are known for their ear-shaped fins on their upper body. These marine creatures live in extreme depths, 3,000 or 4,000 metres below sea level. Some even go down to 7,000 meters, the deepest for an octopus. Very rare, they can remove the transparent layer of their skin at will. Grimpoteuthis glide along the seabed in search of worms, bivalves, copepods and crustaceans on which they feed. They move thanks to the impulses of their arms, pulling water through their funnel and still shaking their ears.
2. L’Onychorhynchus coronatus
Onychorhynchus coronatus coronatus coronatus is a passerine of the Tyrannidae family. According to experts, it is related to three other royal flycatchers: the Northern Royal Flycatcher, the Pacific Royal Flycatcher and the Atlantic Royal Flycatcher. Inhabiting the forests and wooded plains of the Amazon basin, it is easy to observe. Present in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, it prefers to live in small groups, but remains very present. Males have a beautiful red ridge that they open to frighten predators but also to seduce females.
3. Chrysocyon brachyurus
The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) is an omnivore of the canine family and is native to South America. Similar to a wolf or a great fox, it is genetically distinct from these species. As a prairie dweller, it can be 130 cm long and 90 cm high. He has a red coat with “socks”, a black snout and a black mane. Perched on large legs, the maned wolf feeds on 50% fruit and 50% rodents, insects or birds. An endangered animal, only 2,000 specimens remain in the wild.
4. Dolichotis patagonum
This rodent of the Cavidae family has an appearance reminiscent of that of hares. Endemic to Argentica, the Patagonian hare (Dolichotis patagonum) is considered “almost threatened”. Also known as the Pampas Hare, it measures 70 to 75 cm and weighs between 8 and 16 kg. His ears and limbs are very long. Its legs are equipped with 3 or 4 fingers and it has a grey, orange and white coat. Extremely fast, it can reach an average of 55km/h and can jump up to two metres high. This mammal feeds on grasses, leaves, roots and bark and is particularly social
5. Moloch horridus
Moloch horridus, the only representative of its kind, is an endemic saurian from Australia. Living in arid areas, it particularly appreciates sandy soils. Medium-sized daytime animal (about 20 cm), it weighs between 50 and 90 g. Quite massive, its body colour varies between grey, beige, orange or brick red. Thorns, scaly growths, cover his entire body, in order to impress his predators. A heavy consumer of ants, the moloch has grooves around its head that allow it to harvest the dew that settles on it.
6. Narval (Monodon monoceros)
Nicknamed “the unicorn of the seas”, the narwhal (Monodon monoceros) is a cetacean that lives in groups in the waters of the Arctic Ocean. Males have a long horn at the end of their muzzle from their left upper incisor. Once highly sought-after, this sensory organ can measure up to three metres in length. Measuring 4 to 5 metres in length, narwhals feed on shrimp, squid, crustaceans, halibut, cod and octopus. Human activities, unregulated hunting and its predators (polar bears and killer whales) are causing a sharp decline in the narwhal population.
7. Balaeniceps rex
The Nile Shoebill is a massive bird, endemic to the African continent, and the only species of the genus Balaeniceps. It gets its name from its huge beak, sometimes bigger than its head. It is 100 to 120 cm high, can weigh 4 to 7 kg and has a grey plumage with a bluish appearance. The pinkish beak can be up to 23 cm long and is very suitable for fishing in turbid and shallow waters. Non-migratory, rather solitary and territorial, this bird feeds on catfish, aquatic snakes and frogs. It can also fall back on pies, monitors, young crocodiles or rodents.
8. Scarus coeruleus
This fish belongs to the genus parrot fish, Scarus. Entirely blue (pulling on turquoise), it still has some yellow spots on the back of the head that disappear with age. Males are on average 30 to 75 cm long and can sometimes reach 1.20 m. Parrot fish have a large beak that allows them to remove algae and small organisms from rocks. It also has pharyngeal teeth that transform ingested rocks into sand. He spends 80% of his time surveying the waters of the western Atlantic to find food.
9. Atheris hispida
The atheris is a poisonous tree viper from sub-Saharan Africa. It lives in tropical forest areas and is similar to the rattlesnakes of Asia and South America. With a size between 40 and 78 cm, the atheris has a fairly triangular head. Its colour varies between various shades of green, from light green to olive green with some specimens rather yellow or greyish. Its main characteristic is the presence of pointed scales all over its body.
10. Saïga (Linnaeus 1766) – Saiga tatarica
Saiga (Saiga tatarica) is a particularly threatened antelope species. Originally from the semi-desert Eurasian steppes, it was also present in North America. Today, she lives mainly in a Russian region and three in Kazakhstan. Less than one metre high, it weighs between 36 and 63 kg and females do not have horns. But his most particular physical feature remains his snout. Unusual, oversized and flexible, this nasal structure is called proboscis.
11. PACU (Piaractus brachypomus)
Affiliated to the piranha, the pacu is a herbivorous or omnivorous freshwater fish. Its most impressive feature? Its square and aligned teeth, similar to those of humans. This also differentiates them from piranhas. The pacu, of the Serrasalminae family, lives mainly in the rivers and streams of the Amazon basin. Some specimens have also been found in Papua, Sweden and France.
12. Venezuelan Poodle Moth
The Venezuelan Heterocere is a new species of phalène, discovered in 2009 in the Great Savannah region of Venezuela. It is quite similar to Diaphora mendica, the beggar scale. Its particularity lies mainly in the fur, orange or cream-coloured, which covers its body, 14 to 19 mm long and its wings. Scientists know very little about this small animal but it would probably belong to the lepidoptera family Lasiocampidae.
No, the shrimps do not have any strange diseases similar to scarlet fever or other… And, despite its magnificent colours, this crustacean of about ten centimetres is a particularly vicious animal. Equipped with legs comparable to that of a praying mantis, the squill is strong and fast. Its claws are massive, weighted with limestone and can easily break shells and shells. When they are thinner but furnished with spurs, they allow the prey to be impaled. With a 360° vision, it easily identifies prey and predators, such as barracudas. During the mating season, the squilla activates its fluorescence.
14. Glaucus Atlanticus
Glaucus Atlanticus is a very small species of nudibranchs. This marine gastropod mollusc has a particularly elegant shape and colours combining white, pearl grey and different shades of blue. Glaucus Atlanticus, 3 to 4 cm long, has often been compared to a lizard because of its tail and a frog because of its skin. It is equipped with oral tentacles and rhinophores at the head level. This charming sea slug floats on its belly thanks to an air bubble in its stomach. It can thus easily feed on other pelagic organisms larger than itself. Its main defence is its stinging power, which it draws from the hydrozoa it feeds on.
15. Moro Sphinx
Moro Sphinx (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a diurnal insect of the order Lepidoptera. Small in size (40-46 mm), it has a rather massive beige-brown body and orange wings. Equipped with a very long trunk to collect the flowers, this specimen shows a movement similar to that of the fly bird. Very fast, it can also remain in hover flight, especially when foraging. It is particularly active when temperatures are high. Moro Sphinx hatches about a week after eggs are laid on buds or flowers, between May and August.
16. Hemicentetes semispinosus
The Lowland Zebra Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a mammalian species, endemic to the island of Madagascar. It lives on the Malagasy plains, from sea level to 1,550 metres above sea level. 15 to 20 cm long, the zebra tenrec is quite massive since it weighs between 125 and 280 grams. The particularity lies in its black coat striped with yellow stripes and made up of a mixture of hard hairs and spines.
17. Umbonia Spinosa
This insect belongs to the family Membracidae. The latter is characterized by the presence of a scleritis on the thorax, which resembles a kind of giant horn. Umvonia Spinosa vary in colour, size and structure from a few ten millimetres long, especially the male horn. The role of this special horn is to discourage birds or other predators from eating it. This species grows mainly in the United States and pumps sap from trees.
The mutilated, or velvet ants, are a species that lies between the ant, by its elongated shape, and the wasp, by its hair. This is particularly the case for females that do not have wings, unlike males. Their fur is often red or bright orange, but it can also be silvery, golden or even black and white, hence its nickname “panda ant”. They are known for their extremely painful stings, which only females can inflict. However, unlike ants, mutilated people are not organized into workers, queens, etc.
19. Mitsukurina owstoni
The elf shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) is a rare species of deep-sea shark. Sometimes called “living fossil”, its ancestry goes back about 125 million years. It has a long nose and a very prominent jaw with nail-shaped teeth. Measuring three to four metres long, the elf shark was very abundant in the Cretaceous and its global distribution is still quite widespread. But although it was discovered more than a century ago, scientists know very little about this species with its flaccid body. The few studies suggest that it is rather slow.
20. Ogcocephalus darwini
To some extent, one might think that the lips of this fish were roughly added using a computer. Living at a depth of more than 30 metres in the waters of the Galapagos, the red lipped bat fish (Ogcocephalus darwini) has a rather strange morphology. Mostly known for its ruby lips, this fish is not a swimmer but rather uses its pectoral fins to “walk” to the bottom of the ocean. This species is piscivorous, i. e. it feeds mainly on small fish and crustaceans such as molluscs or shrimps.