50 of The Most Unique Animals In The World
There are roughly 8.7 million animal species on Earth, with some being fierce, some unique, and some adorable. There are many unique animals that exhibit truly remarkable and bizarre features and behaviors.
Scientists continue to discover new rare animal species daily in this wild and wonderful world. Many of the most unique animals are ones that most of us have never heard of, such as the Duck-Billed Platypus, goats that faint, and the Praying Mantis.
The Shoebill is a bird with a bill shaped like a shoe. They are tall, reaching heights of more than four feet tall, and have long legs. They are very good predators, and their long legs are very helpful in shallow waters.
They prey on reptiles, fish, and rodents. They use their strong beaks to grasp and strangle their prey. The shoebill can be found in East Africa.
The Stick Insect resembles a stick and has the ability to stay completely still for long periods of time. They have "one of the most efficient natural camouflages on Earth." -----National Geographic. There are several kinds of Stick Insects, and they are native to Australia.
They have thorn-like spikes that help them blend into their surroundings. In addition, it is one of the longest insects in the world, measuring more than twenty-one inches long. You can find stick insects in Borneo.
The Glass Frog has lime-green skin, and many lack any color on their underside, making their organs visible. They also have spotted backs that resemble eggs. The frogs live mainly in the trees and only come out during the mating season.
Your best chance to see the tree-dwelling frog is in Panama or Costa Rica. Costa Rica's Tortuguero National Park offers a very good chance of seeing one.
Mantis Shrimp are fierce and ancient, having been around for roughly four hundred million years. They are much different than most shrimp and are known for their oddly strong appendages. They are called clubs and are strong enough to smash crab shells and bust open clams, delivering five hundred punches in under a second.
They also have incredible eyesight and can see in two different directions at once. There are roughly four hundred different species of Mantis Shrimp that are found in the waters of Costa Rica and Bali.
A Wombat is a small fuzzy marsupial with a friendly face and a calm demeanor. They also have rodent-like teeth and, if threatened, can get aggressive. They are different because their pouches face backward, and their feces is cube-shaped.
They protect their dwellings, or tunnels, by diving into them headfirst and sticking up their behind. They are best seen in the wild, especially on Australia's Maria Island, located off the Tasmanian coast.
The Axolotl is a salamander that never is seen on land and, instead, lives its life underwater. They are often called walking fish and can grow to lengths of eighteen inches. They have external gills and can regrow lost limbs.
They also come in colors ranging from creamy white to olive. They are native to Mexico and found in the lakes of Xochimilco. However, there has been a decline in the Axolotl population due to the fact that they are considered a culinary delicacy.
The Sun Bear is unlike any other kind of bear. They are the smallest bears in the world, with most adults weighing less than one hundred pounds. Their abnormally long tongue makes them stand out, as they can reach up to nine inches long.
The bears often climb trees to find honeycomb, which they get by using their long tongues. The Sun Bear is found in Southeast Asia, especially on the island of Sumatra and Borneo. They thrive in tropical forest environments.
The Lyrebird is known for being able to mimic sounds in its environment. They can imitate any sound, including power tools and industrial equipment. They are also known for their flamboyant mating displays, where the males show off their long tail feathers while dancing and using their superb vocal abilities.
The bird was introduced artificially to Tasmania and has since been populated. Then tend to stick to the rainforest areas of Queensland and New South Wales.
Parrotfish are found in tropical reef environments. They use their beak to break algae off rocks, coral, and other hardened substrates. Breaking algae off allows them to carve out a living in places where other species cannot survive.
Another unique fact is that they defecate sand, and most sand grains on white-sand beaches are Parrotfish poop. You can find Parrotfish in the Indian and Pacific oceans, particularly on the Seychelles islands off east Africa.
The Aye-Aye is a nocturnal lemur with large ears and rat-like teeth. They tap on trees to find insects and bore a hole with their teeth and long middle fingers to extract and eat the insects.
They have the behavioral markings of a woodpecker and the appearance of a primate mixed with a rodent. The aye-aye is a cute, googly-eyed animal located in Madagascar. They are best found after the sun sets.
The Okapi looks like a mix of a zebra and a giraffe. It is the only living relative of the giraffe but features the black-and-white markings of the zebra on its hindquarters and front legs.
The animal is very leary of humans and can be hard to find. Scientists didn't even discover the Okapi until 1900. They are found in the Uturi Forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo and at the White Oak Conservation Center in Florida.
The Markhor is an exotic wild goat, which is also known as a "screw horn goat." The animal's head features long, corkscrew-shaped horns and a long beard. Most goats can appear sort of silly, but the Markhor strikes in a majestic pose.
Once on the endangered list, its population has gone up by twenty percent. You can find a markhor in the mountains of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, the Himalayas, and Uzbekistan.
The Fainting Goat, also known as the myotonic goat, is a domestic animal with a very odd muscle reflex to any fear-based situation. When they are frightened, their muscles go completely stiff, and they fall over.
The reaction does not cause any pain, and the goat recovers in ten to twenty seconds. Many people have these goats as pets or breed them for milk and meat. You can see these goats at Old Faithful Geyser Animal Farm in Northern California.
Throughout the world, there are twenty-nine species of cormorant, and twenty-eight of them fly over the water as they search for fish. However, there is one called the Flightless Cormorant that can't fly because its wings are one-third the size of what's needed to fly.
The bird doesn't have many land predators, so it's not necessary for it to fly. Its native home is the Galapagos Islands, where there is ample food.
The Red-Lipped Batfish, also known as the Galapagos Batfish, is known for its bright red lips, but they are not good swimmers. In fact, they use their pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins to "walk" on the ocean floor.
The fish is native to the Galapagos, and it lives along the ocean floor. It feeds on other small fish and small invertebrates, which include crabs, worms, shrimp, and mollusks.
Mexican Mole Lizard
The Mexican Mole Lizard is often mistaken for a large worm, but if you look closer, you will notice its elongated, ribbed body is attached to short legs with five fingers.
Its head also has eyes and a mouth, and it only surfaces at night or after heavy rain. It is a carnivore, eating termites, insects, earthworms, ants, and small animals, and is native to Mexico's beautiful Baja peninsula.
The Saiga Antelope is an antelope with an unusual snout with large, down-pointed nostrils, similar to an anteater. It is also distinguished by a remarkable and tragic backstory. In 2015, some two hundred thousand Saiga Antelope died over the course of a few days, which required years of investigation.
It was discovered that the deaths were caused by a mass bacterial infection in their snout. Due to massive deaths, habitat loss, and overhunting, the Saiga Antelope has a long road to recovery. You can still find them in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Western Mongolia.
Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird
The Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird, especially the males, are incredible, with long wattles, which are flabby hunks of skin extending from their necks. They are able to control their wattles, retracting or extending them as they want.
Their wattles have no purpose other than during courtship. Their habitat areas are at risk due to deforestation. However, you can still find them in parts of Ecuador and Southwest Colombia.
The sloth is known for its sad-looking eyes, smiling mouth, tiny ears, small tail, and ability to turn their head three hundred and sixty degrees. They are one of the most distinctive-looking animals in the world. They are famously lethargic and move extremely slowly, often napping and lounging.
They are very good at blending into the environment and can either be two-toed or three-toed. They are often found in Central and South America, including Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
The Pacu is a cousin to the famous piranha and is known for its serious set of teeth. However, its teeth are squared and closely resemble a perfect set of human teeth.
They are herbivorous, eat fruit and seeds, and are large creatures. They don't eat meat, but they can be vicious and can wound other animals. It is often found in South America and in the Amazon rivers and other South American waters.
The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth is a species of hawk-moth but is very similar to a hummingbird. It is as large as the hummingbird and has prominent reddish wings. They feed on the nectar of tube-shaped flowers using their long proboscis while they hover in the air.
It flies at all times of the day and night, even during the rain, and can be seen in gardens, parks, bushes, meadows, and woodland edges. They are located in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and England.
Fossa is a cat-like animal but is a member of the weasel family and a close relative of the mongoose. It has a long tail that it uses to grip tree branches as it climbs, looking for food.
It is one of the deadliest predators in Madagascar, as it can grow as long as six feet. They have semi-retractable claws, and they feed on everything from rodents to lemurs.
Venezuelan Poodle Moth
The Venezuelan Poodle Moth is referred to as the cutest moth ever seen. It is an unidentified species of moth but is covered with hair that makes it look like a poodle. It also has wings and is attracted to porch lights, just like regular moths. It was just discovered in 2009 in Venezuela.
Dr. John E. Rawlins stated, "Here's my vote to ID the poodle moth. The antenna is distinctive. There are more than a dozen described South American species of Artace, but their delimitation, validity, and even their generic placement are uncertain. It will take two things to solve this problem: a comprehensive revision of Artace and kin, plus an actual specimen of a genuine Venezuelan poodle moth."
The Atretochoana Snake has a head that looks like human male anatomy. It is an amphibian and not a reptile like a snake. Sir Graham Hales discovered the snake in rainforest ecosystems.
It is often found in Brazil, at the mouth of the Amazon River, where it feeds on bugs and small fish. The creature does not have lungs, and it has yet to be discovered how it breathes.
Japanese Spider Crab
The Japanese Spider Crab has spider-like legs but is exceptionally large and can live for a long time. They can weigh as much as forty pounds, and their legs can reach more than twelve feet in length.
Their legs continue to grow throughout their lifetime, and they can be very frightening. They don't swim and typically stay in shallow waters off the coast of Japan. They feed on dead fish or any mammal and are a delicacy to eat in their native region.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is small and can fit in the palm of your hand. They have orange and black coloring and resemble a bumblebee. They also have quills and cute little snouts built for foraging insects and plants.
They are found in eastern rainforests and are active throughout the day and night. They are social creatures and usually gather in small groups. Its diet consists mostly of earthworms, and they live in long, shallow burrows.
Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko
The Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko is a species of gecko and is native to the island of Madagascar. The lizard was first discovered by George Albert Boulenger in 1888.
It is the smallest of its species and has a tail that is shaped like a leaf. The skin even forms veins to replicate the veins on a leaf. It can camouflage itself and can trick predators by voluntarily shedding its tail.
The Marabou Stork is a large bird standing up to five feet tall. It has nicknames including 'nightmare bird' and 'undertaker bird.' It has long legs, a massive beak, and a reddish neck pouch, which is disturbing.
Even weirder is its penchant for eating human garbage and wearing its own feces. They live in Africa south of the Sahara, including in South Africa's Kruger National Park.
The Sunda Colugo is often called Sunda flying lemurs or Malayan flying lemurs. These lemurs don't fly, but they do spread their wings and glide, similar to the famous flying squirrels. They live in forests and only need to travel short distances by air.
They use their gliding wings to travel from tree to tree, keeping them up high, away from predators. They are not well-adapted to life on the ground. They are found in Southeast Asia, with populations in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
The Pink Fairy Armadillo is the smallest species of armadillo and was discovered in 1825 by Richard Harlan. It is a solitary, desert-adapted animal with a fuzzy white underbelly and a pink shell.
It is about the size of a hamster and can be found in Central Argentina. They are in desert sand dunes and miles of scrub brush and grasslands. Its diet consists of insects, worms, snails, and various plant parts.
Indian Purple Frog
The Indian Purple Frog doesn't look like a normal frog because of its unique and striking purple color. Its shape is robust and bloated, and more round. It has a smaller head and an unusually pointed snout.
This frog spends most of its life tucked underground, feeding on termites and other burrowing insects. It only surfaces for a week or two during mating periods. They are typically found in India, in the Western Ghats mountain range, and they are very tricky to spot.
The Mata Mata is much less active than other turtles and sits idle, and rarely leaves its shallow-water environment. It only ever moves when it lays eggs on land.
While sitting idle, it uses its wide mouth to suck down unsuspecting prey. It basically inhales its food because chewing is almost impossible due to its weak head and jaw. It uses its shell to hide its snake-like neck and head. You can find it in the Amazon, deep in the jungle.
The Panda Ant is not actually an ant at all but is part of the wasp family. They don't live in colonies, have queens, have drones, or have workers. They get their name from the black and white color of the females.
They are fuzzy and look adorable and innocent, but they can be very dangerous. The females are wingless wasps and pack a serious punch with their sting. The Panda Ant is found in Chile and Argentina.
Honduran White Bat
The Honduran White Bat is a vampire-like albino bat. It has distinctive white fur and pointed ears that are yellowish and almost translucent. Its ears are shaped like an elf, and its stark white color makes them easy to spot.
They can be seen during the daytime in groups in tent-shaped leaves throughout Eastern Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica.
The Kinkajou is related to the raccoon but looks nothing like it. It weighs about three to seven pounds and is one to two feet long. Its tail allows it to grip trees, and it hangs out in groups, enjoying social grooming and communication.
Its diet includes honey from beehives and whatever it can find from scavenging. It can be found in Central and South American rainforests, where it can be hard to find in their dense canopy homes.
De Brazza's Monkey
The De Brazza's Monkey is an Old World monkey and the largest species in the guenon family. It has a dignified beard and bushy eyebrows, giving them a majestic look. It is a quiet and low-key animal that is easily spooked.
It can be found in Central Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Angola. They spend the majority of their time along rivers surrounded by forests. If it is spotted or spooked, it will typically freeze as a defense mechanism to avoid further detection.
The Sea Pen is an invertebrate that anchors on the seafloor that has some unique features. They actually look like an old-fashioned quill pen, they colonize in groups, and when stimulated, they light up bright green on the seafloor.
When in groups, they emit light in sequence and are found in the Pacific Ocean, from the Gulf of Alaska to California. They live at depths between forty and two hundred and fifty feet.
The Tarantula Hawk is a spider wasp that actually preys on tarantulas and is the largest parasitoid wasp. They use their sting to paralyze their prey, drag it to their nest, and lay a single egg on the prey, which hatches into a larva and eats the still-living host.
They are found throughout South America and the United States in the desert. They are very awesome to see, but it's best to keep your distance because they have been known to sting humans.
Chinese Water Deer
The Chinese Water Deer, nicknamed 'Vampire Deer,' is an adorable mammal that has prominent tusks, which are actually elongated canine teeth. They use those teeth to eat and to assert dominance over rival males.
They were first discovered in 1870 by Robert Swinhoe. They are solitary animals that are native to fertile river bottoms in Korea and the Yangtze River Valley in China. They are also found in swamps, mountains, grasslands, and open cultivated fields. They are proficient swimmers that can swim many miles.
Australian Peacock Spider
The Australian Peacock Spider is a species in the jumping spider family, and it gets its name because of its vibrant color patterns. The males are the more vibrant of the sexes, using their red, blue, and black-hued extensions to attract mates.
The male performs a mating dance, and the female may attack, kill, and feed on her wooer if she isn't interested. It was first discovered in 2015, inside the woodland forests of Wondul National Park, near Brisbane. The spider can be found in Australia, in the subtropical southwest or southeast of the continent.
The Leafy Seadragon is a relative of the seahorse but is a bit more exotic-looking. It measures about eight to nine inches in length and looks like floating seaweed, which provides them with excellent camouflage in the deep sea.
They hatch and are almost immediately independent until they are ready to breed. The males are the ones that care for the eggs. They can be found along the southern and western coasts of Australia.
The Jabiru looks similar to the Marabou Stork, with an unusual neck. It is the tallest flying bird in Central and South America. They are about five feet tall and can exhibit territorial tendencies.
They typically feed on small mammals, fish, and amphibians. In addition, it has the second largest wingspan and a black and broad beak, which is slightly upturned, ending in a sharp point.
The Narwhal is the closest creature with similar features to the beloved unicorn. They can live up to fifty years and typically die from suffocation after being trapped by sea ice. They are large, standing thirteen to eighteen feet tall, and their impressive tusk can be as large as ten feet.
The males usually grow one or two tusks, with only fifteen percent of females growing them. Narwhals are hard to find but typically found in the Canadian Arctic, swimming throughout the Greenlandic and Russian waters.
Golden Tortoise Beetle
The Golden Tortoise Beetle is a beetle species in the leaf beetle family and is native to the Americas. They vary in color from reddish-brown with black spots to brilliant gold, which earns them the nickname 'goldbug.'
Its color changes throughout its life, such as during mating, times of disturbance, and when touched by a human researcher. Its diet consists of foliage of plants, including bindweeds, morning glory, and sweet potato. They play dead when disturbed.
The Coatimundi, also known as hog-nosed coons, are similar to raccoons. Their pig-like snouts are very flexible and able to rotate up to sixty degrees in any direction. They also use their snouts to push objects and rub parts of their bodies.
They are active both day and night, are strong climbers, and are smart. They are mostly seen in the Americas and feed on fruits, lizards, rodents, and eggs. They are cute and cuddly but reportedly make horrible domestic pets.
The Lilac-Breasted Roller is an African bird that is usually found alone or in pairs. It usually perches at the tops of trees, poles, or any other high spot from where it can spot its prey. It is a small bird, measuring about fifteen inches long, but it is an impressive hunter.
It preys on everything from snails to scorpions to lizards to snakes. In addition, they are very aggressive and will often carry their prey to a perch and beat them until becoming dismembered. They are beautiful birds that can be found in sub-Saharan Africa and the Southern Arabian Peninsula.
The Pangolin is the only known mammal with scales, which keeps predators at bay. When threatened, they roll up into a defensive ball and are protected by their armor-like coating of keratin scales. Sadly, they are one of the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world because their scales are thought to have medicinal powers in parts of Asia. The heavy deforestation of their natural habitats is also endangering them.
Priyan Perera stated, "They are primarily threatened by hunting and poaching. The loss of habitat is also a stress. Elsewhere, they are also trafficked a lot. Our research has also shown the emergence of Sri Lanka as a smuggling gateway to India using boats. Some consumption patterns are also changing here, evolving from subsistence to the meat trade that caters to East Asians. While smuggling of pangolin scales to India is happening, the potential threat lies in the evolving pangolin meat consumption patterns. There is also some online trading of pangolins."
The Echidna is a platypus-like creature and has aquatic ancestry. They look like hedgehogs or porcupines and have electroreceptors on their bills, allowing them to perceive natural electrical stimuli.
They forage on the forest floor for ants and termites and use their long snouts to capture prey. They are found in Australia and New Guinea.
The Riverine Rabbit looks very similar to regular rabbits but lives in much harsher conditions. One very unusual thing about them is their small litter size, as they typically only produce a single offspring. They carve out a living in dry areas and burrow in dry river beds in the Karoo region of South Africa.
They are threatened due to habitat loss and feed primarily on plants and vegetation, which are also being diminished. They are nocturnal, and they produce two different types of droppings.