Strange Animals Japanese Spider Crab
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25+ Frightening & Fascinating Species We Didn't Know Existed

Weird

| LAST UPDATE 12/11/2022

By Daria Appleby

With over 8 million species of living creatures on the planet, it's no wonder we haven't come to terms with every single one. Despite the average turtle or sea crab, these strange organisms exist and are anything but ordinary...

Venezuelan Poodle Moth

It might be difficult to feast our eyes upon this big-eyed and fuzzy friend. Whereas the average moth is attracted to light, similar to butterflies, and eats its way through tasteful clothing, these are a little different.

Weird Animals Poodle MothWeird Animals Poodle Moth
Animal Planet Videos via YouTube

Considering there are 16,000 species of moth, many are yet to be discovered. This little guy was found in 2009 by Dr. Arthur Anker from Venezuela. The alien-looking fur ball is covered from head to wing, around 30-40mm, lives comfortably in the rainforest, and loves to eat plants. Fun fact - its fur is made from soundproofing sugar!

The Red-Lipped Batfish

It's all in the name. This mysterious batfish possesses voluptuous red lips and a spiked triangular-shaped body. They are found near Cocos Island, just off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Although they are considered fish, they're not exactly pro-swimmers and prefer to walk along the seabed.

Galapagos Animals Red Lipped BatfishGalapagos Animals Red Lipped Batfish
Norbert Probst/imageBROKER via Shutterstock

The so-called 'fish' has pectoral fins, aesthetically similar to crab legs, that help the mobility of at least 75 meters underwater. Once the pouty fish reaches a certain age, its single-spine fin fully matures and, together with its head structure, acts as protection but also a magnet for prey. Don't worry, they are harmless to humans.

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Indian Purple Frog

This unique amphibian can be exclusively found in the southern Western Ghats of India, where they were originally identified. We aren't exactly sure how they came about, but their bloated bodies and pointy snouts stemmed from an underground world during monsoon season. Plus, their structure has been discovered as ideal for mating.

Weird Animals Indian Purple FrogWeird Animals Indian Purple Frog
Earth Titan via YouTube

The purple frog was formally identified back in 2003, but also in 1917. Imagine a turtle, just replace its hard exterior with a slimy coating. There are only 135 sightings known, so if ever spotted, grab the camera before it's too late. Don't be scared to get a shot up close, as this frog is far from poisonous despite its jelly-like claws.

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Star-Nosed Mole

Located in North America, these fuzzy creatures have the strangest of appearances. Despite its hedgehog-like body shape and eagle-like claws for feet, the most preposterous aspect is its unique star-shaped nose. This isn't just any nose. It has 22 fleshy appendages predominantly used for prey and the ability to feel surroundings.

Strange Animals Star Nosed MoleStrange Animals Star Nosed Mole
FLPA via Shutterstock

These dark-furred moles are members of the Eulipotyphla and Talpidae families. Its unique nose structure obtains more than 25,000-minute sensory receptors, named Eimer's organs. But, this species is the least of our concerns. Their main habitats are forests or wetlands. Plus, they only live up to 3 or 4 years and pace up to 4mph.

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The Thorny Dragon

This is definitely one for the history books. Not only does this completely throw us off from the average dragon, but the lizard-related species, also known as 'the thorny devil,' is a Moloch. These bizarre creatures grow up to 20cm in length and can live up to 20 years.

Strange Animals Thorny Dragon DevilStrange Animals Thorny Dragon Devil
Andrea Innocenti/REDACO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The florescent yet gradient brown, tan, and yellow shades are used for camouflage. The colors do change, so they might not be easy to always spot, especially among the other Australian creepy crawlies. When the temperatures increase, they tend to be paler, whereas they transform into darker colors during colder days.

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Puss Moth Caterpillar

Although this species is part of the moth family, its appearance begs to differ. It is said the species resembles a Persian cat, covered in soft cat-like fur, yet this fur is nothing we have seen before. Its insect-like appearance is rather off-putting, so we won't be the first to get too close. Where is 'close' exactly?

Weird Species Puss Moth CaterpillarWeird Species Puss Moth Caterpillar
imageBROKER via Shutterstock

Though it might not be difficult to miss its striking colors, they tend to hide in the shade or shrubbery. Though primarily found across the UK, they have a variety of habitats. But, if they're ever spotted in North America, stay away. If pressed against the skin, the venomous hairs cause burning and rashes, with short-term pain.

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The Atlantic Wolffish 

The Seawolf, Atlantic Catfish, Ocean Catfish, Devil Fish, and Wold Eel are known for their breeding behavior. The fish falls under various profiles, but their existence has been slowly declining over the past 20 years. They are predominantly found on the Atlantic Coast from Labrador to Great South Channel and Georges Bank.

Endangered Animals Species Atlantic WolffishEndangered Animals Species Atlantic Wolffish
myLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Its 6 feet in length perhaps explains its survival rate of up to 20 years. Not to mention the camouflage blue coloring fits perfectly with its habitat. However, they do range in color from green to purplish brown. Using their crushing canines and molars, they can demolish clams and lobsters and are capable of painful bites on humans.

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Flower Mantis

This insect is part of the praying mantis species and displays mockery behaviors. Much like flowers that intend to grow and flourish in their natural habitat, their color plays a vital role in survival. Their florescent colors are the perfect imagery to camouflage and protect themselves from predators.

Rare Animals Flower MantisRare Animals Flower Mantis
imageBROKER via Shutterstock

Most of these species belong to the Hymenopodidae family. They can often be found climbing a plant until finding a preferred flower to use for hiding. More importantly, the Southeast Asian mantis will try to camouflage until a prey insect comes close to contact. Though, due to their striking design, they can also frighten off predators.

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Halitrephes Jelly

Travel down underwater to at least 4,000-5,000 feet in depth, and a Halitrephes Jelly can be found. Much like its appearance, it is commonly known as the firework jellyfish. This explosion of color is a part of the Halicreatidae family of the deep-sea hydrozoan and is habitual near the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico.

deep sea creatures Firework Jellyfishdeep sea creatures Firework Jellyfish
Nat Geo WILD via YouTube

For survival, the firework jellyfish live off small food particles, small eggs, larvae, and even other ephyrae. They are about four inches, but their core bell can expand up to ten centimeters. Its shape and form transition when nutrients are distributed throughout the body. Fun fact? Adult firework fish can be kept as pets.

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Blobfish

This blobfish is found near the bottom of the ocean, about 2,000 - 3,9000 feet, and down under off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. This isn't surprising, considering its size and weight. The poor heavy fish has been stereotyped as 'deformed,' but let's just call them a unique blob of gelatinous mass.

Strangest Animals Australia BlobfishStrangest Animals Australia Blobfish
National Geographic via YouTube

Its density is less than water, meaning it can float just above the sea floor. Plus, it doesn't need to use up much energy, which explains its largeness. Unfortunately, they have been dubbed the ugliest fish in the world due to their droopy aesthetic and pressure intake. To each their own - though we should note they are completely harmless.

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Golden Tortoise Beetle

They might look like something out of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, but these creepy crawly bugs are native to the Americans. Although they might look rare, they can be found in the average backyard. So, watch out for those fresh vegetable patches, these guys love sweet potatoes! Still, they're not too easy to spot.

rare species camouflage rainforestrare species camouflage rainforest
Backiris via Getty Images

Although dubbed as 'golden,' this species of tortoise beetle varies in color from reddish-brown with black spots to shiny and metallic gold. The transitions in color are due to the different environmental conditions. For example, if they are mating or disturbed by an insect seeker, these external stresses cause them to turn dark red.

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Sea Pen

Meet the Sea Pen: a sea creature that closely resembles an old-fashioned quill from the mid-19th century. Only this time, instead of ink, the pen feeds on drifting plankton. This quill-like species lives on the sandy seafloor at the bottom of the ocean, yet its tall height of 46cm stands out in the deep blue.

deep sea discovery Sea Pendeep sea discovery Sea Pen
BBC Earth via YouTube

These creatures can be found in waters from the Gulf of Alaska to southern California. The invertebrate species has three types of predators after it, the red star, the leather star, and nudibranchs. Never fear, as a bright green light emits from the creature while eight tentacles are released to fight off any disturbance.

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Dugong

This medium-sized mammal looks like the King of the ocean, but in reality, they are harmless. This giant creature is about 8 to 10 feet and can weigh up to 1100 lbs, so we wouldn't mess with them. They live in the shallow warm coastal waters and, despite their size, are hunted by some of the most killer mammals.

Strangest Animals dugong dolphinsStrangest Animals dugong dolphins
Michal Lindner/Solent News via Shutterstock

Their predators fall under the crocodile, killer whale, and shark categories, which isn't ideal. Yet, their ginormous downward snout and dolphin-like tale helped them scare off any incoming prey, justifying their 70-year lifespan. The sea cow blissfully swims through the Pacific and Indian Oceans, munching on seagrass and always smiling.

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Sea Lamprey

Whereas the typical facial structure consists of a snout, mouth, and body, the lamprey is just one straight line of strange. But let's not ignore its colossal mouth with teeth growing in a ring-like manner. Imagine seeing this 4ft creature in real life. Though, they're typically found in the cool marines of the Northern Hemisphere.

Strange Fish Animals Sea LampreyStrange Fish Animals Sea Lamprey
Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

While sometimes referred to as lamprey eel, they are parasitic fish, meaning they are far from risk. However, the non-parasitic lampreys are more endangered, so try and distinguish the two. These jawless species are generally long tubes of goo that prey on smaller fish with their 150 teeth, while larger fish are their own predators.

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Naked Mole-Rat

Also known as the sand puppy, the naked-mole rat is defined by its existence. The hairless rodent is mainly found in East Africa, around Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. The species carries a list of odd physical traits, from its claw-like teeth peeking out from its snouts to its wrinkled pink skin - hence the term 'naked.'

Strange Animals Naked Mole RatStrange Animals Naked Mole Rat
Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The 3 to 13-inch animal lives for around 25-32 years. This might be due to the fact they're cold-blooded, with almost zero pain sensitivity. Considering their lips are sealed behind their teeth while they're munching on roots, no dirt can enter the mouth. They still better watch out, they're predators are themselves!

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Cantor's Giant Softshell Turtle

It's time to feast our eyes upon this remarkable turtle. This species crawls along the coasts of Southeast Asia but is primarily close to the Yangtze River in China. They are the biggest freshwater turtles in the world, weighing between 150 to 220 kg, and are over 100cm in length - so these turtles can be ruled out as pets.

Remarkable Animal Species Giant TurtleRemarkable Animal Species Giant Turtle
Visual China Group via Getty Images

Its broad head sticks out of its large shell, which takes up the majority of its surface area. It's strange to think with such a large body, it has the smallest eyes, but its heads are usually buried and only pop out twice a day to breathe. Plus, it's a good time to take a bite to eat - fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

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Aye-Aye

This guy kind of looks like something out of the animated movie Madagascar, which sounds about right, as this species is native to the East Africa location. They are the world's largest nocturnal primate, before the monkeys, and obtain some of the most bizarre characteristics that contribute to survival.

Strange Animals Aye Aye PrimateStrange Animals Aye Aye Primate
Rob Cousins/Bristol Zoo via Getty Images

Their rodent-like teeth, which grow rather fast, accompanied by their beady eyes, are just the beginning. Considering their bat-like hands, they have one long middle finger in particular. They will use their teeth to gnarl into trees through the wood, then their magic long finger is used to pull out food.

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Giant Isopod

This giant insect is perhaps everyone's worst nightmare. This species is one out of the 20 largest of the existing isopod species. But, surprisingly, they aren't exactly bugs. They are distantly related to shrimp and crabs, sharing the same habitat of the cold deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Strange Animals Giant IsopodStrange Animals Giant Isopod
British Antarctic Survey via Shutterstock

Isopods are bottom feeders that swim as deep as 550 to 7020 ft deep. So, we don't have to worry about ever stepping on the creepy crawly. They are typically 7.5 to 4.2 inches in length but can scarily grow even bigger. They tend to survive on dead animals that fall from above but can survive without food for up to 5 years.

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Yeti Crab

The Yeti Crab is also known as a Kiwa hirsuta. Their tan shell and fur are made up of silky blond setae that are layered over their legs and claws, much like a regular crab. Strangely enough, they are thought to be blind due to their small eyes and pigmented skin, making them seem completely camouflaged.

Camouflaged Strange Animals Yeti CrabCamouflaged Strange Animals Yeti Crab
Ben G Thomas via YouTube

They are marine decapods, meaning they are prone to living in the coldest and deepest of waters. The furry lobster can only walk up to 3mph and have a lifespan of up to 20 years. Although, this is a given as their diet mainly consists of bacteria and mussels, so we wouldn't say it is the most nutritious.

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Goblin Shark

Although sharks are often known as the kings of the ocean, there's an even more daunting species. They have been re-named as a 'living fossil,' as they are the rarest form of the Mitsukurinidae family and represent a structure of 125 million years old. They swim as deep as 330ft, so thankfully, they can't hunt humans.

oldest animals Goblin Shark living fossiloldest animals Goblin Shark living fossil
National Geographic via YouTube

Their elongated snouts overlap their jaws that open wide enough to swallow whole fish, rattails, and dragonfish. Plus, it's not so easy to outswim them as they travel as fast as 15mph. Although, they might want to watch out for their fellow species, being their own predators. This species can be found mainly off the coasts of Japan.

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Sea Pig

Also known as Scoutplanes, they have been dubbed as sea cucumbers, habitual to the floors of the ocean, specifically the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These jelly-like species can travel as low as 1000 meters, 3280.84 ft. They originate from a group of marine animals coming from the same family as sea urchins and starfish.

weird underwater animals Sea Pigweird underwater animals Sea Pig
WIRED via YouTube

They first got their name thanks to their striking appearance. They have stumpy, puffy legs with oval-shaped pink bodies and are around 4 to 6 inches long - small enough to fit in the palm of our hands. These bottom feeders have been known to scientists for at least 100 years and were first identified in 1982.

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Japanese Spider Crab

This rare species might seem like something out of a horror movie. Thankfully, in accordance with their name, the Japanese spider crap lives comfortably in the waters near Japan as deep as 18ft. These are considered ancient monsters, and though they may look highly ferocious, they are known to be very gentle.

danegrous animals Japanese Spider Crabdanegrous animals Japanese Spider Crab
Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

There is only one type of Japanese spider crab. They weigh around 42 pounds, have the largest leg span of 12.5 ft out of all arthropods, and can live up to 100 years. They tend to live off plants, algae, shrimp, and small fish. Despite their intimidating appearance, larger fish, stingrays, and octopus live to prey on them.

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Honduran White Bat

Also known as the Caribbean white tent-making bat, this is a species found in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and western regions of Panama. Still a part of the bat family, this is a specifically unique type. The distinct white fur and yellow leaf-shaped nose with matching ears occur in only three out of the 1,300 species of bats.

rare animals south america rainforest rare animals south america rainforest
Crazy Creatures via YouTube

They personally build the tents they hide in during the day by cutting their veins and extending them from large leaves. Not to mention, these plants are cut directly with their tiny teeth. If anything ordinary, they love to nibble on fruit, particularly figs! This vulnerable species was first discovered in 1898 and again in 1963.

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Panda Ant

This unique species of ant closely resembles Tim Burton's aesthetic of German expressionism, known as modern art. This insect really doesn't look real, possessing the same pattern as a panda bear but the physique of an ordinary ant. Its formation is similar to a wingless wasp, while females have thicker fur and lack wings.

weird creatures Panda Antweird creatures Panda Ant
Facts Junkie via YouTube

Also known as the cow-killers, these fuzzy guys only live for about two years. They are a part of the Mutillidae family, a group with more than 7,000 species of those similar to wingless wasps. Specifically, these ants are relatives of the velvet ants, which makes sense. They lay eggs and grow inside the host to ensure survival.

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Glass Frog

This see-through species can be found in South America. They look highly majestic and stand out from the average amphibian, considering their unique lime-green appearance. The internal viscera is visible through the skin, hence the transparent related name, Glass Frog. They can also go by the name Leaf Frog or Tree Frog.

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Juan Carlos Vindas via Getty Images

Their biggest threat to survival is rainforest deforestation, as they mainly prey on small insects and other smaller frogs that wouldn't exist any longer if humans took action. Still, besides humans, they need to look out for birds, snakes, small mammals, and frog flies which aim to attack eggs. They live for about 10 to 14 years.

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Axolotl

This bright light of the forest is known as the Mexican Walking Fish or the Mexican salamander. They are considered one of the most unusual species of salamanders in the world, and although referred to as fish, they are definitely amphibians. They are found primarily in Mexico and live in fresh waters such as lakes and ponds.

Axolotl Mexican Walking FishAxolotl Mexican Walking Fish
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Though small, approximately 6 to 18 inches, they travel quickly for their size at around 10 mph. Their speed helps them capture prey such as worms, tadpoles, insects, and small fish, which tend to move at lightning speed to escape from predators. Fun fact: They can grow back lost limbs and regenerate lungs and parts of the brain.

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Gobi Jerboa

This little fury and bug-eyed friends are found in China and Mongolia. They are rodent-type species but live comfortably in the desert rather than in the streets and sewage. They were first discovered in 1925 by Glover Morrill Allen, who noted down their highly distinctive features.

Mongolia China Animals Gobi JerboaMongolia China Animals Gobi Jerboa
Visual China Group via Getty Images

This tiny majestic species of the animal kingdom has ears at least three times the size of their heads and five toes. They are rather shy and tend to keep to themselves in habitual spaces, so it's difficult for researchers to investigate further. Yet, we do know they prey on insects and are preyed on by foxes, snakes, owls, and cats.

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Pacu

No, this isn't a Piranha - it's a vegetarian Piranha! Instead of deathly sharp teeth, they possess the same shape as humans - square-cut and not as lethal. They are mainly found in tropical regions such as South America, but also in the USA, Europe, and Asia, and can live up to 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.

Strange Animals Pacu piranhaStrange Animals Pacu piranha
MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

They love freshwater rivers and lakes and survive off fruit, seeds, grains, snails, and other small fish. Although they are nowhere as vicious as the average Piranha, their main predators are large birds and crocodiles, are not afraid of them. Fun and reassuring fact - they will almost never bite a human.

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Maned Wolf

Although highly similar to a werewolf, their appearance begs to differ. The Maned Wolf is a member of the dog family and the largest species found in South America. Though they resemble the same configuration as foxes, these guys are highly scared and shy around humans. Plus, they're a lot taller, considering their long legs.

Largest Deadliest Animals Maned WolfLargest Deadliest Animals Maned Wolf
Jurgen Christine Sohns/Flpa/imageBROKER via Shutterstock

They prefer to walk along grasslands and the occasional forest stroll. This canid usually lives up to 15 years, but this depends on captivity. Otherwise, it is unknown. Their majestic red tan and black mane stand out, especially when they're trotting at 35mph. To spot them, don't listen for a howl but instead a high-amplitude whine.

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Irrawaddy Dolphin

These species resonate with oceanic dolphins. They live in small populations throughout southeast Asia, perfect for them to find the perfect mix of freshwater and salt water. Unlike other elongated dolphins, this species possesses a rather round head but with no beak. Although, their aquatic smiles can't go unnoticed.

Marine wildlife Irrawaddy DolphinMarine wildlife Irrawaddy Dolphin
Xinhua via Shutterstock

The Irrawaddy dolphin can live up to 30 years, surviving off fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Unfortunately, the sharks of the ocean take advantage of their friendly faces, acting as main predators, and 16mph can't outswim the kings of the ocean. Fun fact - they're mammals and don't have gills, so they must breathe air to survive.

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