10 Weird animals You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

Animals come in all shapes and sizes, some of which are so unique that they defy imagination. While some of these strange animals might look like creatures from another planet, most of them are actually found in our oceans, forests, and jungles right here on Earth. One example is the axolotl, a creature often referred to as the Mexican Walking Fish because it’s actually an amphibian (albeit one that stays in its larval form). Axolotls are also endangered, and it’s been estimated that only 30,000 of them remain in existence today.

Sparklemuffin

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Jurgen Otto

The Sparklemuffin is a tiny hummingbird that lives in Madagascar and feeds primarily on cyanobacteria, which most birds can’t tolerate. The purple and green plumage of its feathers make it resemble a ripe blueberry, which makes sense, given that it spends most of its time flitting around rainforests eating berries.

They’re so elusive that only a few people have seen them in their natural habitat—most pictures have been taken with remote cameras. Scientists were only able to confirm their existence due to wing feather samples found at suspected nesting sites. If you want to see one in person, your best bet is Antananarivo’s Parc National de Ranomafana or Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

Axolotl

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I’m sure you’ve heard of axolotls, but if not they are fascinating creatures that are part of a small family of salamanders. These guys can regenerate limbs and live for up to 20 years.

They have almost no predators (only snakes and large fish) and make their home in Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City. It is illegal to own one as a pet or even kill one because of its importance to the local ecology. If you’re interested in seeing one, check out Chapultepec Zoo’s axolotl exhibit!

Naked Mole Rat

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Naked mole rats may look like a cross between a rat and an anteater, but they’re actually pretty amazing little critters. The naked mole-rat can live for more than 30 years, way longer than any other rodent of similar size. And these guys don’t just live long; they’re also in excellent health.

Their age-adjusted mortality rate is only 5 percent—less than half that of mice and 75 times lower than humans, reports ScienceDaily. These little creatures never get cancer either; not even when researchers bombarded them with cancer-causing chemicals.

Pangolin

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Known as one of Earth’s weirdest animals, pangolins are a type of anteater found in parts of Asia and Africa. They look like a cross between an armadillo and an artichoke. When threatened, they curl up into a ball with their scales covering them completely.

The appearance of a pangolin is so strange that it has been compared to prehistoric creatures from fantasy books! Found mainly in southern Africa, these shy creatures tend to be nocturnal, so spotting one during daylight hours is pretty rare. The easiest way to see them is by venturing out at night when they venture out to feed on ants and termites.

Tasmanian Devil

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This is definitely a mammal that you don’t see every day. The echidna looks like a cross between a porcupine and an anteater and is only found in Australia. Native to Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, there are two species of echidna – long-beaked echidnas (Zaglossus bruijni) and short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus).

Though they prefer being solitary animals, short-beaked echidnas have been known to live in groups of up to ten when residing in captivity. The short-beaked kind can reach sizes of 40 centimeters or 16 inches in length with weights up to 4 kilograms or 9 pounds.

Echidna

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The echidna, or spiny anteater, is a truly strange creature. While it may resemble an anteater in appearance, there’s one major difference: it lays eggs. In fact, it lays some of the largest eggs of any known mammal. Despite its fearsome exterior, though, it’s actually a gentle creature that feeds exclusively on ants and termites.

They are mostly solitary creatures that only come together to mate and create new offspring once a year. Though they can be found throughout Australia and New Guinea, they can also be spotted in parts of Indonesia and China.

Harpy Eagle

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The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a powerful, large raptor. Native to Central and South America, they’re also found in parts of Mexico and northern Brazil. Despite their huge size, they’re one of few birds that prey on monkeys! Harpy eagles build their nests high up in tall trees, making them difficult to spot if you aren’t looking closely for them.

The best place to see a harpy eagle in its natural habitat is in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Thanks to conservation efforts by locals, there are an estimated 8-10 pairs living in Costa Rica and another 3 pairs on Colombia’s Emerald Coast.

Coatimundi

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At first glance, a coatimundi looks like a raccoon—but in fact, they are more closely related to weasels. These unusual animals are found throughout Central and South America. They’re popular in zoos due to their curiosity and high intelligence. Due to habitat loss and poaching, coatimundis are considered an endangered species today.

If you ever find yourself with a day off in Belize, why not take a tour of Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary? They have several coatimundis on display for visitors’ enjoyment! Just don’t try to pet them; it will get you into big trouble with their sharp claws!

Jabiru Stork

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Native to Australia, New Guinea, and nearby areas of Indonesia, the Southern Cassowary is an elusive bird that hides in dense rainforests. It’s a large bird with black plumage and blue-green feathers on its neck; it’s also got a distinctive bright blue head crest. The Cassowary is an omnivore—it eats both plant matter and small animals—and reaches speeds of up to 25 miles per hour when it runs.

In addition to being fast, these birds are aggressive protectors of their young and will kick or run at anything they perceive as a threat; they also have razor-sharp claws that can cause serious damage if one attacks you.

Southern Cassowary

If you thought ostriches were strange, check out their little cousins, southern cassowaries. These flightless birds are found in Australia and New Guinea, but only in certain regions of both countries. Cassowaries can grow up to six feet tall and weigh more than 150 pounds. What’s even stranger is that they lay eggs much like a chicken would!

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