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Strange Animals of the World

Updated on February 11, 2020
Laurie Bennett profile image

Laurie is an animal lover who enjoys observing, researching, and writing about both pets and wildlife.

The world is full of amazing, beautiful and strange animals! In this article, we'll be focusing on the bizarre side of nature. I hope you enjoy reading and learning about these creepy, cool and weird creatures!

Brazilian Treehopper

Brazilian Treehopper
Brazilian Treehopper

The Brazilian treehopper (Bocydium globulare), is a very bizarre, helicopter looking insect belonging to the treehopper family. They are most commonly found in Africa, North and South America, Australia and Asia.

At first glance one would assume the globes at the top of its "antennae" are eyes but they're actually just chitin, a fibrous substance consisting of polysaccharides and forming the majority of the exoskeleton in arthropods and the cell walls of fungi.

It's been believed they're for attracting mates, but oddly, the females of this species also adorn these strange globes. Some say they're a false head for protection, but this has never been witnessed as being true.

The most commonly agreed on hypothesis is that the globes have evolved to mimic the devastating effects of a parasitic fungus called "Ophiocordyceps unilateralis", which invades the bodies of ants and then bursts out of the poor insect, creating similar "structures", usually through the dead insects head. The Brazilian treehopper is then left alone because predators won't risk ingesting the fungus themselves!


Lowland Streaked Tenrec

Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Lowland Streaked Tenrec

The lowland streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) is a small mammal found exclusively in Madagascar, in tropical lowland rain forests. They usually grow to about 5 1/2 inches but some have been recorded to reach almost 7 inches!

There is a stripe that runs down the little head, along with one back and two side stripes that mark the length of the body and likely serves as a warning to predators.

This adorable but odd animal has quills that are longer and more numerous on the head and neck area while the underbelly area contains few to no quills, but have the ability to detach for defense!

Giant Isopod

Giant Isopod
Giant Isopod

A giant isopod is any one of almost 20 species of large isopods. Relatives of crustaceans in the genus bathynomus. They are most prevalent in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Bathynomus giganteus is commonly considered THE giant isopod although other species often grow as large. Interestingly enough, giant isopods closely resemble their much smaller relatives, the common woodlouse! AKA pill bugs and rollie pollies! They even roll into defensive balls, how cute!

The deepest recorded depth for any giant isopod is 8,200 ft for B. kensleyi, but this species also occurs as shallow as 980 ft. Some shallow water species are even kept as pets!


Paradise Flying Snake

Paradise Flying Snake
Paradise Flying Snake

See the "flying" snake in action!

For a lot of people, the thought of flying snakes is a nightmare, however the Paradise Flying Snake is an absolutely fascinating animal indigenous to southeast Asia.

Like all species of its genus, chrysopelea, the Paradise Flying Snake glides by stretching the body into a flattened shape. They use aerial undulation to maximize the distance they travel. Slo-mo photography (see video above) shows that undulation of the snake's body in flight while the head remains stable, suggesting controlled flight!

These cool snakes are mildly venomous with rear fangs, yet also constrict prey consisting of mostly bats and lizards.

Panda Ant

Panda Ant
Panda Ant

The Panda Ant, (Euspinolia militaris), is actually not an ant at all! It's actually a wingless wasp! This species was first discovered in 1938. It lives in the Chilean forests at Coquimbo.

Besides its bold warning colors, the panda ant also has other defense mechanisms such as a painful sting (females are only capable of stinging), and the ability to produce audible squeaking once its body sends distress signals to organs in the abdomen (stridulation).

Females possess thicker fur than males but lack the wings the males posses. When fully grown, they can reach up to 8 mm in length. The panda ant exhibit sexual dimorphism, making it difficult to see that the two sexes are actually the same species unless they are seen actually mating. After mating, the females find an insect nest, such as a wasp or bee nest, and deposits one egg close to each pupa or larva already in the nest. The young panda ant eventually kills their immobile host within just a few days time.

While baby panda ants may be vicious to unsuspecting pupa and larva, adults feed mostly on nectar.

Sea Pig

Sea Pig
Sea Pig

Scotoplanes, or "Sea Pigs" are relatives of deep-sea cucumbers. They mostly live in deep ocean bottoms, specifically the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, at depths of over 3,900ft!

These cute yet weird little animals demonstrate strong preferences for rich, organic food that has freshly fallen from the ocean's surface. It uses olfaction (smell) to locate its favorite food sources such as sinking whale corpses and other fresh carcasses.

Up to 600 Sea Pigs have been seen living together in herds or trawls. They are often a host to parasitic invertebrates and even tiny crabs are commonly seen hitching rides on them.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Sri Lanka Frogmouth
Sri Lanka Frogmouth

The Sri Lanka Frogmouth, (Batrachostomus moniliger) is an amazing little bird native to the western mountains of Sri Lanka and southern India as well as more recently, Australia. They can reach 9 inches in length and, compared to other birds in their genus, they have pretty small wings.

Their impressive camouflage protects them by helping them blend in with dried leaves. These birds roost quietly on branches, making them difficult to see. Each has a favorite roosting spot that it uses regularly unless the nest is disturbed. When alarmed it slowly moves its head, pointing its bill upward, and can easily be mistaken for a broken tree branch. It relies on this "crypsis" and will often stay in this position for a long time before making a safe escape.

Long-Wattled Umbrellabird

Long-Wattled Umbrellabird
Long-Wattled Umbrellabird

The long-wattled umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger), is a very odd looking bird endemic to southwest Colombia, to the province of El Oro in Ecuador. They eat mostly fruit and sometimes invertebrates and small vertebrates.

Males are distinguished by a large wattle of throat feathers. Females and juveniles have no or a much smaller wattle. The length of the wattle can be controlled, and can be retracted during flight.

Due to loss of habitat, hunting and trapping, the species has been classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

Did you discover a new animal in this article?

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© 2020 Laurie Bennett

Comments

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    • Laurie Bennett profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurie Bennett 

      2 weeks ago

      So glad you enjoyed it Bushra! Agreed, Panda ants are adorable!

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Bushra Iqbal 

      2 weeks ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Aw, that panda ant is so cute! Thank you for an enjoyable read!

    • Laurie Bennett profile imageAUTHOR

      Laurie Bennett 

      3 weeks ago

      VERY weird lol! But pretty cool!

    • wahponywoo2 profile image

      Steven 

      3 weeks ago from Las Vegas

      wt? the Brazilian treehopper is weird!

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