What is that?? The most common response when we found some of the weirdest animals in the world. Here are our favourite 15!
Sneezing monkeys – These monkeys were discovered only recently in Myanmar in the Eastern Himalayas. They have odd upturned noses, but because of this, water gets into their nostrils quickly (especially on rainy days), and they begin to sneeze! If you ever come across one, don’t forget to say “Bless you!”
Potoo – These nocturnal birds live in the American tropics. They are named after their odd wail-like cry, “po-too”. With their black and brown feathers, they camouflage well into trees and bark and is one of the reasons that they are hard to observe.
Red-lipped batfish – These unusual fish are found near the ancient Galapagos Islands. Its ruby red lips are presumed to be used to, you guessed it, attract partners of the opposite sex for mating. It is a terrible swimmer but can instead, walk on the ocean floor with its pectoral fins.
Chinese giant salamander – The Chinese giant salamanders are the world’s largest living amphibians. And they go back centuries – apparently, their relatives were around in the Jurassic age nearly 170 million years ago! Though they were worshipped in ancient China, today they are an endangered species in need of protection.
Axolotl – These animals belong to the salamander family as well. They are found only in the lake complex of Xochimilco near Mexico City. Their numbers in the wild are fast declining, but there are more in captivity because they can do a pretty neat trick – regrow their limbs! Become of this, they have been used in labs for research on tissue repair and cancer.
Glaucus Atlanticus – This creature is a beautiful blue sea slug. While it is not poisonous on its own, it feeds off other toxic animals and then stores deadly chemicals or stinging cells from its prey to its own skin and uses then to ward off its own predators! Brains and beauty!
Dumbo Octopus – These little octopuses are not dumb but are named because their fins look like Disney’s Dumbo the Elephant’s ears. They belong to a species called umbrella octopuses, whose arms are webbed and therefore look like umbrellas when they are spread out. Though they are found in many parts of the world, their main hangouts are near New Zealand, Australia, California, the Philippines and New Guinea.
Sunda Flying Lemur – This native of South East Asia is not really a lemur but a ‘colugo’. And it doesn’t actually fly, it does a more graceful glide. It can glide for up to 100m and an ace amongst its rank, one little guy, even did 136m – that’s the distance of nine bus lengths!!
Glass Frog – Imagine having a see-through body. That’s what the aptly named glass frog has. Through its translucent body, you can see its heart, liver, stomach and if its a female, even its eggs!
Panda Ant – This ant is a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks adorable, but its sting is super painful, though not deadly. Its colours are aposematic – which means markings serving to warn or repel predators and they can be found mainly in Chile and Argentina.
Japanese Spider Crab – These absurdly enormous crabs can weigh up to 44 pounds and can grow to have a leg span of thirteen feet !! They can also live up to 100 years! Since they can’t exactly hide their size, they cover themselves with kelp and other bottom-of-the ocean stuff and lie in wait for their prey.
Hoatzin – The hoatzin is one of South America’s oddest citizens. It is commonly known as the stinkbird because its unusual digestion method releases an unpleasant smell that keeps poachers miles away! They are also known for their clumsy movements and raucous behaviour. A wild creature for sure!
Orchid Mantis – Pretty as a flower, the orchid mantises is a master of cryptic mimicry – it looks exactly like an orchid and hides among its petals, pouncing on insects that are attracted by the flower.
Yeti Crab – The Yeti Crab lives in the South Pacific ocean and is named after the famous snow monster, the Yeti. There is a reason it has such hairy arms – the hair catches all sorts of bacteria that lives and grows on the crab, which it very conveniently, uses for food.
Blob Fish – Blobfishes live 9,200 ft beneath the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The pressure at this depth is immense. To survive in the harsh conditions, they have incredibly soft bones, that don’t break under pressure. They also have gelatinous flesh to stay afloat and are very happy deep underwater. If brought to the surface though, their bodies turn against them expanding into a blobby, gooey mess.
Written by: Pereena Lamba. Pereena is a freelance writer, editor and creative consultant. She is also co-author of Totally Mumbai.