The world is full of weird and wonderful sights including the flora and fauna that make up the lifeforms on Earth. Sometimes, these creatures are so strange it's hard to believe they exist but they do and here we look at some of the most ridiculous of the creatures that reside on this fair planet.
Some you may have heard of, others perhaps not but all of them are real and exist in this amazing world of ours.
Pangolin are scaly anteaters that can flick out their ridiculous long tongues to probe termite nests for food and are known to curl up into balls when threatened, using their hardened scales as a form of armor to protect themselves fro predators. These scales are made of keratin (the same stuff that makes up your hair) and are the only known mammals with such an adaptation.
Now an endangered species because their scales are highly prized by some in medicine and deforestation is threatening their homes. In 1820 King George III of England was presented with an armor vest made of pangolin scales but nowadays such items would be considered highly unethical and extremely illegal.
Is it a cat? Is it a bear? Is it a ferret? No, that's a fossa. A cat-like mammal native to Madagascar, it's classification as a Eupleridae has caused debate amongst the scientific community as physical traits resemble those of cats, yet other traits suggest a close relationship with civets. Found in Madagascar, it is closely related to the mongoose family and is largest mammalian carnivore on the island of Madagascar.
Active at both day and night, the Fossa mostly hunts lemurs and lives solely in forested areas where it uses its powerful claws to climb trees in order to hunt its prey.
3. Lilac-Breasted Roller
A bird found across sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Arabia, this multi-colored creature feeds off of insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents and looks fabulous whilst doing so. Often found on its own or in pairs rather than in flocks, it is rarely found in treeless areas and has become the national bird of Kenya.
A non-migratory species of birds, it can often be found perched up high along the edges of roads, scanning for insects to eat.
4. Glaucus Atlanticus
The Glaucus Atlanticus or Blue Glaucus is a type of sea slug that has finger like fins that help it move in water. picking it up can result in a very nasty sting. Also known as a sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, blue dragon, blue sea slug and blue ocean slug, the creature is not actually poisonous itself but feeds on such things as the venomous siphonophore, the Portuguese man o' war and stores their poison in its cells in order to use as a defence.
Reaching around 3cm in length, the slug drifts in water and has a blue topside and silver underside so as to remain camouflaged in its watery surroundings. Picking one of these up could result in a nasty, and potentially dangerous, sting.
5. Bush Viper
This snake is found in rainforests and has overlapping scales that stand slightly on end to create this rough effect you can see. Coming in a variety of colors, they are venomous snakes which can cause severe pain and blood clotting. Found only in tropical sub-Saharan Africa they reside in rainforests away from humans and living off of amphibians, lizards, rodents, birds, and even other snakes.
With their habitat becoming increasingly sparser they are rapidly becoming an endangered species although they have been known to take well to captivity needing only arboreal access and having no particular temperature requirement.
Hopping rodents that live in the dessert, these gerbil's on stilts have long legs and massive ears to detect and then escape from predators and can run up to 24kmph. Found throughout Northern Africa and Asia east to northern China and Manchuria, their large ears provide excellent hearing in order to help them detect predators such as owls.
Mostly eating plants and insects, they burrow into the sand of their surroundings for shelter and hibernate during the winter months.
7. Dumbo Octopus
The Grimpoteuthis is better known as the Dumbo Octopus because of its ear-like fins that stick out above its head, helping it to maneuver in water. Found living at extreme depths of 3,000 to 4,000 meters (9,800 to 13,100 ft) with some living up to 7,000 meters (23,000 ft) below sea level which is the deepest of any known octopus.
Extremely rare, they have been found across the globe and often hover above the sea floor waiting to pounce on prey which they will swallow whole.
8. Goblin Shark
This pink-skinned, deep sea shark has a long, flat protruding snout and highly protrusible jaws. With a lineage of around 125 million years, it is basically a living fossil. It's long nose-like plate can actually sense electrical activity produced by prey that it hunts along the sea floor. Very rare, these creatures are rarely caught or sighted.
Found in all three major oceans, its distribution is not entirely known due to its rarity but it is thought to be widespread.
9. Indian Purple Frog
Spending most of its time underground, this gelatinous goop of a being emerges only during monsoon season to mate and then returns below the surface to feed on termites. Found in the Western Ghats area of India, it was only officially discovered in 2003 due to the fact it comes out during monsoon season when few field scientists are about.
Its tadpoles are eaten by local tribesmen and little remains known about these creatures.
10. Hummingbird Hawk-Moth
A moth that hovers by flowers like a hummingbird might, it uses it's extraordinarily long nose to drink the nectar and unlike other moths, flies during the day and even during rain. Found in warmer climates, it travels further during summer periods they are known as are known as "hummingbird moths" in the US, and "bee moths" in Europe.
Fond of nectar-rich flowers, it has been known to be able to distinguish between different colors.
11. Desert Rain Frog
A round frog, with spade-like feet that lives in between sand dunes, it has a transparent stomach allowing its internal organs to be seen and due to its natural habitat, often has sand stuck to its skin. Found in coastal regions of Namibia and South Africa, it is threatened by habitat loss and is listed as vulnerable on the threatened species list.
With a vocalization akin to a series of high-pitched squeaks, it sounds something like a squeaky toy.
12. Maned Wolf
Found in the grasslands of South America, this wolf has adapted to its environment with its elegant long legs and dark mane.It also apparently has a distinctive scent it sprays to mark its territory that has gained it the nickname 'skunk wolf'. A near-threatened animal, its long legs are due to its present in tall grasslands.
With an erectile mane, it displays it when feeling threatened or when showing aggression and, unlikely other wolves, does not form packs.
13. Peacock Mantis Shrimp
The mantis shrimp is a water crustacean that can come in vivid colors and are known to be aggressive, solitary creatures which seems odd since they look like they want a bit of attention. Some of the largest specimens can break aquarium glass by striking it, and can do further damage by burrowing in live rock.
With a voracious appetite, they can break through rock in order to burrow into it and have been known to sneak into aquariums via rock and eat the other inhabitants.
This animal looks like a zebra-pig hybrid but is actually more closely related to giraffes. Essentially solitary beasts they are herbivores that roam Central Africa and can be found in rainforests in the region although a loss of habitat has left them endangered alongside hunting them for their skin. Standing at 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall at the shoulder, it feeds off of shoots and leaves.
Male Okapi near horns whilst females do not but tend to be larger than the males.
15. Patagonian Mara
A large rodent that looks somewhat like a rabbit crossed with a Yorkshire terrier, it lives in Argentina and forages on the Patagonian hills, sending almost half of its day feeding. A monogamous breeder, it often shares warrens with other coupled Mara and is a near threatened species greatly affected by hunting and habitat alteration.
Mara will often dig dens in order to raise their young away from the communal warrens they will share when breeding.
A long necked antelope found in the horn of Africa, this giraffe gazelle is around a meter tall and feeds mostly on foliage and bushes.It can reach higher branches and twigs better than other gazelles and antelopes by standing erect on its hind legs and elongating its neck and its pointed mouth means it often has better luck extracting leaves and foliage from thorny or rough branches.
Found in northeastern Tanzania through Kenya and Somalia, Males have distinctive lyre-shaped horns.
17. Pink Fairy Armadillo
An armadillo found in the deserts and plains of Argentina, it has a pinkish armor shell on its back and large scoop hands to burrow into the sand. Mostly nocturnal, it lives off of insects, worms and snails. The smallest species of armadillo, it's shell is actually flexible so that it can curl into a tight ball if feeling threatened.
On the near threatened list, most conservation efforts to protect the armadillo have, so far, been unsuccessful as the animal is highly subject to stress, thus modifications to its environments or attempts to relocate can trigger such a response.
18. Red-Lipped Batfish
Not particularly adept at swimming, this fish leaps around on the ocean floor around the Galapagos islands using its adapted pectoral fins to launch itself off the ground. On top of the batfish's head is an extendable part called an illicium that it uses to lure prey towards them much like angler fish as the tip of the illicium lights up and draws smaller prey in.
Harmless to humans, their red lips distinguish them from other types of batfish during breeding seasons.
19. Saiga Antelope
Found in Russia and Kazakhstan, this antelope has an elephant-like snout and males have horns that they do battle with come mating season. Now critically endangered these strange beasts may not be long for this world as they originally inhabited a large swathe of the Eurasian Steppe and part of North America but are now only found in the aforementioned areas.
Hunted to extinction in places like Romania and Moldova, their numbers improved in the 1950s, but after the immediate collapse of the USSR they dropped off dramatically again as laws between borders and restrictions were in disarray as newly independent countries sought to impose their own rule.
A massive African bird with a bill that looks much like a clog (hence the name), it scoops up fish and freshwater in its massive bill and defecates on its own legs in order to keep cool in the hot sun. Also known as the whalehead, lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia using its impressive beak to catch and devour fish.
Noted for its ability to stay still for long periods of time, it has been called statue-like by some when waiting for prey.
21. Tufted Deer
Mainly found in Asia, these deer have a black tuft on their head and fang-like canines that make them seem like vampiric muntjac.It is only the males who have these protruding fangs but all have the black tuft that gives them an Elvis-esque quiff and they are found over a wide area of central China northeastern Myanmar.
These deer are considered near threatened due to over-hunting and severe loss of habitat.
22.Sunda Flying Lemur
Despite the name, it is not a lemur and does not fly. Instead, this bath mat with a head spreads itself so it can glide from tree to tree. A confident climber, it is pretty helpless once on the ground and thus is a forest dependent species. Found throughout Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Loss of habitat through deforestation and local subsistence hunting has threatened the creature which is now protected by much national legislation.
The Chevrotain is also known as a mouse-deer because of its small stature and timid nature. Found in forests in South and Southeast Asia, with a single species in the rainforests of Central and West Africa, it has spindly legs to hold up its rotund body and elongated canine teeth. Extremely solitary, they are often found on their own or living in pairs.
Most Chevrotain subside solely on foliage but one specific species, known as water chevrotain, eats crabs and insects on occasion and has been known to scavenge meat.