Our beautiful Blue Planet is home to a staggering variety of life that ranges from the simplest, single-celled amoeba to the most complex and advanced mammals. We interact with a variety of these species on a daily basis, whether its swatting away an annoying fly, taking your dog for a run or giving your husband a pat on the back for being civil to your mom, even when she chews him out for not being Brad Pitt.
Then of course there are those species we only get to see on the odd occasion – perhaps at the zoo, on safari or even in your own backyard if you’re lucky (or unlucky depending on your worldview). Bears, raccoons, porcupines, deer, wild cats, monkeys… the world is full of places where human and beast regularly brush shoulders with each other. Unfortunately, it’s rarely for the good of the beast or for your neighborhood’s aesthetics.
However, this blog isn’t about any of these critters. This blog is about the truly exceptional and outlandish; the animals you’ve probably NEVER heard of and that make you “ooh,” “aah” and “UGH, what IS that?” And so I present to you: Earth’s 10 weirdest animals according to me and my life experiences, environmental exposure and current opinion on what is normal and what isn’t, which is dodgy to say the very least.
If you like your hamsters supersized, here’s a great pet for you! Capybaras are the largest rodents on the planet and are not only coveted by South American tribes for their meat and fat, but also by slightly more civilized folk for their company. That’s right: it’s not unusual to find families with a pet capybara taking up the majority of the TV room couch. These gargantuan rodents may wear a perpetual expression on their hairy faces that could only be described as morose or philosophical at best, but capybaras are chipper creatures that enjoy recreational swimming, hanging out with friends and lumbering about sniffing out jungle floor delicacies.
Close Relatives Include: Rock cavies and guinea pigs
Physical Address: South America
It’s On This List Because: Capybaras are the largest rodents on the planet and they look like giant hamsters.
Amazon River Dolphin
What’s pink, wet and slippery?
The Amazon River dolphin, of course! And you thought I was being rude.
This particular species of odontoceti or “toothed whale” is also aptly known as the pink river dolphin for its rather strange color, which is (can you believe it) PINK! They’re also the largest river dolphins and are as unfussy about what they put in their mouths as a broke hooker. The Amazon River dolphin’s diet includes more than 50 different kinds of fish and, if they happen to come across them, crabs and turtles, too. Unfortunately, these dolphins don’t do very well in captivity, which makes breeding and conservation programs a tad tricky.
Close Relatives Include: Flipper, the dolphin.
Physical Address: The Amazon and Orincoc basins, as well as Bolivia’s upper Madeira River.
It’s On This List Because: It’s a PINK dolphin, for crying out loud!
With 22 fleshy tentacles offensively wiggling about at the end of its nose, this astounding critter would be the envy of any self-respecting octopus. Well, it’s the star-nosed mole and it uses its rather grotesque schnozz to sense out the unfortunate invertebrates that make up its diet. This “touch organ” is rather extraordinary, not only in appearance: it houses a staggering 25,000 sensory receptors, which enable the mole to negotiate its way around and detect food.
Physical Address: The wet lowlands of the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada.
It’s On This List Because: It’s got a nose that makes me want to wear a chastity belt and cross my legs.
I’m pretty sure the blob fish was the inspiration behind the classic horror film “The Blob” and for obvious reason. Although, instead of looking disgustingly malignant, the blob fish looks more like a cartoon rendition of a pasty, overweight, middle-aged guy called Steve. From the front, it doesn’t even look like a fish! Actually, these deep-sea fish are fish, but unlike the fin-and-flipper variety we’re used to, blob fish are jelly-like masses whose buoyancy (and the fact that they’re slightly less dense than water) allows them to drift just above the deep ocean floors they forage off of. With a lack of sophisticated hunting machinery, the blob fish will simply eat anything remotely edible that happens to float past its maw.
Close Relatives Include: Eyeless cave fish
Physical Address: Deep ocean off the coast of New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.
It’s On This List Because: It’s a gelatinous beast that thrives at an ocean depth where the ambient pressure is as much as 120 times that of sea level! Also, it’s the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society and 2013 winner of the world’s most hideous critter!
If Bob Marley were reincarnated as a dog, THIS would be it. The Komondor is a type of sheepdog that, given its vocation as a shepherd, is obviously struggling with some serious identity issues. I mean, can you imagine how many times this poor dog has had to politely turn down the amorous advances of unsuspecting male sheep? This be-dreaded pooch naturally grows these long matted locks, but don’t be too hasty to make fun of it. The Komondor is a proud breed of Hungarian sheepdog and a powerhouse of discipline and service, accounts of which date as far back as 1544.
Physical Address: The Komondor is believed to have been introduced by the Cuman warrior tribe to Hungary. Today, it’s not a breed often seen in your neighborhood dog park, but it can probably be found on all continents with the obvious exception of Antarctica. Because no domesticated dogs live there.
It’s On This List Because: It’s a sheep dog that looks like a sheep and could probably double up as a Swiffer or a floor mop.
Having Fun So Far?
Good, but you should really get some work done and so should I, so stay tuned for Part 2 on Monday 21st December to read about more creepy, exotic, strange, otherworldly and outlandish creatures!