What makes the natural world so incredible is its biodiversity. Around the world, there are so many unique-looking creatures that, upon first glance, it is hard to believe that they are actually real. Some of the colors that these animals are born with are absolutely mesmerizing, while others have all sorts of peculiar features. More often than not, it is because of these features that they are still alive today. It’s funny to think that their long noses, big eyes, spikes, and other distinctive features have been the difference between life and death. Despite looking like they came straight out of a fantasy novel, these weird animals actually exist.
Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
You would be forgiven if you actually thought that the following creature was a bunch of leaves. This is because, as the name suggests, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko blends into the foliage due to its uncanny resemblance to leaves.
Native to Madagascar, this strange-looking reptile is a master of camouflage and as a result, is able to deceive its prey with ease. Other names it has been referred to over the years include the phantastic leaf-tailed gecko and the eyelash leaf-tailed gecko.
Arguably one of the most famous strange-looking animals on this list is the axolotl. Also known as the Mexican walking fish, this cute salamander isn’t a fish, at all. It is an amphibian that doesn’t actually develop lungs.
Instead, it has gills and stays, for the most part, in the water. Due to its ever-youthfulness, it makes sense that the axolotl would appear to always have a smile on its face. Despite being able to regenerate limbs, it is still an endangered species.
Vogelkop Superb Bird-Of-Paradise
It makes sense why the strange-looking Vogelkop bird-of-paradise would be described as curl-caped. Despite being first described by Ernst Mayr back in 1930, this beautiful creature only reached full species status in 2018.
What makes this bird so majestic is its black plumage, which absorbs approximately 99.95% of light. There is a good reason why it’s only the males that have this strange alter-appearance. Once the male lifts its feathered cape, it becomes a shadowy black figure, which is its way of arousing females.
Japanese Spider Crab
The huge crustacean known as the Japanese spider crab lives in the waters surrounding the “Land of the Rising Sun.” It should come as no surprise, based on these photos alone, that the spider crab is the largest species of crab in the world, with the largest leg span of all arthropods.
Considered to be a delicacy in Japan, locals ignore its strange-looking appearance but are forbidden to fish for them in the spring. This is because this is their reproducing season.
Pink Fairy Armadillo
While it is undeniably a strange-looking animal, the pink fairy armadillo earned its name due to its diminutiveness, more than anything. It is the smallest species of armadillo in the world and was first recorded back in 1825.
Native to central Argentina, the pink fairy armadillo has typical dietary habits of most armadillos while pumping blood in and out of its shell in order to regulate its temperature. This is what gives the creature its pink colored shell.
Also known as a Sunda flying lemur, the colugo is actually not a lemur, at all. In fact, it doesn’t fly either. Technically speaking, it glides from tree to tree and does a lot of its hard work at night. This particular species has a unique appearance, with a red fur coat covered in white specks.
Native to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, the Sunda Colugo is protected by national legislation, seeing that hunting and deforestation have posed a serious threat to the animal’s existence.
While it is very much a frog, the purple frog is certainly a strange-looking member of the amphibian species. Native to the Western Ghats of India, the purple frog’s face is disproportionate compared to the rest of its body and adults tend to live underground.
In India, the purple frog is used in medicine, while some even turn them into amulets which they give to children to comfort them during heavy storms. Sadly though, this has made the creature an endangered species.
Blue Dragon (Glaucus Atlanticus)
Formally known as Glaucus Atlanticus, the blue dragon is technically not a dragon, at all. It is actually a sea slug, a shell-less gastropod mollusk that floats upside down and gets from place to place via ocean currents and winds.
Its blue color allows it to blend into the water and it constantly has an air bubble in its stomach which allows it to float. Despite having such a beautiful pattern, the blue dragon is just over an inch long.
Although the saiga antelope has been around ever since the Pleistocene era, it is currently a critically endangered species. The population of this strange-looking creature took a 60% hit in 2015 when they were affected by a sudden bacterial infection caused by an unexpected rise in temperature.
Mass hunting has also played a huge part in the saiga antelope population’s rapid decline. There is no doubt that the most abnormal feature of the saiga antelope is its long, drooping nose.
It makes perfect sense that this particular fish would be referred to as red-lipped because it is! This batfish lives around the Galapagos Islands and is instantly recognizable due to the illusion that it applied red lipstick to its “lips.”
Despite the fact that they live in water, red-lipped batfish can’t swim particularly well but they are able to walk along the ocean floor because of their strong lower fins. Its protruding forehand horn attracts prey, with many creatures underestimating its powers.
Venezulan Poodle Moth
There isn’t a ton of information surrounding the Venezuelan poodle moth, and this is probably due to the fact that it was only discovered a decade ago. Researcher Dr. Arthur Anker first photographed the moth in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela.
He was taken aback by the fur that covered its head and its unique appearance, in general. It is still unclear whether the moth is a new species entirely or if it already belongs to an already identified species.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Similar in appearance to that of hedgehogs, the lowland streaked tenrec is also covered in spines in order to protect itself from predators. However, this native of Madagascar is a strange-looking animal due to its long nose, and a combination of black and yellow spines.
You would be forgiven if you mistook it for some kind of Pokemon character. While 37 different tenrecs have been discovered in Madagascar alone, only five of them have hedgehog-like spines. They also like to dig a lot.
Don’t let its appearance deceive you. This is a male greater sage-grouse. What makes this bird so strange-looking is its chest, which carries two large air sacs. Apparently, the greater sage-grouse uses this to attract females. While it does this through its appearance, the male also makes strange, popping sounds with these sacs to achieve the same goal.
Due to a loss of habitat, the greater sage-grouse’s population is rapidly declining and is recognized by numerous organizations as threatened or near-threatened.
While there is no denying that the Aye-Aye is a type of lemur, it’s long middle fingers and rodent-like teeth are what give it its strange-looking appearance. Regarded as the world’s largest nocturnal primate, the aye-aye hunts its prey by piercing trees with its teeth, before digging out food with its long middle finger.
Native to Madagascar, the Aye-Aye is an endangered species and has a reputation of bringing bad luck. However, they are have since been protected from hunting by law.
It is clear that what makes the uakari so strange-looking is its abnormally red face. However, there is so much more to this mysterious creature, which is native to South America.
Despite its intimidating face, the bald-headed uakari, as it is also known, is actually pretty small, with a very short tail, to boot. This New World monkey mainly lives in the woods and varzea forests that surround the waters of the western Amazon in both Peru and Brazil.
Mata Mata Turtle
While the mata mata turtle certainly looks like a member of the shell-wearing species, it is still unique in terms of appearance. The South American creature generally dwells in the Amazon and is a defensive powerhouse due to its spikey body and shell.
It also has a head that resembles the shape of a fallen leaf. The fact that it appears to have a huge smile at any given time also adds to how strange-looking the mata mata is.
Another strange-looking animal on this list that is an endangered species is the tarsier. This peculiar primate might be extremely small, but its eyes act as one of its main strengths when it comes to defending themselves from larger predators.
However, because they can’t move their eyes, they are able to rotate their heads, similar to the way an owl does. Despite farmers’ fears that tarsiers cause damage to their crops, it turns out that they actually do more good than bad, seeing that they feed on insects and lizards.
Despite its name and the fact that it looks more like a fox than a wolf, the maned wolf of South America is neither a wolf, nor a fox. What separates this majestic creature from other canines is its abnormally long, thin legs, as well as its red coat.
In fact, it is the only species that belongs to the genus Chrysocyon, which literally means “golden dog.” Although it has a symbiotic relationship with other surrounding species, the maned wolf is shy around humans.
It is pretty obvious what makes the star-nosed mole so strange-looking – it is in the name. While it has all of the habitual traits of a typical mole, this specific animal has a very peculiarly shaped nose that almost resembles a cluster of worms.
It has been described as the world’s faster eater, mainly due to the fact that it can gobble down its prey in less than a second. Its nose provides the mole five times the amount of sensitivity than that of a human hand.
While it might not be the strangest looking creature on this list, they don’t call this bird the shoebill for no reason whatsoever. This huge, stork-like bird has a beak that uncannily resembles the shape of a shoe.
Native to the swamps of East Africa, the shoebill likes to stand still as they wait patiently to pounce on the fish below them. Also known as the whalehead, the shoebill can span up to 2.5 meters when it opens its wings.
Located throughout the Indo-West Pacific waters, the dugong is a herbivorous marine mammal and is unique due to its strange, protruding mouth. It uses its mouth, specifically its upper lip, to graze the seagrass of the ocean floor.
In fact, it is believed that the dugong usually consumes approximately 50kg of seagrass each day. With no hind limbs or dorsal fin, the dugong relies heavily on its flippers in order to get around. As “sea cows” go, this is one of the most unique-looking ones around.
There is no denying that despite the Umbonia Spinosa’s strange appearance, it is also a thing of natural beauty. Native to South America, this thorn bug is unique due to its dorsal horn.
While it might look like a peaceful treehopper, the Umbonia Spinosa can be extremely vicious, especially towards its “prey.” In order to survive, the insect uses its beak in order to pierce the stems of plants. This allows them to feed on the plant’s sap.
It is easy to assume that the following photo is a hoax. But this is what makes the pacu fish so distinctive from other marine life. The pacu became famous after photos surfaced online of its teeth, which eerily resemble that of a human’s.
Seeing that they don’t have sharp, pointy teeth, like its cousin, the piranha, the pacu is able to crunch its food. Instead of feeding on flesh and scales, pacu tends to enjoy plant material and sea proteins instead.
There is a good chance that you have seen the proboscis monkey before, whether it be online or on the Discovery Channel. It is clear that the most distinctive feature of this animal is its long nose, which can end up being over 7 inches long.
Based on research surrounding the proboscis monkey, it is believed that the longer the male’s nose is, the more attractive they appear to be to the females. This is good, seeing that the males tend to have larger noses anyway.
Looking like something that came straight out of a Bram Stoker novel, the hammer-headed bat is, without a doubt, one of the most unique creatures on the planet. Despite only being 10 inches long, it has a wingspan that can reach three feet in width!
Apparently, the reason that hammer-headed bats have such large heads is that it allows males to make loud honkings noises in order to lure females. Native to equatorial Africa, this strange-looking animal is also known as the big-lipped fruit bat.