You probably haven’t seen most of these animals before. In fact, most people haven’t. One is only visible for two weeks out of the whole YEAR, but we’re bringing them to you because they are so strange. They would look completely at home in any Tim Burton movie, but these creatures are totally real. You’ve been warned!
1. The Shoebill: This species is also referred to using the names Whalehead or Shoe-billed Stork. The bird has a large shoe-shaped bill, hence its unusual name. The Shoebill lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from Sudan to Zambia, and it is also known for its unique, blue feathers. These birds are quite large, and they can range in height from 110cm – 152cm.
2. Okapi: The Okapi species is closely related to the giraffe family, not the zebra or even a horse. The Okapi is native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa.
3. The Pacu Fish: The terrifying Pacu Fish, a species native to South America, seem to have a full set of almost humanlike teeth. They are closely related to the piranha and are nicknamed the “ball cutter.”
4. The Panda Ant: Despite the panda ant’s name, this is actually a species of wasp. They are found in Chile, the wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Even though these little bugs are cute, you may want to stay away, as they have a pretty bad sting.
5. The Narwhal: This is a toothed whale found in the Arctic. It’s one of the most recognizable whales on earth because of its enormous horn – it’s like the unicorn of the ocean.
6. The Red-Lipped Batfish: This frightening-looking fish is found near the Galapagos Islands, but it doesn’t swim. If can be found on the BOTTOM of the ocean, walking on its unusual fins. Don’t ask.
7. The Blind Snake: This unusual snake found in the Amazon has no eyes and its name is Atretochoana Eiselti. It is presumed to be an aquatic, almost eel-like animal due to its fleshy dorsal fin on the body, but most people that know of it just call it a blind snake.
8. The Umbonia Spinosa: Scientists are baffled by this unusual creature, but believe it to be closely related to cicadas. The Umbonia Spinosa use their beaks to pierce plant stems to feed upon their sap. It’s hard to tell what you’re looking at with the spinosa, but it’s easy to tell it’s beautiful.
9. The Lowland Streaked Tenrec: The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is cute, but you have to watch out for this creature found in Madagascar, Africa. It’s covered in tiny little barbs and it is reportedly the only mammal known to use stridulation for generating sound. Usually, only insects and snakes make that kind of noise.
10. The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth: This little creature seems to be a hybrid of a hummingbird, a hawk and a moth (as the name implies) but it’s actually just a funny little insect that feeds on flowers.
11. The Blue Dragon: This is the Glaucus Atlanticus, a crazy species of blue sea slug. The Blue Dragon is able to float on the water’s surface because of a gas-filled sac in its stomach. This species can be found in the warm ocean waters, so be careful not to step on these beauties.
12. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp: The mantis shrimp is also known as “sea locusts“, “prawn killers” and “thumb splitters”. Their front claws can deliver a punch that is as powerful as a gunshot. The mantis shrimp can’t be kept in normal aquariums, as they punch through other sea life and even the glass.
13. The Venezuelan Poodle Moth: The Venezuelan Poodle Moth was only discovered in 2009. They are found in Venezuela and not much is known about these fuzzy, dog-like moths just yet.
14. The Giant Isopod: This is one the largest species of the existing isopods. It’s so big because some creatures that live on the bottom of the ocean can experience “deep sea gigantism.” This is where the crustacean will grow much larger than its shallow sea dwelling counterparts. They look prehistoric because, honestly, they are. Isopods have been around for a long, long time.
15. The Saiga Antelope: The Saiga Antelope is known for its extremely unusual, over-sized, flexible nose structure. They are critically endangered and it is already completely extinct in China and southwestern Mongolia.
16. The Bush Viper: The Bush Viper lives in the trees of the tropical forests in Africa and it does most of its hunting at night. This snake may look fierce, but it’s actually one of the smallest species of snake, with a maximum length of only 78cm.
17. The Blue Parrotfish: This funny fish is known as a Blue Parrotfish and they average 30-75 cm in length. Some can grow up to 1.2m… probably because the parrotfish spends up to 80% of its time looking for food.
18. The Indian Purple Frog: This rare species of frog commonly found in India is much more bloated and round than its other frog counterparts. The Indian Purple Frog also has a small head and an unusual snout. It is so rare because it only spends TWO WEEKS above ground every year.
19. The Thorny Dragon: The Thorny Dragon is an Australian lizard that resides mostly in the desert and, as the name suggests, looks like a tiny dragon. They are also known as the mountain devil, the thorny lizard, or the moloch. This lizard is covered in sharp spikes, and it uses these to frighten away predators. They can live up to 20 years, more than most lizards.
20. The Sea Pig: The sea pig is closely related to a sea cucumber (whoever named sea creatures must have a sense of humor, since they never look like what they are named after). They have enlarged tube feet and live on deep ocean bottoms. Luckily, you’ll never run into one of these yourself.
These aren’t your normal zoo animals.