The world is a wild and wonderful place, filled with millions of unique animal species most of us have never even heard of.
Growing up feeling like a bit of an odd bird myself, I’ve always been fascinated by unusual animals and weird insects.
The Duck-billed Platypus and the Praying Mantis were both early childhood favorites of mine. Today we feel special affinity for endangered oddballs such as the Pangolin and the Dugong, which we snorkeled with in Coron, Palawan.
Getting to see strange animals such as the Baird’s Tapir (in Corcovado National Park), Bushbaby (in Meru National Park), Flightless Cormorant (in the Galapagos Islands), and Hoatzin (in the Peruvian Amazon) in the wild has been one of our favorite parts of traveling the world together.
If you’re attracted to weird birds, unusual amphibians, and other cool creatures like we are, then you’ll love our epic guide to 60 weird animals around the world!
STRANGE AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES
Also known as the Mexican Walking Fish, this amphibious salamander is critically endangered, and nearly went extinct in 2010.
They’re weird animals because they don’t go into metamorphosis like other salamanders: Even adults remain aquatic and gilled.
They’re frequently used for research by scientists due to their ability to regenerate limbs.
Once a staple of the Aztec diet, they’re now the focus of conservation efforts in Mexico City, where local NGOs are building “Axolotl shelters.”
READ MORE: The Meaning of the Lorax (10 Eco-Lessons)
This odd amphibious species was first discovered on an expedition to the Brazilian rainforest in the late 1800s.
But most people had never heard of them until workers found six of these bizarre, eyeless creatures in 2011 while draining a portion of the Madeira River (a tributary of the Amazon) for a controversial hydroelectric project.
It’s also known as the “penis snake,” and it’s easy to see why. They’re limbless, with snake-like bodies marked with earthworm-like rings, and heads that look like a portion of the male anatomy.
3. Chinese Giant Salamander
The largest amphibian in the world, this critically endangered salamander can reach lengths of up to 5’9” and weigh up to 65 pounds.
Fully aquatic, they’re primarily found in the rocky mountain streams and lakes of China, but have been introduced in Japan and Taiwan.
They have crazy vocalizations– from barking and hissing to whining and crying– which has earned it the Chinese nickname “the infant fish.” Unfortunately the Chinese also consider it a delicacy, and use it in traditional medicine.
READ MORE: Amazing Animal Facts: A-to-Z
4. Clawed Frog
The Xenopus genus includes 20 species of aquatic frogs found in sub-Saharan Africa. What makes them weird is the fact that they cannot hop, so they have to crawl long distances in order to get from one pond to another.
The frogs have eyes on top of their flattened heads, but no eyelids or eardrums. They also cannot move their tongue, so they use small fore limbs to help during feeding.
When the lakes, ponds, and potholes they tend to favor dry up, the frogs may lie dormant for a year awaiting rain.
READ MORE: 20 Largest Lakes in the World (by Continent)
5. Eastern Long-Necked Turtle
Like a reptilian giraffe, this aptly-named turtle (commonly found in eastern Australia) has a snake-like neck that’s almost as long as its entire carapace.
Rather than retracting its head back inside as you might expect, this “side-necked turtle” bends it sideways into its shell.
When threatened, the Eastern Long-neck will emit a terribly noxious odor from its musk glands, which has also earned it the nickname “The Stinker.”
READ MORE: Sea Turtle Laying Eggs
6. Glass Frogs
Commonly known as Glass Frogs, members of the amphibian family Centrolenidae all share a similar small size and lime green background colors.
What makes them strange animals is the fact that certain species have translucent abdominal skin that allows you to see their insides, including heart, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and (in the case of females) eggs!
It’s also a helpful feature for escaping predators, since the frogs are primarily active at night.
READ MORE: Wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon
7. Mata Mata Turtle
This South American freshwater turtle is found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins, primarily in slow-moving streams and swamps where it can stand in shallow water and stretch its nose to the surface to breathe.
It’s an unusual, ancient-looking creature that’s clearly made for camouflage.
It has a horny snout and flattened, triangle-shaped head that looks like fallen leaves, and a brown/black shell said to resemble bark. Measuring up to 18 inches long and weighing some 30 pounds, it’s a large, triply-looking turtle!
READ MORE: A Rare Encounter With An Amazon Manatee
8. Mexican Mole Lizard
These bizarre animals, which are also commonly known as the 5-Toed Worm Lizard, are endemic to Mexico’s Baja California region.
Measuring up to 9.4 inches long, it looks like a freaky hybrid– part earthworm, part mole, part salamander.
It’s got a blunt head; a slender, ribbed, pink body; and two tiny forelimbs that it uses to dig underground. They live there, close to the surface, and only emerge at night or after heavy rains.
READ MORE: Swimming with Whale Sharks
9. Spike-Nosed Tree Frog
It’s nickname comes from the fact that the tree frog’s elongated nose grows rigid and erect when he’s calling out to prospective mates, but otherwise remains limp and deflated.
Not much else is known about the species, other than the fact that it lives in the rainforest of the Foja Mountains.
10. Purple Frog
Also known as the Indian Purple Frog or Pignose Frog, this grape-colored goliath looks like Grimace (if he was a fat frog with a small head and a pointy snout).
Endemic to India’s Western Ghats, the endangered frog’s proboscis is designed to help it feed on its favorite food, termites.
They spend the majority of their time underground: They only surface to breed once a year, for two weeks during India’s monsoon.
A breeding pair will lay up to 3,000 eggs annually in rocks along streams, then head back underground again.
11. California Condor
The largest land bird in North America, the odd-looking California Condor won’t be winning any beauty contests anytime soon.
But what makes this critically endangered scavenger one of the world’s weirdest birds is its size.
Ranging in length from 43 to 55 inches and weighing 15 to 31 pounds, their massive wingspan of 8 to 10 feet has had them confused with small airplanes on more than one occasion.
Theses animals are cool. They’ve also got some impressive skills, such as soaring for more than three miles without flapping their wings.
READ MORE: List of National Parks in America by State
12. Flightless Cormorant
Found only in the Galapagos Islands, this is one of the most rare bird species in the world, with around 1000 left.
The Flightless Cormorant is an odd bird, with black and brown feathers, brilliant turquoise eyes, and low growling voices.
Their stubby wings are about 1/3 the size they’d need to fly, but in the water they could give any sea lion a run for its money.
They use their webbed feet and powerful legs to dive down to the bottom of the ocean in search of fish, eels, octopus and other small prey.
READ MORE: 30 Amazing Galapagos Islands Animals
Also known as the Canje Pheasant (or punk-rock bird), Hoatzin are genetically enigmatic, and there’s been intense scientific debate about their evolutionary connections to other species.
The pheasant-sized bird, whose chicks possess claws on two of their wing digits, is also called the Stinkbird due to the manure-like odor caused by its unique digestive system.
Their noises are just as odd, including a bizarre variety of groans, croaks, hisses and grunts that are often associated with its body movements.
The Kakapo is one of the world’s most endangered species, with a known population of around 125.
New Zealand’s “Owl Parrot” is an undeniable odd animal– large, flightless, nocturnal and ground-dwelling, weighing up to 9 pounds at maturity.
It’s the only parrot in the world that mates by lekking: Males line up to put on a mating display en masse, and the females pick their favorites.
Unfortunately these lovebirds only breed an average of three times a decade, when the fruit of the Rimu tree is abundant making it one of the most endangered birds.
READ MORE: Endangered Species that Mate for Life
15. Long-Wattled Umbrellabird
The males have a magnificent coiff-like crest Elvis would kill for, with hair-like feathers that extend out over their bill.
Their wattle is even weirder: It’s long, black, and hangs down 16 to 17 inches from the middle of their chest.
They can inflate it during courtship rituals to draw attention, or retract it against their chest during flight.
READ MORE: Wildlife in the Ecuadorian Amazon
16. Marabou Stork
Found in Africa south of the Sahara, the Marabou Stork has a face only a mother could love.
With their long, skinny legs and feathers that look like a black jacket worn over a white dress shirt, it’s easy to see how they earned their nickname, “the undertaker bird.” And then there’s the massive bill, the bald pink head, and a featherless wattle hanging from their neck.
Weighing up to 18 pounds, with a wingspan that can measure over nine feet, this is one of Africa’s most huge and hideous birds.
The Oilbird, known in northern South America as guácharo, is a striking beauty by contrast: Reddish-brown, with diamond-shaped white spots edged in black.
What makes this cave-dwelling fruit-eater odd is the fact that it is nocturnal, and finds its food by using echolocation (much like bats and dolphins).
And because its preferred food is the fruit of the oil palm, the aptly-named bird was once hunted and boiled down in order to extract their oil for use as fuel.
READ MORE: 10 Amazing Caves For Your World Bucket List
Also known as the Whalehead or Shoe-billed Stork, this strange bird is named for the shoe-like shape of its humongous bill, which allow it to catch surprisingly large prey.
They’re found in east Africa, primarily in large tropical swamps from Sudan south to Zambia.
Seeing them in the wild is… well, wild, because they tend to stand silent and motionless for long periods of time.
With a height of 43 to 55 inches and a wingspan up to 8 feet 6 inches, these funny looking birds are hard to miss.
READ MORE: Endangered Elephants of East Africa
19. Sri Lanka Frogmouth
Related to the Nightjars, this small Frogmouth is found in the Western Ghats mountain range of South India and Sri Lanka.
They live in the dense undergrowth of tropical forests, where their grey-brown feathers make them very difficult to see.
What makes them weird is their oversized head, which gives the nocturnal bird a wide field of binocular vision, and the gaping wide hooked bill for which they are named.
The short, stiff bristles around their eyes are another attractive distinguishing feature.
20. Superb Bird of Paradise
Their female population is unusually low and competition for mating privileges is fierce. So males will meticulously prepare their dance floor before loudly calling the object of their affection.
The dance is spectacular: He spreads his black feather cape and blue-green breast shield widely, snapping a beat with his tail feathers while hopping around her. Most of the females will reject 15-20 suitors before giving consent!
READ MORE: Galapagos Birds Photo Gallery
WEIRD CREEPY CRAWLY CREATURES
21. Amazon Giant Fishing Spider
Proving big can be beautiful, this spectacular spider can grow up to 8 inches, with a brilliant green, gold, and white body.
Found in South America, they’re semi-aquatic and usually seen at the edge of pools or streams.
There they wait for ripples that advertise prey (insects, tadpoles, and even small fish), then run across the surface to grab it and inject their venom.
Some subspecies of these weird creatures can even encase themselves in a silver air bubble and climb beneath the water.
READ MORE: Our Rare Encounter with an Amazon Manatee
22. Assassin Bug
These alien-looking predators are related to the plant-eating Shield Bug.
But they’ve adapted a piercing proboscis with which they feed upon their victims (ants and bees are their favorites).
The ninja-like skills for which they’re named include coating themselves with ant carcasses to disguise their pheromones and covering their legs with tree sap to grab bees out of mid-air with their sticky claws.
They may not look like much, but these clever carnivores have some seriously deadly moves!
23. Driver Ant
If you’ve ever seen a b-movie in which humans or animals are unexpectedly swarmed by hyper-aggressive ants, these merciless army ants (primarily found in central and east Africa) are likely the inspiration.
Sometimes called safari ants, they attack en masse, which often proves deadly for small animals when their colonies number up to 20 million members.
Their bite is painful, and their powerful jaws remain locked even if you kill the ant. Locals are known to use them to suture wounds in case of a medical emergency.
24. Giant Katydid
There are some 6,400 species of katydids in the Tettigoniidae family, which are closely related to crickets.
But the Giant Long-legged Katydid, found in the montane forests of Malaysia, are easily the largest.
They can grow up to 6 inches long– large enough to cover your hand– with antennae that can grow even longer. It’s leaf-life wings make great camouflage, but their long legs are relatively useless.
They cannot jump well, and rarely fly. Their high-pitched mating call makes them one of the loudest insects in the world.
25. Hickory Horned Devil
The Regal Moth (a.k.a. Royal Walnut Moth) is as beautiful as any butterfly we’ve seen, with stunningly vivid colors.
But in the larval stage they’re known as Hickory Horned Devils, and look like something out of a horror film director’s nightmares.
They eventually turn green, with huge black-tipped red horns and what look like little black spikes all over their bodies.
The nocturnal feeders don’t sting, but they do curl up into a j-shape during the day that makes them look like bird poop.
26. Jumping Stick
This skinny beanpole looks like a common Giant Walking Stick. But it’s more closely related to the Locust, and is named for its ability to jump and kick like a kung fu master.
Its hind legs are 2.5 times as long as its front and middle legs, allowing it to propel its 2.6-inch body up to 3 feet in a single bound.
They’re also known for their odd, elongated faces, with a grasshopper-like mouth and large eyes on a stalk that help it look for predators and attract mates.
READ MORE: Amazing Animal Facts 2: Animal Olympians
27. Lantern Fly
Don’t let the name fool you. This odd-looking Amazonian insect looks more like a moth than a fly, and their massive peanut-shaped heads don’t light up.
They have vivid spots on their wings that some people believe help to scare off predators by mimicking the eyes of a much larger animal.
There’s also a myth in certain local populations that if the bug bites someone (which it doesn’t), they’ll die if they don’t have sex within a day. I wonder how many young men have used that line?
READ MORE: Into The Amazon Jungle
28. Orchid Mantis
This is arguably among the world’s most beautiful insects outside of the butterfly family.
The Orchid Mantis is one of several species of flower mantises, which look like and mimic the flowers upon which they’re often found.
Their brilliant colors can change, and range from white and yellow to pink and brown.
Each of its four legs resembles flower petals, which they use to their advantage by swaying to lure insects, then eating them.
They’ve also been known to eat larger vertebrates, such as lizards and frogs.
What fresh hell is this? Picture an ancient insect that dates back some 174 million years, with the long beak of a pterodactyl, the coloring of a wasp, and the stinger of a scorpion.
Then imagine it’s closely related to a flea, and scavenges the bodies of dead invertebrates. Sounds horrifying, right?
The fact that the stinger is actually enlarged genitals might make you feel a little better, but the fact that there 350+ species of them probably won’t.
30. Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Discovered in Venezuela’s Gran Sabana region by Kyrgyzstan’s Dr. Arthur Anker in 2009, this unusual insect looks like a cross between a poodle and an angora sweater.
Ankara’s odd (some might say adorable) discovery went relatively unnoticed for several years, until someone posted his photo of the fuzzy white moth with bulging black eyes and bizarre antennae online.
It quickly went viral, but the moth (which experts believe belongs to the Artace genus) has yet to be confirmed as a new species.
31. Bactrian Camel
Native to the Steppes of Central Asia, the Bactrian Camel is differentiated from its more familiar Arabian cousins by the fact that it has two humps.
It has genetically adapted well to the region’s extreme climate. It has squishy foot pads that work like snowshoes to help it keep its footing in the desert sand, and a coat that is remarkably which in winter and nearly bald in summer.
Unfortunately, though the domesticated species is plentiful, the wild ones are critically endangered.
32. Baird’s Tapir
Looking like a bizarre cross between a pig, a donkey and a rhinoceros, this cow-sized mammal is an endangered species endemic to Central and South America.
Known as the Mountain Cow in Belize, it is celebrated as the national animal. Baird’s tapir is most active at night, but are frequently seen during the day.
One famously attacked the Costa Rican Minister of Environment in 2006, and we were fortunate to catch one taking a catnap in Corcovado National Park.
READ MORE: 40 Amazing Costa Rica Animals
33. Chinese Water Deer
More similar to a Musk Deer than a true Deer, Water Deer are proficient swimmers who live along the rivers and islands of China and Korea.
But the Chinese subspecies is particularly unusual. What makes this deer one of the strangest animals is that it has prominent tusks, which are actually elongated canine teeth.
These especially long teeth led to the Chinese Water Deer’s English nickname, the Vampire Deer.
Able to swim for several miles, the Chinese Water Deer can also pull their canines tusks back by using their facial muscles.
READ MORE: 20 Longest Rivers in the World by Continent
34. Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Genetically, the Tenrec is like a cross between a shrew, an opossum and an otter, with a 5-6 inch body, long snout and vestigial tail.
Theses unique animals are the only mammals known to use stridulation for generating sound, a method more commonly associated with insects and snakes.
Found only in the rainforests of Madagascar, its bright yellow stripes and barbed quills signal danger for predators, especially when the Tenrec vibrates them.
READ MORE: Madagascar Animals
The male Markhor can grow to over 200 pounds, has a crazy amount of hair on their chin and chest, and boasts spectacular spiraling horns atop their heads.
The world’s population got down to around 2,500, but has rebounded by 20% in the last decade.
Its Persian name translates as “snake eater,” and locals believe the foam they release while chewing cud can extract snakebite venom.
READ MORE: 40 Fascinating Facts about the Markhor
Also known as the Coypu or river rat, this large, semi-aquatic rodent is native to subtropical South America.
It’s also been introduced on other continents by fur ranchers, but its destructive feeding and burrowing behavior has turned it into an an invasive persona non grata.
The nutria has front legs for excavating roots, rhizomes, and burrows, and webbed hind feet to aid in swimming.
Weighing up to 37 pounds, they look a lot like the R.O.U.S. from The Princess Bride.
READ MORE: 10 Destructive Species You Can Eat
With small population primarily found on small islands off the coast of Western Australia, this adorable marsupial was originally confused for a wild cat or a giant rat.
But it actually looks more like a tiny kangaroo, measuring approximately 20-30 inches long and weighing 6 to 11 pounds.
The cute Quokka has little fear of humans, but it is illegal to touch or feed them, as it can make the Vulnerable species sick. Fines for doing so start at $300.
Want to know just how weird the Platypus is? The first scientists to study them (back in 1799) deemed them fake, made from sewing several different animals together!
It’s easy to understand their confusion. This adorable oddball has the bill of a Duck, the feet of an Otter, the tail of a Beaver, venom in the spur of the male’s foot, and it’s one of only two mammals that lays eggs.
They were once hunted for their fur, but are now protected throughout their range in eastern Australia.
READ MORE: Tasmanian Devil Conservation on Maria Island
39. Saiga Antelope
Though their range today is limited to Russia and the ‘stans of Central Asia, this critically endangered antelope species had a vast range during the Ice Age.
Standing 24 to 32 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 150 pounds, these bizarre animals are known for their bloated shnozz, which looks a bit like someone docked an Elephant’s trunk.
But the nose serves a valuable purpose, warming frigid air during winter while cooling and filtering out dust in the summer.
40. Zebra Duiker
Also known as the banded or striped-back Duiker, this diminutive antelope species is found in the lowland primary rain forests of West Africa.
Thought to be one of the earliest of the Duiker species to evolve, they’re tiny (30-35 inches long, weighing 40-45 pounds), with short, sharp horns and zebra-like stripes that help them hide from the many predators that eat them.
They also have super-powerful nasal bones, which allow them to use their face to crack open the tough exterior of certain fruits.
UNUSUAL NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
These endangered lemurs are the world’s largest nocturnal primate and have furry gremlin faces, rodent-like teeth and long Crypt Keeper-style fingers.
To find food, the Aye-Aye first taps on trees to find grubs, then chews a small hole before using their narrow middle finger to pull a tasty meal out of the wood.
Superstitious locals believe these weird animals to be harbingers of evil or death, and will often kill them on sight.
READ MORE: Madagascar: Conserving Ring-Tailed Lemurs
Found in the forests of Southeast Asia, these gliders are also known as cobegos or flying lemurs (but they’re not true lemurs).
They’re the world’s most skillful gliding mammals, using flaps of extra skin between their legs to soar from tree to tree.
Measuring 14 to 16 inches long and weighing just two to four pounds, their light build allows them to “fly” up to 230 feet.
But they’re not very strong, so they have to hop slowly up the trees using their sharp claws.
43. Honduran White Bat
Also known as the ghost bat, this tiny (1.5-inch) cutie is one of only two white bat species in the world.
They’re found only in the jungles of Central America, where they’re usually seen hanging in colonies of up to 6 from heliconia plants.
They’ll actually cut the large leaves of the plant, which causes them to fold down into a tent that protects the colony from rain and predators.
They are one of 15 different Latin American bat species known roost in this type of natural tent.
READ MORE: The 16 Best Mayan Ruins to Explore
44. Long-Beaked Echidna
This freaky-looking fella, found in New Guinea, is one of only two mammals in the world known to lay eggs. Yet they have the fur and lactation abilities of mammals.
They also have a pointy, beak-like snout that’s two-third the length of their head; spiky spines scattered among their hair; and, in the case of males, spurs on each of their hind legs.
There are three living species, but unfortunately all of them are classified as critically endangered and they’re rarely seen during the day.
Colloquially known as the “kitty bear,” this cuddly cutie is actually from the raccoon family.
It was discovered in the Andes of Colombia and Ecuador in 2013, making it the first new carnivorous mammal seen in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years.
Though they resemble the Kinkajou, they’re more closely related to Coatis, with extended muzzles and anal scent glands.
Not much is known about this relatively new species, but they are believed to live in trees and be solitary and fairly reclusive.
There are eight species of Pangolin found on two different continents (Asia and Africa).
But due to poaching, deforestation, and the fact that they’re the most heavily trafficked mammals in the world, two are endangered and two are critically endangered.
They look like some sort of ancient Armadillo/pine cone hybrid, with overlapping armored scales, long tongues, and stink glands like a Skunk’s.
They’re solitary animals, living in hollowed trees and burrows, and curl up into a ball when threatened.
READ MORE: Saving Endangered Asian Animals
Found in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, these nocturnal, burrowing insectivores are fascinating to phylogenetic researchers because they closely resemble a species that went extinct near the end of the dinosaur era.
They may look like rodents, but they’re more closely related to shrews and moles.
They’re also the only mammals in the world that inject their prey with venom, using special grooves in their teeth.
With a longer fossil record than any other primate genus, fossils suggest the enormous-eyed Tarsiers of Southeast Asia haven’t evolved much in the last 45 million years.
The only thing that has changed is their size: Their bodies measure 4-6 inches, with tails twice as long.
These interesting animals have enormous eyes (16mm wide– as big as their brain!), super sensitive ears, and uniquely shaped head makes them great at catching prey such as bats, birds, and insects. And their long bodies make them great leapers.
49. Water Opossum
It is the only marsupial in the world in which both sexes have a pouch. The males place their genitalia inside their pouch while swimming (kind of like a banana hammock), which helps streamline their bodies.
The pouch is also water-tight, which keeps their young dry even when the parent is swimming.
Once common in Australia, the Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat is now one of the most rare animals in the world. It is critically endangered and is only found only in Queensland’s Epping Forest National Park.
With a backwards-opening pouch and teeth that never stop growing, it’s the world’s largest (90 pounds) burrowing mammal.
As weird animals go, we think this one’s a cutie! Unfortunately they’re critically endangered due to predators such as the Dingo, with less than 100 individuals remaining.
COOL ANIMALS FROM THE SEA
51. Dumbo Octopus
Found only at extreme ocean depths of 10,000 to 13,000 feet, Grimpoteuthis is a genus containing 13 species of octopus, whose webbed tentacles look like an umbrella when spread.
Theses cool animals are known for the prominent ear-like fins that jut out comically just above their eyes (much like a certain flying Elephant from the Walt Disney stable).
Though they’re found in deep waters all around the world, they rank among the most uncommon animals of the Octopus species.
52. Frilled Shark
One of the world’s most rarely seen creepy animals, the Frilled Shark crosses the line into frightening, WTF territory.
Found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at depths of up to 5,000 feet, this rare “living fossil” is positively prehistoric.
Its monstrous appearance includes an eel-like body, six frilly pairs of gill slits, and 300 trident-shaped teeth in 25 rows that allow it to rip through prey like a knife through hot butter. Cute, huh?
READ MORE: 5 Rare Sharks Worth Saving
53. Glaucus Atlanticus
More commonly known as the Blue Dragon or Blue Sea Slug, this inch-long nudibranch is just as lethal as it is lovely.
The creature preys on the Portuguese Man o’ War (which is pretty dangerous in its own right).
It stores venom in its finger-like cerata, producing a sting that causes fever, shock and even death.
These beautiful badasses are pelagic: they float upside down by using the surface tension of the water to stay up, where they’re carried along by the winds and ocean currents.
54. Humpback Anglerfish
The horrifying Humpback Anglerfish (a.k.a. Humpback Blackdevil) is a species from the family Melanocetidae, or black seadevils.
Found at depths of 5,000-15,000 feet, they’re 7 inches long, globular, and black as pitch, with a cavernous mouth filled with huge, fang-like teeth.
Made famous by a scene in Finding Nemo, these fish are definitely one of the coolest animals and use a bioluminescent “fishing lure” (known as the illicium) on its head to attract its unsuspecting prey.
55. Irrawaddy Dolphin
With their formidable foreheads; short, round faces; and broad, rounded flippers, this Southeast Asian species look like some anime artist’s cartoonish rendering of a dolphin.
Interestingly, their genetic make-up is closely related to the killer whale. Unlike any other dolphin, the Irrawaddy’s u-shaped blowhole is placed on the left of the midline and opens towards the front.
Their short beaks are also very different from those of other dolphins, with 12-19 peg-like teeth on each side of their jaws.
READ MORE: How To Grade Captive Dolphin Facilities
56. Japanese Spider Crabs
The Japanese name for this species is taka-ashi-gani, which literally translates to “tall legs crab.”
These crazy animals– whose legs can span 12 feet in length, weigh up to 42 pounds, and crawl along the ocean floor like a creepy spider– looks like something that might attack Tokyo in the next Godzilla movie.
Orange, with white spots along the legs, these crabs reportedly have a very gentle disposition despite their daunting appearance.
57. Mantis Shrimp
It may look like a cross between a crayfish, a praying mantis, and a colorful parrot, but the Mantis Shrimp is not to be trifled with: Its raptorial appendages move so quickly, they literally boil the water around them, producing shockwaves strong enough to kill prey.
Seeing its vivid colors amongst the coral reef last year in Coron, Palawan was one of the most exciting and memorable experiences we’ve ever had while snorkeling during our travels.
58. Red-Lipped Batfish
Also known as the Galapagos Batfish, this freaky-faced fish is found in the Galapagos Islands at depths of 10 to 250 feet.
In addition to its red lips, the fish (a terrible swimmer) is distinguished by its ability to “walk” on the ocean floor using its pectoral fins.
Once they reach maturity, their dorsal fin evolves into a single spine-like projection that they primarily use to lure prey, including crustaceans and other small fish.
The illicium on its head is used for the same purpose.
READ MORE: Galapagos Islands Animals
59. Sea Pen
Easily among the weirdest animals and unusual looking creatures on this list, the colorful Sea Pen appears less like an animal and more like an ancient writing implement.
Their quill-like appearance is created by multiple polyps (each of which has eight tentacles) branching out from a single central stalk.
Found in less turbulent waters ranging from 33 to 6,600+ feet, some species can grow over six feet tall, usually positioning themselves in a current that provides a steady supply of plankton.
60. Warty Frogfish
Though it’s also known as the Clown Frogfish, this globulous, warty wonder is no joke.
Found in the Indo-Pacific region, this voracious carnivore attacks any small animal within its strike range and has a huge mouth that can consume prey its own size.
Females may even eat males after mating if he doesn’t move away.
They also have the ability to change colors for camouflage in their environment, which is also aided by their biofluorescence. –Bret Love