Our world is so vast and varied. There are so many species of birds, fish and animals we have barely started to learn about. And there are some species that are just plain… weird! Let’s check out these 12 weird animals of the world!
01. The Leafy Sea Dragon
The sea horse is a relatively common inhabitant of the ocean, but one of its distant cousins has an appearance that still resembles a horse and makes camouflage a cinch! These weird animals can change their many colors and use their almost invisible fins to hover and swim in a horizontal position.
Like all seahorses they have independently rotating eyes. And, because they have a closed jaw, they eat by sucking sea lice and tiny shrimp through their snouts. The males carry a brood patch, their young, under their tails. They will care for the eggs, which will produce the young fully developed and ready to swim off on their own.
Leafy sea dragons are about 20-24 cm. They can only be found in the waters off Southern Australia in the rocky reefs and seaweed beds.
02. The Red Panda
Beneath the forest canopy in the Himalayan Mountains are the very rare small relative of the panda. Looking more in appearance and size like raccoons, they are a little bear like and rusty reddish in color, but can have markings of black and white.
Rings distinguish their tail and to help them stay warm in the high altitudes, they have fur on the soles of their feet!
Like their bigger cousin the giant panda, they eat mostly bamboo shoots and leaves and this hunt for food takes up most of their day. They also like to eat insects, bird eggs, some fruits and berries. They are most active in the early morning and late afternoon, and sleep curled up in trees. The bushy tail helps them balance when climbing and they have retractable claws. They aren’t too fast on the ground.
Baby red pandas litters are small, up to four and the young stay together for three months with the mother. These exotic animals communicate with a whistling sound, good for warning each other of dangers. Their enemies are snow leopards and wild dogs.
Because the bamboo forests are being destroyed for development, red pandas are losing their feeding ground and their numbers have decreased. Their fur is also hunted and that puts them on the endangered list. In the wild they can live 12-14 years.
03. Angora rabbit
Most likely the softest fur you could ever want to touch comes from this unusual animal. The extremely fluffy, very long wool won’t molt away on its own; it has to be sheared. This has made the fur of Angora rabbits valuable and prized by royalty for generations.
The fur so enshrouds these critters that you have to squint to see their small face. There are four main breeds, all with slightly different coats, and are mostly bred in Turkey, for fur and also as pets.
In the swamps, grasslands, and forests of Central and South America, and Malaysia, roams the large pig snouted mammal called the tapir. There are four varieties, all quite similar, but all suffering habitat loss, which leaves them endangered.
Tapirs have inhabited the earth for over ten million years and are believed to be a close relative of the rhino and the horse. They are plant eaters, which also make them important seed dispersers.
Their snout nose makes eating from the ground easier and helps them drink ground water. These funny looking animals communicate with high-pitched sounds, and like to spend time cooling off, and cleaning themselves of parasites in the water. Their snouts act as snorkels!
In the animal world, the sloth has the reputation of being very slow and lazy, which in English gives us the word slovenly meaning just that! The three-toed sloth likes to hang in trees for hours at a time, and its mouth is shaped in a way that makes it always look like it is smiling.
The sloth moves so little that other little animals, beetles and even algae, make their homes in its thick fur. It is well camouflaged handing upside down in a tree because its fur is brown, white or black with a greenish tinge. Home is the tropical rainforests of Central and South America where it can survive quite well on leaves and fruit. Because it barely moves around, the sloth has a low body temperature and slow metabolism.
06. Frill necked lizard
Bloating up like it’s about to burst, this lizard is native to Northern Australia and New Guinea, is unusual in appearance and behavior. It spends most of its time in the trees and is well camouflaged by it brownish and reddish coat, and can change color to protect itself. The frill is white and orange and is just more skin folded back against the lizard’s head and neck.
Why the frill? It is scary – it expands to warn off predators, and other lizards. He’s a hungry fellow, who can basically eat anything that moves, that is smaller than he is: insects and small amphibians which are eaten quickly. The scaly coat helps reduce the loss of water since this lizard enjoys the sun too. This funny lizard can run standing up, with its forelegs and tail in the air!
07. Emperor Tamarin
The Tamarin is a primate and this tiny breed got the Emperor nickname because of its long white moustache, distinctive of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. Like its cousin the marmoset, this little fellow has a fine silky coat in grey with a silvery-brown crown and white underbelly. These weird aniamls are a rather noise primate and communicate with trills, hisses and long chirping calls. These sounds are also the way they show dominance or threats in their social group.
One of the most renewable fiber-producing products is the fur of the alpaca. Their fleece is a yearly product that can be made into clothing that is hypoallergenic, warmer than wool, soft as cashmere, and almost completely waterproof. Alpaca farming is becoming very popular!
Alpaca are a cousin of the llama and a rather new animal, because it was a cross of two similar members of the camel family. It is also a native of South America in the high dry country. They are medium sized, about 120 -190 pounds. They are easy to feed because they tolerate low quality grasses.
The alpaca likes to spit at humans or other alpacas. These weird looking animals also have a common dung pile which is an unusual animal trait but easier for raising them and keeping disease rates down. They have a high whiney sound they use when threatened and other animal sounds such as a cluck, click or wark. Alpaca females breed easily and often!
09. Pygmy Marmoset
This is the smallest member of the primate family, small enough for the palm of an adult hand. They are found in the dense tropical rainforest of South America. Their biggest threat is actually the pet trade and tourist activity.
This tiny primate is covered in a dense brownish-gold fur and only weighs about 4 ounces. Their black-ringed tail is longer than their body, but their tail and strong gripping claws keep them safe in the bush and up to treetops.
Uniquely they can rotate their head 180° and also have the ability to leap 15 feet into the air. These weird animals eat plants and small animals such as insects. Being quiet is one of their best defenses, but they can produce a clicking sound or high-pitched whistle to warn of dangers. Like most primates, they live in small groups, are territorial, and are active in the day. The marmoset is one of the few animals that have been known to mate for life.
Besides is slim build and long legs, the gerenuk is known mostly for its long skinny neck, which can be stretched to reach taller branches for food. Its head is small for its body, proportionately.
The males have horns and a more muscular build than the female. Of the whole animal world, trainers call the gerenuk the most humble of all in its behavior. These strange animals help each other in the wild and in captivity. Gerenuks seem to not drink water and derive water only from the plants they eat which allows them to thrive in dry climates.
The babirusa was once quite important and given as gifts to royalty. Their habitat is the tropical rainforests along the riverbanks, but they will sometimes move toward higher grounds, but still near the coasts. They eat a wide variety of foods, and like most pigs, have big appetites. They even have a hard enough jaw to crack hard nuts.
The babirusa females and their young live together, as many as 80 in one group. The males live in solitary but will travel in pairs or trios. These strange animals sometimes use their lower tusks for fighting, but the upper ones for defense.
12. Sunda Colugo
Of all the mammals capable of gliding, the sunda colugo or flying lemurs are the most capable. This is due to their extra flap of skin, between their legs. This allows them to fly from higher to lower locations in the tropical rainforest trees of Southeast Asia.
Bigger than squirrels and smaller than possums, but similar in lifestyle, the colugos are actually rather clumsy climbers. They are a large mammal for a tree dweller. They are nocturnal, and shy, and generally solitary, except mothers with their young. To protect her young, the mother is marsupial-like and uses a pouch. As herbivores they eat fruits, berries, leaves and shoots. Resembling bats, these weird rainforest animals like to hang inconspicuously from tree branches.