Meet the weirdest and the coolest animals on planet Earth

By Stef Zisovska
Publish Date:
 
 
Gharial and turtles - Author: Adam Jones Adam63 - CC BY-SA 3.0
 
SHARE:

The animal kingdom is full of odd surprises. Many times we witness the weird forms of life that Mother Nature creates and we can’t really believe our eyes. Planet Earth has a countless number of animals of all types; some of them are ordinary and we know everything about them, while others are rare, strange-looking and we don’t see or hear about them too often. Animal species can be so interesting sometimes that you can’t stop exploring and learning more about them–mammals, lizards, amphibians, or birds, you name it. Meet the weirdest and the coolest animals on planet Earth.

Armadillo

A nine-banded armadillo in the Green Swamp, central Florida – Author: http://www.birdphotos.com – CC BY 3.0

All types of armadillo live mostly in the Americas. Armadillos have leathery hard armor that they use as protection from predators. They have the ability to roll up their body into a ball and don’t let outside threats to harm them. Unfortunately, in most parts of Central and South America, armadillos are used as a food, which is why you will mostly see them on a plate than in the wild in those areas.

Cantor’s Giant Softshell Turtle

Pelochelys cantorii (Cantor’s giant softshell turtle) – Author: Dementia – CC BY-SA 2.0

Cantor’s giant softshell turtle is one of the weirdest animals on the planet, and you probably never heard of it because it spends 95 percent of its life buried in a sand and hiding from enemies. The length of this giant turtle is 7 feet and it has a bite strong enough to break a bone. This turtle is the largest of all softshells, but unfortunately, it’s an endangered species.

Gharial

Gharial – Author: Matěj Baťha – CC BY-SA 3.0

The gharial is the weirdest crocodile species, endemic to Indian rivers. They are unique because of the extremely long jaws that help them in their everyday fishing activities. The gharial can grow up to 21 feet, and it’s harmless to humans due to its slim mouth and limited fish diet. Unluckily, this animal is endangered, too, because people hunt them for food and skin.

Narwhal

A pod of narwhals. Note the spiral configuration of the single tusk – Author: Dr. Kristin Laidre

Narwhals are arctic animals that definitely look like they jumped out from an animated movie. They can grow up to 16 feet, and the males have spears as long as their entire bodies. The spears are actually extended canine teeth that are common in male narwhals. They use the spears for fencing other males in the time of mating while living in the Arctic Ocean.

Stonefish

Stonefish at AQWA – Author: SeanMack – CC BY 2.5

The stonefish lives in the Indian and the Pacific oceans, and it is known as one of the most venomous fish in the world. The stonefish has a spine in the dorsal fin that can kill a human within a few seconds. The most dangerous part is that the stonefish has the ability of mimicry and can change its appearance into a rock. Stonefish is even a better actor than the chameleon. Thanks to its stony looks, this fish can easily deceive its victims because it is almost impossible to spot.

Thorny Devil

A thorny dragon in Western Australia – Author: KeresH – CC BY-SA 4.0

The thorny devil or the thorny dragon is a type of lizard endemic to Australia. The entire upper body of the dragon is covered with hard spines that help the animal to stay alive. The thorns make the devil impossible for a predator to swallow it, so many times the predator just gives up and lets the thorny devil live. The funny part is that the thorny devil is completely harmless and only eats plants and sometimes ants.

Phasmatidae

Male Phobaeticus chani, “Chan’s megastick”, the world’s longest insect species – Author: P.E. Bragg – CC-BY 3.0

Phasmatidae is a group of insects known as the walking sticks, and they look like dry twigs. They can only be seen in the warm countries, and some of them have wings and can fly. However, most of the stick insects just walk around and don’t have any wings at all.

Flying Fish

Flying fish taking off

Flying fish have large dorsal fins that allow them to jump out of the water and glide on the surface up to 45 seconds. This weird fish behavior is used as a defensive mechanism when the fish gets attacked by a larger predator. In order to achieve the flying effect, they use the tail fin to beat the surface of the water and escape the predators.

Lungfish

Marbled lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus) – Author: OpenCage – CC-BY 2.5

Lungfish is one of the weirdest species on the planet. The African and the South American lungfish uses gills to breathe up to a certain age when it develops lungs and starts using them instead. If the water where it lives dries out, it is even capable of living on a dry land for a year using its lungs and burrowing into the dry sea bottom. It enters in a phase of dormancy when it doesn’t eat or drink for a year until the water comes back in the habitat.

These are some of the world’s weirdest animals and some of them can be seen in the wilderness. Good luck!