What is a goblin shark or an immortal jellyfish? Which amphibians can regrow their own body parts? What animal can inhale its prey in less than 30 seconds? The world is full of weird-looking animals and travelling to exotic locations makes you aware of the weirder animals that we share our planet with. But even the most widely travelled adventurers may not have the opportunity to delve into the deepest depths of the ocean or the thickest jungles and most remote deserts on the planet to see the animals that live there.
Sit back, pour yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy this list of the 21 weird animals. You’ll discover some of the weirdest-looking animals known to humans. And when you next get out and about, keep an eye on the world around you because you never know what weird animals may lurk in the unknown places where you live.
- 21 Weird Animals To Look Out For When You Travel
- Weird Fish
- Weird Aquatic Invertebrates
- Weird Amphibians
- Weird Reptiles
- Weird Birds
- Weird Mammals
- Weird Terrestrial Invertebrates
21 Weird Animals To Look Out For When You Travel
1- Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus)
No weird animal list would be complete without acknowledging the existence of the incredibly odd-looking deep-sea fish, the Blobfish.
Researchers pulled the Blobfish from the bottom of the ocean off the coast of New Zealand.
Its pudgy appearance and bulbous rostrum make this one of the weirdest but most adored weird animals in the history of strange animals.
Because it lives around 3,900 feet (1.2 km) deep in the Tasman Sea near Australia and New Zealand, scientists know almost nothing about its life history.
What they do know is that at the depth where the Blobfish lives, it probably looks perfectly normal for a fish.
Bringing it to sea level disfigured the animal because of the change in pressure.
We still consider this animal to be weird because the only pictures of this animal in existence show it to be a blobfish.
2- Brownsnout Spookfish (Dolichopteryx longipes)
The common name alone indicates some weirdness about the Brownsnout Spookfish, which is a member of the Barreleye family, Opisthoproctidae.
The Brownsnout Spookfish has two bizarre-looking eyes.
Half of each eye uses mirror-like crystals to reflect light from the surface so the fish can see the silhouettes of possible prey above them.
The other half of each eye points down to detect the bioluminescence of deep-sea animals beneath them.
These weird eyes place the Brownsnout Spookfish squarely in the weird animal category.
This deep-sea fish lives around 1,000 feet (305 m) and deeper in temperate and tropical oceans around the world.
3- Humpback Anglerfish or Deep Sea Anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii)
The Humpback Anglerfish, also called the Deep Sea Anglerfish, lives at depths of more than 6,600 feet (2012 m).
The female Anglerfish has a mouth full of long, pointy teeth and a bioluminescent lure dangling in front of its giant mouth.
The light from the lure attracts other animals near the mouth of the Anglerfish, where they are easy to catch.
The most bizarre thing about the Anglerfish is that the male is tiny compared to the female.
It attaches to the female parasitically and feeds on her blood.
Scientists have found Humpback Anglerfish all over the world in the dark depths of the open ocean.
Children know the Humpback Anglerfish from the animated Disney movie Finding Nemo.
4- Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni)
The Goblin Shark looks like a deepsea monster.
This weird-looking shark has a long, protruding nose over jaws full of sharp teeth that the shark can unhinge and shoot forward to capture and swallow prey.
This “slingshot” motion looks just like the monster from the Alien movie.
Luckily for humans, this shark lives in deep waters, around 900 to 4,300 feet (270 to 1300 m), so humans only encounter this animal in an accidental commercial catch.
Scientists think they live in every ocean of the world.
Weird Aquatic Invertebrates
5- Immortal Jellyfish (Turritopsis nutricula)
Turritopsis nutricula, commonly known as the Immortal Jellyfish, is a transparent hydrozoan that lives in brackish tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Indo-Pacific oceans.
When severely injured, this weird creature can convert its adult cells into their larval form.
By reverting to its larval form, it can essentially restart its life again, making this animal immortal.
However, it can die if it sustains a bad injury while in its larval form.
There’s appears to be no limit to the number of times adult Immortal Jellyfish can revert to their larval form to regenerate.
Scientists have found that this animal goes through this process often in lab settings.
6- Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis spp.)
The Dumbo Octopus is a genus containing seventeen related species that scientists have identified from deep-sea expeditions.
These weird-looking octopi do not have ink because they do not need it in the pitch-black waters 13,000 feet (4,000 m) below the ocean’s surface.
These animals have large, cute, floppy fins that resemble ears on either side of their head, named for the animated Disney character, Dumbo.
Their tentacles are short, and when spread apart, the animal resembles an umbrella instead of an octopus.
These creatures live in the deepest ocean waters all over the world.
7- Blue Glaucus (Glaucus atlanticus)
Blue Glaucus is a nudibranch or sea slug with a brilliant blue colour that floats on its back in the open ocean.
Some call it a Blue Angel, Blue Dragon, or Sea Swallow.
It is a member within an entire order of bizarre creatures, but this species, in particular, is especially weird.
The Blue Glaucus prefers preying on Portuguese Man O’War and other venomous jellyfish.
The weirdest thing this animal does is save the stinging cells from the venomous jellyfish it eats and use them to defend itself against predators.
They can deliver a more concentrated dose of venom than any jellyfish, making them very dangerous.
These slugs only grow to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in length.
You can find these creatures worldwide, including at the beach, and you should avoid touching them.
8- Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)
The Axolotl is a bizarre-looking amphibian native to central Mexico, where its population is decreasing because of habitat destruction and introduced species.
It is a critically endangered animal that has become popular with aquarists.
Captive Axolotls breed easily all over the world.
In captivity, they are a light pink colour, whereas wild Axolotls are a dark brown colour.
This weird creature is different from many other amphibian species because, after completing metamorphosis, it keeps its juvenile characteristics.
As adults, they have external gills, a tail, and underdeveloped limbs.
Axolotls can regrow all of their body parts, including organs.
Scientists have transplanted body parts from one Axolotl to another with no limb rejection, making this species interesting for research.
9- Tentacled Snake (Erpeton tentaculatum)
The Tentacled Snake is a snake like no other, with two tentacles that protrude from its snout.
These weird snakes are ambush predators.
They live underwater, and their colouration allows them to camouflage well.
They surprise their prey by imitating a branch in the water and remaining still until a fish swims past.
They have rear fangs and are a little venomous, although they are not harmful to humans.
Another weird thing about this snake is that female snakes give birth to live young.
These snakes are native to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in rivers, streams, and ponds.
10- Mata Mata (Chelus fimbriata)
The Mata Mata is a freshwater turtle with a bizarre appearance.
It has bumps and ridges all over its shell, a long neck, a large head, and a long, tubular snout that it uses as a snorkel.
These turtles live in the slow-moving waters of the Amazon Basin in South America, where they blend in with the debris on the muddy bottom, looking like fallen leaves or tree bark.
These turtles lie in wait for small fish and vacuum invertebrates off the bottom.
The female Mata Mata lays eggs which incubate for around 200 days.
11- Satanic Leaf-tailed (Gecko Uroplatus phantasticus)
The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is an incredibly weird-looking animal with a strange name.
This small gecko is only found on the island of Madagascar, where it lives in tropical forests.
Its skin can be a variety of colours, including orange, purple, tan, brown, and yellow, which allow it to blend in with its surroundings.
The tail of this gecko is shaped like a leaf, where some resemble decaying leaves with realistic notches, and others have colourful leafy tails.
They live in trees, feeding on insects, small rodents and reptiles.
The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is a master of disguise, which helps it hunt and evade predation.
12- Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus)
The Mary River Turtle is a weird animal that breathes through its cloaca, a reproductive organ on the butt-end of the turtle.
This allows them to breathe underwater for up to three days.
This turtle species is an ancient one that split off from its closest living relatives forty million years ago.
These endangered turtles need 25 years before they are sexually mature enough to reproduce for the first time.
They live in swiftly-flowing streams of the Marys River in Queensland, Australia.
The Mary River Turtle typically appears to have flowing green hair and a green shell because algae grow on it.
People sometimes call this turtle the Green Haired Turtle.
13- Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)
The Hoatzin is a tropical bird that is not closely related to other extant bird species.
This odd, foul-smelling creature has one characteristic that makes it seem a little more like a dinosaur than a bird.
The chicks hatch out with large claws on their wings, similar to the extinct Archaeopteryx, that allow them to climb trees until they are old enough to fly.
Unlike any other living bird, the gut of the Hoatzin is more like a cow, where all the vegetation it eats ferments in its digestive system.
They live in swamps and mangrove forests of the Amazon and Orinoco Basins of South America.
14- Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)
The Tawny Frogmouth is what a cross between an owl and a frog might look like.
It is a weird-looking bird with a large, frog-like mouth set into a large, owl-like head with a bulky, owlish body.
This nocturnal bird is native to Australia and Tasmania, living in forests, scrubland, parks, and suburbs, where they eat insects, rodents, and lizards.
Tawny Frogmouths have a long, forked tongue and a beak perfect for ripping into their prey.
During the day, they perch on branches and stand still, camouflaging themselves from predators and humans.
15- Lowland Streaked Tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus)
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is a strange, tiny mammal, similar in size to a shrew, with quills like a porcupine.
It is yellow and black and is only found on the island of Madagascar.
This creature primarily eats worms but will prey on other insects as well.
This weird animal is the only mammal that can use stridulation to communicate with each other, like a cricket.
Young Lowland Streaked Tenrecs can rub their spines together to create a noise that will catch their mother’s attention.
These animals can also make clicking noises with their tongues to scare away predators.
The tiny but fierce animals live in burrows together and will head butt any animal that threatens them, stabbing them with quills.
16- Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata)
The Star-nosed Mole has the weirdest nose in the Animal Kingdom, with twenty-two tentacles surrounding its nose that constantly move, exploring the world around it.
These organs help this carnivorous creature find its prey, which consists of insects, worms, crayfish, fish, snails and amphibians.
It has been named the world’s fastest eater because it can inhale its prey in under half a second.
The Star-nosed Mole is native to the United States and lives in the wet soils of swamps, bogs, fields, marshes, dry meadows, and mountains.
They dig underground tunnels and primarily live there, but have also been observed swimming underwater.
17- Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
The Aye-aye is a bizarre-looking primate native to the island of Madagascar.
These weird nocturnal animals are lemurs with long fingers and opposable big toes.
They tap on trees to find grubs, like woodpeckers and then gnaw through the bark to reach their prey.
The third finger is long and slender, making it easy to poke into holes to reach food.
They also forage on berries, honey, and seeds.
Their large eyes help them to see at night, and their oversized ears are very sensitive to the sounds of invertebrates in a tree.
These rare animals are endangered due to habitat destruction.
18- Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
The Platypus, often called the duck-billed platypus, was thought to be a hoax when foreign scientists first examined a specimen from its native Australia.
This weird animal looks like a conglomeration of other animals with its beaver-like tail, duck-like bill and feet, and otter-like body.
The male Platypus has a venomous spine on its back feet that will injure any animal that tries to approach it.
This aquatic animal spends most of its time in the water, feeding on invertebrates, fish, and frogs.
Platypuses can retract the webbing on their feet, making it easier to walk on land.
They are one of two mammals that lay eggs.
The female digs out a burrow and then seals herself inside to lay eggs. The eggs hatch after ten days.
19- Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)
A Narwhal, or unicorn of the sea, is a bizarre-looking porpoise with a long, spiral tusk that protrudes from the upper lip.
Male narwhals and some females have this tusk, a modified and enlarged tooth that provides sensory information about the world around them.
These tusks can grow to be ten feet (three meters) long.
These aquatic mammals live in the Arctic Ocean and feed on squid, shrimp, halibut, and cod.
They can dive down to around a mile (1.6 km) to feed.
Predators of Narwhal include walruses, polar bears, and native Inuit hunters.
The Inuit people use the Narwhal for food and use their ivory tusk for other purposes.
Weird Terrestrial Invertebrates
20- Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas)
One of the world’s biggest moths, the Atlas Moth has a wingspan of 9 inches (23 cm) wide.
They live in the forests and scrublands of China, Malaysia, India, and Indonesia.
These weird animals metamorphose, but as adults, they do not have a functional proboscis and cannot feed.
They only live for a week or two, long enough to find a mate, lay some eggs (if it’s a female), and die.
The wings of this moth mimic a snake on either side, helping to deter potential predators.
Atlas Moth caterpillars produce silk similar to silkworms.
21- Australian Walking Stick (Extatosoma tiaratum)
The Australian Walking Stick, sometimes called the Giant Prickly Stick Insect, is a weird insect with a highly camouflaged body that looks like a curled-up leaf when threatened by a predator.
The tail curves like a stinger but does not actually have one.
These herbivorous walking sticks live in eucalyptus trees, eating leaves.
The male Australian Walking Stick has functional wings and can fly, whereas the female does not have wings and has to walk and climb.
These animals live in Australia and Papua New Guinea, where rodents, birds, and reptiles prey on them.
The Australian Walking Stick is a popular pet all over the world.