Mother Nature’s Misfits: Photos of Strange and Unusual Animals

by J.M. on October 16, 2009 · 30 comments

We tend to love animals even from a very young age. Some of the first words we learn (and first things we recognize) are “dog,” “cat,” and other usual animals for our areas. We even learn the sounds animals make when we’re wee young things — cows go “moo” right?

Mother Nature didn’t stop with the family pet and animals on the local farm though. There are thousands, if not millions, of species out there in the world that seem rather odd to us, and we’re still discovering more! Let’s step away from the norm today and explore some of Mother Nature’s misfits through this collection of strange and unusual members of the animal world. Whether cute or kind of creepy, you’re sure to find something new.

1. Okapi

As strange as the okapi might look (it appears to be some kind of cross between a zebra and chestnut horse, but with an unusually large neck), it sure is cute isn’t it? Not all strange animals have to be freaky or ugly or downright scary looking. That long neck we talked about is a reminder that the okapi isn’t actually tied to horses or zebras. It’s in the giraffe family!

Found in the dense forests of the Congo, this herbivore jungle giraffe can live to be over 30 years old and grow to over 500 pounds. Can’t make it to the jungle to see an okapi for yourself? They can also be found in numerous zoos around the world. Say it with me now: Awwwwww!

Credit: kbaird via Flickr

Credit: kbaird via Flickr

Credit: Kol Treqaskes via Flickr

Credit: Kol Treqaskes via Flickr

2. Mexican Walking Fish

Okay. While not all strange and unusual creatures are ugly or creepy this thing certainly is! Fish give me the willies to begin with, but at least they’re confined to the water. But a fish with legs! Uh oh. I sense nightmares of fish chasing me on land coming. Ewwww.

It’s time to be fair now. These little guys aren’t actually fish at all — they’re a type of salamander (which doesn’t make them any less cringe-worthy). The carnivorous little creatures are officially called axolotls, and as their common name implies they’re native to Mexico. Sadly they’re endangered (and as disgusting as I might think they are, I certainly don’t wish that on any species). You’d think that since they can regenerate their own body parts, they’d be better at this survival game. Apparently not — the introduction of non-native fish to their diminishing natural habitat is proving too much for them.

Credit: Vanessa Pike-Russel via Flickr

Credit: Vanessa Pike-Russel via Flickr

Credit: g-na via Flickr

Credit: g-na via Flickr

3. Proboscis Monkey

Let’s get back to the cute and cuddly side of things with the next of Mother Nature’s misfits — the proboscis monkey. How adorable are they? The interesting feature of the proboscis monkey is obviously the schnoz. Their noses almost make them look cartoonish — well, for the males at least. Apparently females are attracted by the huge protruding noses (oh if only big-nosed humans were as lucky, right?).

Unfortunately the proboscis monkey is another endangered species. Despite being natural climbers and swimmers and being smart enough to travel in groups to avoid being preyed upon by crocodiles when crossing rivers, Mother Nature just isn’t cutting these little cuties a break. As with many endangered species, the proboscis monkey is nearing extinction due to logging and other destruction of its native habitat.

Credit: uspn via Wikimedia.org

Credit: uspn via Wikimedia.org

Credit: belgianchocolate via Flickr

Credit: belgianchocolate via Flickr

4. Lithogenes Wahari

This interesting variety of catfish is both an armored catfish and a type of climbing catfish. Only recently were scientists able to find plentiful specimens of this Venezuelan native. Because these catfish live in rapidly flowing water, generally in rocky areas, they have an unusual feature. They not only have a suction-style mouth but also two fins in the pelvic area. These features help the catfish climb vertically up rocks. The adaptation allows the fish to move up streams despite heavy currents, and to climb when needed to adjust to changing water levels.

Credit: S. Schaefer

Credit: S. Schaefer

5. Female Angler Fish

If there was ever an oddball in the aquatic world, the female angler fish would be it. Not only does it look like something out of a child’s nightmare, but she lives up to her horrific look when it comes to how the fish reproduce. Here’s the gist: Eventually the male can’t feed without essentially becoming a parasite of a female. He finds one by picking up her scent. The male bites into one of these lovely ladies and they’re fused together (gross enough, right?). He then proceeds to die, leaving behind nothing more than his magnificent little “man parts.” She gets his sperm. She can reproduce. I’m not sure how happy she is with the arrangement, but hey, whatever works.

Credit: meocrisis via Wikimedia.org

Credit: meocrisis via Wikimedia.org

6. Sloth

Do you know what I love most about the sloth? They look so happy and perky. Don’t they? They look like teddy bears mated with monkeys and got high. They live in South and Central America, where they spend much of their time hanging upside down in trees. In fact, they rarely come out of the trees at all. But if they did, wouldn’t you just want to hug them?

Credit: praziquantel via Flickr

Credit: praziquantel via Flickr

Credit: Ontley via Wikimedia.org

Credit: Ontley via Wikimedia.org

7. Pelochelys Cantorii

I like turtles. In fact the hill I grew up on was known as Turtle Hill because we had so many. These turtles aren’t ones I’d want to touch or take home though. The large soft-shell turtles live in fresh water, and spend most of their time buried. I don’t know about you, but to me a turtle just isn’t a turtle without a hard little shell and a gorgeous pattern. These ones are monotone. Just the thought of feeling a soft shell makes me cringe, but I guess if that’s all the protection they need, who am I to argue with Mother Nature?

Credit: dict.cn

Credit: dict.cn

8. Blobfish

Why is it that the freakiest of Mother Nature’s misfits seem to live in water? Here’s another creepy and odd-looking fish — the blobfish. Thankfully they’re only found around Australia, so I don’t have to worry about running into one of these squishy gelatinous-looking things when in the water. Whew! When you look at them head-on they almost have a human-like nose that makes them look all the creepier. I’m not sure what Mother Nature was thinking when she created the blobfish. Maybe she lost a bet.

Credit: MFS - Pictures via Flickr

Credit: MFS - Pictures via Flickr

9. Star-Nosed Mole

The star-nosed mole is a creature that looks like it almost wants to be cute and cuddly, but which still looks like something out of a horror flick. With a flared-open star-like nose that makes it look like it has an octopus mounted to its face and claws that look almost skeletal, I wouldn’t want to stumble across one of these oddball animals. Then again, if I were basically blind I probably wouldn’t mind a freakish nose (wouldn’t have to see it) as long as the sense of smell helped me to survive.

Credit: JLplusAL via Flickr

Credit: JLplusAL via Flickr

Credit: Hillbraith via Flickr

Credit: Hillbraith via Flickr

10. Aye-aye

There’s something completely strange but still absolutely adorable about the aye-aye. Found in Madagascar, they have faces that look like a cross between a bat and a young bear. They’re actually Madagascar’s most endangered mammal (poor little things) due to deforestation. While they’re actually primates, they share something other than their face with bats — they use echolocation to help them find food.

Credit: Tom Junek via Wikimedia.org

Credit: Tom Junek via Wikimedia.org

Credit: Frank Wouters via Wikimedia.org

Credit: Frank Wouters via Wikimedia.org

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

alex November 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm

nice read. thx

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JME December 4, 2009 at 10:23 am

Very enjoyable! Great pictures.

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freezerfeet December 4, 2009 at 10:44 am

Thanks for sharing! This link was posted on http://www.wral.com.

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Yvette December 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

The thing with blobfish is, they look fairly cute when they are still in their deep sea habitat, the only reason you see the all BLEARGGGG is thier bodues are 90% water and so decompression at the surface streaches them out.

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Kent Butler December 7, 2009 at 10:37 am

Okay, I checked it and I’m convinced: the okapi is not a product of Photoshop… strange!

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McMemerson December 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm

How can you be disgusted by axolotls? They’re adorable! Look at that little smiling pink face, awww!: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albinoaxolotl3.jpg

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Gregoryno6 February 6, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Blobfish are in fact baby Sontarans.
http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Jingo_Linx
This is not generally known.

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pavle February 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

The angler fish is the one on the first picture, with the male shown. The other picture shows the monkfish, though, and while I am not sure about its reproductive habits, I know it isn’t the same as the one from the photo above it..

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J.M. February 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Thanks for your thoughts pavle. However, on comparing it with other angler fish shots, I can’t verify your claim. On top of that, the photo’s author and host site definitely confirm that it’s an angler (one caught in Norway more specifically).

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pavle February 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm

There are, apparently, many angler fish species, I have to admit I didn’t know that fact. The fishes on the said photos are definitely not the same, and the fish from the second photo indeed is the monkfish, or goosefish, an angler fish subspecie(lophius)-otherwise known as the poor-man’s lobster(I have eaten many of them). The first one is, as the link says, Photocorynus spiniceps, completely different fish, allthough from the same family-I wouldn’t dare eating it:)))

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J.M. February 7, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for clarifying that it was indeed a type of angler. Personally I wouldn’t want to come across either variety! Then again fish creep me out (I know that’s strange), so these ones do a bit more than usual. :) I can’t imagine wanting to eat one. While I don’t eat seafood, so I wouldn’t understand the comparison, for our other readers what would you say eating an angler is most similar to?

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pavle February 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Hhaha, well, it is quite similar to lobster meat, except it is a bit less firm, and more “fishy”, not crabby, I would say. Still, it tastes very good-of course, to the ones who do want to eat it, for whatever crazy reasons:). Only the tail is eaten, normally filleted (allthough in the Northern Adriatic the whole devil can be found thrown into the pot, among other fish, in a dish called brodetto, a type of stew).
I didn’t know about the weird reproductive method, though…
Very good article, if I may say.

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Dan February 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Those Proboscis monkeys really creep me out. I’m not sure what it is about them, but I think it’s the fact that they look a lot like humans.

Not necessarily with their nose, but their eyes and especially in the first picture, the monkey on the left looks like a guy wearing a jumper!

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J.M. February 18, 2010 at 7:13 am

I’m not sure why Dan, but they remind me of oompa loompas.

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Jesus Christ April 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I believe that Bigfoot is real because I know what Bigfoot really is. The film that Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin made in 1967 in Northern California at Bluff Creek of Bigfoot was real. Here is what they filmed on October 20 1967.
Several thousand years ago there were thousands of slaves that ran off around the world and started their own countries. When these slaves ran off there was a large group of men and boys that took off and ended up in Africa. Some of them were giants as tall as 9 ft. or even taller. The giant named Goliath that David killed with his slingshot was 9 ft. tall. So there were giants in those days. Some of these men and boys went exploring to Borneo and caught female orangutans and took them to South America and had sex with them and created the Indians. The men and boys that stayed in Africa caught female gorillas and had sex with them and created the Africans. When scientists found the bones in Africa they thought we evolved naturally from a female chimpanzee.
But it wasn’t a natural evolution it was a man made evolution. That’s where all the Bigfoot and Orangutan creatures come from. They are half man and half gorilla and half man and half orangutan. They use to call the Indians the red man. The orangutan has reddish hair. When those men bred out the hair the Indian’s skin remained red. The gorilla has black hair and skin. When those men bred out the hair the African’s skin remained black. Some of the Indians and Africans are tall. And some of the Bigfoot and Orangutan creatures are tall. They are tall because some of the men that created them were tall. Some scientists believe that we evolved naturally from a female chimpanzee. Have you ever seen an 8 ft. tall chimpanzee? I haven’t either.
Bigfoot migrated up through Africa and came into the United States at the top of Africa when they were connected by land. The Orangutan creatures migrated up through Central America and came into the United States like the Indians did later on. The first Europeans that saw the Africans said that some of the African women had genitals that resembled that of a gorilla. If you look at the nose of an African you will notice that it is wide like the gorilla’s nose. The creature that Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin filmed in 1967 was half man and half gorilla. It was a female Bigfoot that they named Patty. Patty was not a man in a costume, she is not our missing link and she is not a figment of our imagination.
Patty was a creature that was created by men that had sex with female gorilla’s and orangutans a long time ago. Patty was a man made creature. Could you please help me contact all the good Bigfoot researchers and let them know what it is that they are searching for. Half man and half gorilla.

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Nabeelah November 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Fantastic website…I njoyd it, evn though the fish get a lil creepy, and learnd a few more things exist

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XDDXDD February 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Weird looking, esspecially the blobfish. Hey anybody reading this ask a scientist this. “If we evolved from monkeys why aren’y monkeys still evolving?” and “If we evolved from monkeys, where did monkeys evolve from?”
I know the answer: God! He created all things. Nobody could be smart enought to creat the human eye because it is so complex. Nobody but god. Same thing with humans. God created us!

Reply

XDDXDD March 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Can anyone argue with that?

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1121123211234321123454321 March 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm

OMG! These are so funny…NOT :(

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sara July 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Hey I’m with you this site is stupid

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anju June 4, 2011 at 2:13 am

try getting the information of kit fox,bird-dog and more.reduce the size of the pics. get more neat pics.

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Sonny A July 30, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I love how they described the ”sloth” that is funny…..

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Madek August 15, 2011 at 6:53 am

this is what nature wants~ No stupid BS about God creating this. This is natures plan xDD <3 I gotta love natures little quirks. I love this one creature, but i keep forgetting what it's called, it's got practically creamsicle colors, a mammal, i think it was a marsupial…. not sure, but I thought it was the most adorable thing in the world

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Spirit Bear January 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm

In reply to the one who called himself “Jesus Christ ON April 12, 2010 – 6:52 pm” : Are you loco in your coco? Sasquatch ARE real, as real as any other being in this plane of physical exixtence, however, your story is not only a load of crap, it is also offensive. I am Native American. My ancestors were here 22,000 years ago, building mounds which still mystify folks today. They had a written language which today’s “scientists” don’t like to admit they have as yet been unable to decypher. Read your bible, and you will read about a man called Esau, who was covered all over with red hair. The “history” that is taught in public and Catholic schools is full of lies. Do some research. Read about Atlantis. Read about the Elusinian Mysteries. Read the Mahabarata. Read about the Anunaki. Read what a man called Billy Meier has to say. There is so much that modern “civilized” humans do not comprehend, mostly because they are all conditioned from early childhood to be obedient sheep, rather than the Free Spiritual Beings that Creator intended. Mankind was NEVER given “dominion” over all other species. Rather, he was charged with the responsibility of caretaking Mother Earth, and all other species. (Which, I might add, he is currently failing miserably at!) Soon you will see. Soon you will all see, when the Truth manifests and comes knocking upon your door.
Until then,
Peace to all.
Namaste.

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Ashley February 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Some are scary and some are funny

Reply

Jesus Christ May 4, 2012 at 6:38 am

1900- 1.6 Billion People
2012- 7.0 Billion People
112 years- 5.4 Billion People
Solution to problem- Stop Creating Chrildren
The life you save just might be the one you don’t create.

Reply

yudhe February 3, 2013 at 2:38 am

great picture…

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