Sat flicking through an animal encyclopaedia with Arthur the other day reminded me of all the weird and wacky animals there are out there that I have discovered over the years and fallen in love with just for the singular reason that they are a bit (or a lot) bizarre.
These guys are not the usual ‘My Favourite Animal’ fodder, but they are all awesome and I think they deserve more love than they usually get.
So here are MY TOP 5 PECULIAR CREATURES.
Aka: Sea Slugs.
Seriously, they are so beautiful for no reason I can actually discern – apparently it’s for camouflage but I don’t know what they think they are trying to blend into!! There are so many varieties we can’t even count them – apparently new ones are discovered almost daily!
4. Pink Fairy Armadillo
All armadillos are a bit weird if you think about it but the Pink Fairy Armadillos are just ridiculous. They’re about 4″ long and their big spade-like front feet are so enormous and adapted to digging that they really struggle to walk on solid surfaces. Luckily they live in Argentinian deserts so that’s not usually a problem.
These weird little critters retain their ‘larval features’ into adulthood so they never turn into an ‘adult’ form like other salamanders. They also sometimes never leave places that never get any natural light so they are blind and white/translucent rather than the usual brown/green. This article in the National Geographic explains more about their unique features if you want to know more.
The popularity of these as pets, probably means you have heard of these guys but I’m not sure my Mum had when I requested an Axolotl birthday cake out of the blue one year… (I was turning 22, you are never too old for a silly birthday cake from your Mum. Just sayin’)
2. Lowland Streaked Tenrec
These guys live in Madagascar and look like the result of a freak meeting between a shrew and a hedgehog. I think they are adorably ridiculous even if they do appear to be having a permanently bad hair day.
They are also the only mammal known to use stridulation as a form of communication (rubbing body parts together to make sound) – usually this is done by insects and snakes – but these guys vibrate their backs to make their spines chitter together. How clever is that?!
1. Naked Mole Rat
I can’t remember which Zoo it was that I actually saw these guys in real life at, or who I was with, but I do remember squealing with utter glee and standing there for an absolute age watching them go about their business. I do love them so.
This short video explains how Naked Mole Rats can survive with oxygen levels fatal to basically every other mammal in existence. Which is pretty darn cool if you ask me.