Just when we thought we knew every animal in the zoo and we’d scoured every corner of the planet, we forget just how many millions of species there could be in the world. Actually, every year, scientists keep stumbling upon some bizarre, exotic, weird and wonderful creatures and they really look like they just suddenly dropped out of the sky.
When you think about it, the world is a pretty big place. And no one has yet explored all the depths of the ocean. So whether this is a real example of Darwinism and new species have popped up over time, or they’ve just been living their best lives the whole time without us noticing, they deserve to be mentioned. So it’s time to get acquainted with the coolest, strangest, most bizarre real-life animals that really look too make-believe to be real.
A Paint Silkie is an Exotic Fluffy Chicken
We know what your thinking. Is this a fluffy festival boot, an oversized stuffed animal, or an imaginary chicken? That’s because this has to be one of the most majestic and fluffiest creatures we’ve ever seen in our lives. After questioning everything we’ve ever been told, we soon discovered that this huggable ball of fluff is actually a paint silkie.
Amazingly, paint silkies are an exotic breed of chicken and are said to originate from China and South East Asia. These fluffy chickens are known for their distinctive fluffy plumage, which feels like silk or satin to touch. They are also pretty calm and friendly as well as being insanely cute. So when they were transported to western countries, people kept them as pets.
The Ankole-Watusi is an African Cross Bull
Yes, we know it looks like someone has dressed this bull up with random giant horns for Halloween. But it might amaze you to know that this is an actual real-life cross bull breed. These little fellas originated from Africa and we’re surprised they can hold their heads up with those giant horns.
Commonly referred to as ankole-watusis, these huge creatures are derived from the sanga cattle breed in central Africa. They are known for their supersized horns, which have even earned them a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Helmeted Hornbills Love to Headbutt
At first glance, it looked like someone put the beak of this dinosaur-bird in the wrong place. However, as we delved closer, we were amazed to discover that this breathtaking creature is actually just an exotic helmeted hornbill bird. What’s more, it was just born with this dinosaur-style helmet.
This large and very exotic bird species is actually part of the hornbill family and is clearly known around the jungle for their casque or helmet-like heads, black plumage, and bizarre throat patch. Amazingly, their helmet heads are solid and can weigh up to 3kg. So naturally, many males love to battle it out for fun mid-air with some head-to-head combat.
The Red-Lipped Batfish Is Puckered up for a Smooch
If you’ve ever been to the Galapagos Islands or Costa Rica, then you’ll know that these areas are saturated with rare and peculiar-looking creatures that we never knew existed. But if you haven’t, then you might wonder why this crazy amphibian spider fish is walking around the ocean wearing bright red lipstick.
The answer is clearly because this is actually a red-lipped batfish. While they might be bad swimmers, they are also highly adapted and can use their fins to instead walk around the ocean floor looking for prey. Luckily, as we know, there are plenty of fish in the sea.
A Proboscis Monkey is a Little Nosey
Now we had to double take a few times, as this is not the usual kind of adorable monkey that we’re used to seeing roaming around in the jungle. Either this monkey has told a few lies like Pinocchio, or it really woke up like that. Either way, we’re still blown away that this guy is actually real.
Surprisingly, this Old World creature actually exists and originates from Asian countries like Indonesia and Borneo. Commonly referred to as the proboscis monkey, it’s species is known for its unusually long droopy nose, reddish fur and bulging stomachs in the shape of a potbelly. To top it all off, they also have webbed feet and usually attract females by making weird honking sounds.
The Vogelkop Has Some Smooth Dance Moves
This elaborate and colorful bird looks too photo-shopped to be real. But scientists were blown away when they first spotted the vogelkop in real life near New Guinea. With its shimmering blue breast-plate, majestic black cape, and piercing blue eyes it certainly stood out from the flock.
The volgelkop actually belongs in a species called the superb birds of paradise. And while this bird has clearly got the looks, it’s got the moves too. You see, these birds have an elaborate courtship ritual, where they spread their black cape out wide so they can show off their blue plumes. They then woo females by dancing in semi-circles until they win them over with their hilarious and weirdly smooth moves.
A Hammer-Headed Fruit Bat Looks Just as Monstrous as It Sounds
This monstrous creature looks a little too villainous to be real. But we soon discovered that this is, in fact, a hammer-headed fruit bat, also known as a megabat or a big-lipped bat. We admit that we had to squint our eyes a little and pretend to look past its creepy exterior.
The hammer-headed bat was first discovered in 1861 and is actually the largest bat in Africa. You can spot these guys in the flesh, lurking in African swamps and palm forests. Amazingly, the males are usually larger than females and are known for their huge heads and bat-like flight membranes. Luckily, they usually feast on fruit rather than anything else, so humans are actually their biggest predators.
A Chestnut-backed Chickadee is the Original Angry Bird
First of all, we’d love to meet the elaborate scientists that named some of these new-age and exotic creatures. Perhaps it would be a little disappointing if this majestic chick was called something regular like an orange chick or an Angry Bird. So, let us introduce you to the elaborate chestnut-backed chickadee.
These little bloated puffer chicks can usually be found along the East Coast of the United States from Canada to California. They’ll be easy to recognize with their inflated heads and bodies and are usually a colorful mix of chestnut brown, grey, black and white. Interestingly, rather than being known as Angry Birds, they’re considered the most handsome chickadees you can find.
A Baby Proboscis Monkey Looks Like an Early Human
In their adult forms, proboscis monkeys do have distinctively large noses and pot bellies. But in their younger years, they look a lot different. Without their signature noses, they do look very much like the early humans. You know the prehistoric humans that were used to seeing in the history books.
These baby proboscis monkeys do share similar characteristics with their parents, with the same reddish-brown skin color and long-tail. They just look like they’re still waiting to be evolved into monkeys yet, and at this point, it looks like their noses could go either way.
Greater Sage-Grouses Loves to Strut
We have to admit that we spent a great amount of time trying to google what planet this alien peacock bird creature originated from. As it turns out, this interesting creature actually originates in North America and is called a greater sage-grouse.
These great sages are adorned with round large yellow air sacs, which produce popping sounds to attracting other alien-peacock-looking females. The males also have elaborate mating rituals that involve stretching their majestic peacock-like tail-feathers and performing a “strutting display.”
The Axolotl is a Mexican Walking Fish
The axolotl is known as a type of salamander that’s also known as a Mexican walking fish. The big twist here is that they’re not actually a fish, they’re amphibians. They were originally found lurking in the lakes in Mexico City.
To make it even more confusing, the amphibians don’t develop lungs to walk on land. Instead, they remain in the water with their extended gills, like fish. The reason they look a little albino is that they don’t really develop. So they have wide heads, underdeveloped limbs, no lids on their eyes, and crazy external gills extended from the back of their heads for added effect.
A Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock is Not Actually Related to Nemo
We have to admit, at first we thought we’d found Nemo’s distant cousin casually hugging a tree. But looks can be deceiving. This is actually the Guianan cock-of-the-rock. It’s part of the species of Cotinga and is a passerine bird that can be spotted in the tropical rainforests in South America.
The males can be easily spotted with their bright orange feathers and super cool half-moon heads. They’re also pretty competitive when it comes to attracting females and use a few complex methods to woo them, including extending their flumes. The females then decide who to mate with by pecking the male on their rump!
If You See a Portuguese Man O’ War, Run
This might look just like a cute and slimy children’s toy or a new kind of sea horse, but believe us, you wouldn’t want to touch these little slimy little fellas. They’re known as the Portuguese man o’war, which is a marine hydrozoan and can usually be spotted in the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans.
Beneath its cute exterior, lies long venomous tentacles, with the power to sting like a jellyfish. In some cases, their stings can be fatal for humans and fish alike. So if you see one of these washed up on the beach, our advice is run away as fast as you can, as this man o’war means war.
A Lesser Madagascar Hedgehog Tenrec Looks Like a Startled Hedgehog
This might look just like someone dragged a hedgehog through a hedge backward and painted it with random yellow stripes. However, this creature was just born this way. These startled little critters are known as lesser Madagascar hedgehog tenrecs and can be found in the scrubs of Madagascar.
The surprised-looking hedgehogs are a species of mammal and are part of the tenricidae family. They are typically known for their small, stout-bodied and are covered in random and colorful pointy spines. They also look like babies that are not developed yet and still waiting to be magically transformed into real hedgehogs when they grow up.
A Blue Dragon is Really a Blue Sea Slug
It might seem like this an exotic floating flower, but it’s actually a majestic blue dragon. Officially known as a glaucus atlanticus, it also has a few nicknames, like a sea swallow or a blue angel. They’re also really just blue sea slugs.
These blue sea slugs can typically be found floating upside on the surface of the water, living their best lives, while they can get carried along by the currents. While they may look pretty happy, they also store stinging nematocysts to protect against predators. So if you meet one, just be careful they don’t sting you.
A Pink Fairy Armadillo is Just as Cute as it Sounds
This armadillo looks much cuter than the brown boss-like armadillos we’re used to seeing roaming around the forest. Although it may look like someone stuck a pink seashell coat on a gerbil or a rabbit, this is actually a pink fairy armadillo that has adapted for the desert.
At just 5 inches long, these crazy cute little critters are the smallest species of armadillos. They can usually be found at night burrowing in the desert plains of Argentina and are known for their distinctive small eyes, silky yellow fur, and signature pink dorsal shell.
The Stargazer Fish Is the Meanest Fish in the Ocean
It might look like this pre-historic fish has been frozen in time or fantastically turned into stone. However, this is a real modern-day stargazer fish with is part of the family of fish called perciforms. They can be found lurking in shallow and deep salt waters. They’re also known as the “meanest fish in the ocean.”
These alien sharks are known for having eyes on the top of their head and a large and creepy-looking upward-facing mouth. They’re also venomous. And electric. This means they have the power to electrocute other fish and eat them alive. Since they already look like they’re covered in sand, they can easily camouflage themselves before going on the attack, which adds to their terrifying persona.
A Marabou Stork is an Undertaker Bird
This bizarre stork looks much different from the storks in the age-old fairy tale. It’s actually a large wading stork from the Ciconiidae family and can be found lurking around the African Sahara. It also loves to hang out and play near landfills, earning the reputation of an “undertaker bird.”
The reason for its legendary nickname is because of its black cloak-like wings and skinny legs. The stork is also giant and has one of the largest wingspans of any land bird. Apart from their scarily long bills and bare heads, they’re also easy to spot due to their giant pink gular throat sac that looks strangely like a sweet potato.
Wren Birds Are Masters of Disguises
In this photo, it’s hard to see the wood from the trees. It really looks like these creatures were previously birds but have been covered in bark and transformed into branches. After some research, we discovered that these are actually passerine birds, called wrens, which are in the New World Troglodytidae family.
The wren species can be typically found along the coast of the Americas, Europe, and Australasia, and will vary in color and strains depending where they’re found. As you can see by their camouflaged exterior, most wrens are small and inconspicuous, but love to make their presence felt with their loud and complex songs.
A Tarsier Has Serious Golem Vibes
This is not the usual kind of monkey we’re used to seeing hanging in the tree. It looks a little a baby prehistoric monkey that’s been stripped of its fur. Actually, these odd-looking primates are called tarsiers and are part of the Tarsiidae family that can be found in South East Asia.
Perhaps it’s their huge eyes, small heads, under-developed limbs, or it’s long spindly fingers, but it definitely looks suspicious. It also gives off some serious Golem vibes with those bulging eyes. In true Exorcist style, they can also naturally rotate their heads 180 degrees to each side, just like the stuff of nightmares.
Hoatzins are the Original Punks
We still can’t believe this tropical bird seriously woke up like that with its rainbow punk hair and colorful face. The magical creature actually called a hoatzin bird, which is also known as a skunk bird or a reptile bird. They can usually be spotted around the swamps in the Amazonian rainforest.
The hoatzin birds are pretty colorful characters, with a small blue face, red eyes, and a naturally spiky punk hairstyle. They are also pretty large, like a pheasant and their feathers are shades of chestnut brown, grey, and white. Although they might look magical, they actually have a foul smell. They also love to grunt, hiss, and croak, like a true bird rebel.
A Mata Mata Turtle Looks Like a Log
It took a while to work out what was happening here. But we soon realized that this is not a giant turtle next to a random baby crocodile or a log. In fact, that is just a really long turtle head peering out of a giant turtle shell. This curious freshwater turtle is also called a mata mata.
The mata mata is a large sedentary turtle with a long triangular flattened, scaly head with a crazy long snout. Their triangle crocodile heads are also shaped and colored like a piece of bark to camouflage them from predators. If you want to see them in the flesh, they can usually be found roaming around the Amazon and Orinoco basins.
Japanese Spider Crabs Are Real Kids
So, this is an actual-real-life crab. It’s a Japanese spider crab to be exact and they have the longest legs of any crabs on earth, that we know of. The marine crab can be found lurking in the waters around Japan, and in Japan, their name can also be translated as the long-legged crab.
They also have huge bodies to match their giant spidery legs, which can grow up to 40cm. While they are huge, they’re also really good at hiding. They will often disguise themselves by putting sponges and other animals on their heads and can blend their legs with the ocean floor.
A Star-Nosed Mole is No Ordinary Mole
Just when we thought we couldn’t be shocked by anything in life anymore, including extra-terrestrials, this little monstrous alien blew us all out of the water. With our jaws to the floor, we now can’t get this image out of our minds. So, let us introduce you to the star-nosed mole.
So, if you look past its creepy tentacles, you’ll see that this is actually a small mole and it can be found in parts of North America. The sensitive star structure is covered with 25,000 mini touch receptors known as Elmer’s organs. Not only does this look terrifying with tentacles and reptile claws, but it’s also the fastest eating mammal. Interestingly they love to eat worms, which might explain their worm-like tentacles.
Saiga Antelope Have an Ingenious Nasal System
We can’t think of someone that wouldn’t double-take if they saw the saiga antelope. This critically endangered animal has one of the hardest to miss features in all the animal kingdom, and it’s located right on its face. Native to central Eurasia from Russia to Romania, they are still seen in Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Their snout features two long and drooping nostrils that are paired close together and point downwards. But it’s not for no reason; their bizarre nasal system helps filter out the dust and cool their body down in summer. In the winter, it actually warms up the air before it reaches their lungs. If only we had that option!
Mexican Mole Lizards Look Like Terrifying Worms
You’ll never forget the first time you saw a Mexican mole lizard. Behold this long, bright pink reptile that is native to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. They thrive in a desert landscape and have only two limbs to help them navigate the habitat – two short arms at the front. They are a burrowing lizard that has evolved to have two little hands with claws, much like a mole.
They look like a giant worm-mole hybrid, which is pretty terrifying. That said, it’s beautiful to see what nature throws up. As nocturnal animals that only surface once the lights are out, they can be challenging to find in the wild. Even for predators of the Mexican mole lizard, they’re known to wiggle away swiftly thanks to their long and quick tail.
Ocean Sunfish Aren’t as Innocent as They Look
Feast your eyes on this friendly-faced giant, the ocean sunfish. It is one of the largest and heaviest bony fish in the world, with some weighing as much as 1000 kg. They have a flattened body shape but considerable height, and not to mention adorable, surprised-looking faces with big eyes.
But don’t let their innocent face fool you – they’re predators of smaller fish with very few natural predators themselves. Native to tropical seas all over the world, not an awful lot is actually known about them yet. But one thing we can be certain about is how much they look like a giant fish head with a tail.
The Venezuelan Poodle Moth Is a Real-Life Furby
No, we’re not pulling your leg – this is the poodle moth of Venezuela, named such because of its resemblance to both those species. Despite its furry appearance, it is in fact an insect, discovered in 2009 by a Kyrgyzstani zoologist. Not a lot of information is available about this spectacular creature as it is tremendously difficult to spot.
What we do know is that it can withstand fairly diverse habitat, from dense and humid forests to mountain-tops. With its bright white fluffy body, soft wings, and huge round eyes, it’s safe to say that we’d definately run a mile if we ever encountered one. Perhaps thats the secret to their evolutionary success?
Blue Footed Boobys Have the Freshest Kicks
Have you ever seen feet as glorious as the oens found on a Blue footed booby? Native to South and Central America, these eye-catching birds are marine animals with an appreciation for their defining feature. Male blue-foots proudly show off their unique turquoise-colored legs and feet, with the understanding that the brighter the blue, the more attractive they are.
You might have guessed it, but these blue feet come in especially handy when it’s breeding season. Male booby’s will march around infront of female onlookers, hoping to impress with their dancing skills. He’ll then finish his preformance by displaying nest materials, and hope he’s found himself a mate.
The Kangaroo Mouse Never Takes a Drink
Meet the Kangaroo mouse, aptly named for its curious habit of jumping around in the deserts of the south-west of the United States. They are rodents who mainly stick to a vegetarian diet of seeds and vegetation, and very rarely drink water. They derive all the hydration they need from the food that they eat.
Those long “kangaroo” legs are their best defense against predators, propelling them quickly through dry terrain as they try to outrun their enemy. It’s possible for them to leap 10 feet into the air should the situation call for it; a great feat for such a tiny little critter. For those that are wondering: they do have arms. Just very short, little ones that are tucked away out of sight.
Highland Cattle Are the Prettiest Cows You’ll Ever See
These probably look a little familiar to us, and that’s because they are. These are Highland cattle, native to the Scottish Highlands and the surrounding islands, which grow out a naturally long and shaggy coat of fur. But as we can see, these bulls aren’t shaggy whatsoever…
People have taken to grooming Cattle which are reserved for showing purposes with oil and conditioner, giving them this gorgeous, glossy coat of fur. They end up closer resembling young calves with their juvenile coats, and have picked up the nickname “fluffy cows.” They’re definately more huggable this way.
The Purple Frog Is a Slimey Ball of Strangeness
Discovered in 2003, the purple frog (sometimes also referred to as the pignose frog) is a species native to the Western Ghats of India. Amazingly, they didn’t just discover a new species when they found it, they found the only representative of a whole new family. Which makes sense, seeing as it looks entirely different from the types of frogs we’re used to seeing.
It has a unique purple-grey tone and a large bloated-looking body. But that’s only part of what makes them so remarkable; they appear to have no neck between their head and their body. This amazing amphibian spends most of its life underground, only surfacing when it is mating season. And even some males have been found not to come out at all, preferring to call for females under a thin layer of soil.
Bush Vipers Are Not to Be Crossed
If you’re thinking this snake looks deadly, you’d be on the right track. This is a bush viper, native to the tropical climate of Sub-Saharan Africa, that does best living in the moist conditions of a rainforest. Their terrifying appearance serves as a warning to other creatures of the animal kingdom that they ought to stay far away!
They have a poisonous venom that attacks red blood cells and breaks down body organs. We’re hardly surprised that this creature could do so much damage, with scales that look straight out of a fantasy film. The orange, deep blue, and sandy hues add to the bush vipers’ dragon-like appearance. Not to mention those huge silver eyes!
The Chinese Water Deer Looks Like a Different Species
You can easily tell apart any other deer from the Chinese water deer. They have adorable, bear-like features and long tusks where their canine teeth would be. Originally from south-east Asia, they are a bit smaller than other deers and have a light reddish-brown colored coat that covers their entire body.
Their distinguishable long canine teeth rest outside of their mouth, giving away their age. They are used a a weapon by rival males more than they are used for hunting prey. But they have a great amount of autonomy with them in some reespects, as they’re able to move them back and out of the way while eating.
The Philippine Flying Lemur Has a Deceiving Name
Named the Philippine flying lemur, this creature surprisingly doesn’t fly and is not a lemur. It is native to the Philippines, although can also be found in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Instead, its wings serve as a tool for gliding between trees when it leaps from one to another.
You’ll rarely find these guys on the ground, as the treetops is where it is safest from predators. They also have clawed feet for grabbing on to branches, big eyes for seeing in the dark, and light grey fur that stands out against its pink underbelly. Definitely one of the more interesting primates we’ve seen.
Deer-Pigs Are Both Robust and Dainty
Deer-pigs AKA Babirusas are a species of the swine family known for their remarkably “prehistoric” look. They evolved in the rainforests around the Indonesian islands, and balance their big barrel-like bodies on delicate little legs. Their smooth skin helps them navigate the wet, muddy terrain that they prefer to live on.
Deer-pigs have large upper canine tusks that actually grow upwards and curved towardds the front of their head. They naturally pierce the skin, growing in the same direction as their lower canine teeth. And they’re not just unique in outward appearance; they are born with two-chambered stomachs!
The Racoon Dogs Appearance Is Faithful to Its Name
The racoon dog has a number of names, mangut, tanuki, or neoguri being among the most common. But we think calling them the racoon dog fits just perfectly, as they look like a hybrid species of either animal. Indigenous to East Asia, they are actually closer related to foxes rather than racoons.
They have a long, thick fur coat and “raccoon glasses” i.e. black fur that frames their eyes. With their long torso and short legs they are cute and compact, and able to retain heat better than other foxes. Interestingly, they are the only known canine species to hibernate during the winter.
Markhors Can Do Some Real Damage With Horns Like These
Take a look at the great Markhor of central Asia, the national animal of Pakistan with an impressive set of antlers. This wild goat carries two large corkscrew-shaped horns on top of their head that has the ability to grow the length of 64 inches long in males. Women also grow them but to a smaller size.
They stand around a meter to two meters tall in full maturity, and come in a variety of tan colors. Their face, however, usually has much darker fur, while their underbellies can be white. Unfortunately, these gorgeous animals are an endangered species around the world with only 2000 to 4000 existing in the wild today.
The Aye-Aye Uses Sound to Catch Its Prey
Don’t be afraid – it’s only the Aye-aye, a lemur with a particularly startling appearance. They are the largest nocturnal primates in the world and native to the island of Madagascar, easily distinguished by their long and thin fingers. If you ask us, they also look somewhat like a bat.
Their alarmingly creepy fingers also give a clue as to their unusual feeding habits, for which they have become well-known. They tap on trees to locate grubs and then use their sharp teeth to make a hole in the bark. From there, they fish out the grub with their longest middle finger. The Aye-aye is one species out of two that’s known to use percussive foraging.