The world is inhabited by all kinds of strange animals, but there are a few that are just utterly bizarre. Whether it’s their curious reproductive methods, enormous size, or profoundly astonishing physique, these creatures are all really, really strange.
An Echidna is a small mammal from New Guinea and Australia. They are covered with thick hair and small stiff spines. They resemble their relatives, the anteaters of South America, in that they have snouts that are both mouth and nose. They use their long tongues to slurp up ants and termites, their main source of food. Echindas are strange animals in that they are a member of the Order Monotremata – egg laying mammals. Although they produce milk, it seeps from pores in their milk patches, and they lay soft, leathery eggs. These eggs are deposited directly into the Echinda’s pouch, where they hatch, nurse and grow until they start to produce spines. Only then do the babies begin playing and learning outside the pouch, and in the real world.
Some of the scariest fish in the ocean, angler fish are named for their hunting methods. They have a long spine that extends from between their eyes, and acts as a bait to lure in prey that the angler fish then snaps up in its immense jaws. While some varieties live in shallower water, many roam the deep ocean. Some of these deep sea dwellers actually have spines that glow with bioluminescent bacteria that attract unsuspecting fish swimming in the darkness. The truly strange thing about angler fish, though, is their mating techniques. Males are drastically smaller than females, and literally attach themselves to their female counterparts. They find a female, bite her skin, and release an enzyme that fuses them together. The male then begins to atrophy, until he does nothing more than release sperm when the female is able to mate.
(credit R. Mintern)
A mollusk with a misleading name, Cuttlefish are neither fish, nor “cuddly.” They are some of the most intelligent invertebrates, have toxic saliva and tentacles with teeth lining the suckers. The only have one internal structure they have is called a “cuttlebone” which is responsible for keeping cuttlefish buoyant. They can also change color at will to camouflage themselves, or to communicate with other cuttlefish. In response to this system of communication, Cuttlefish have developed a strange and ingenious eye. It is W-shaped, can see the slightest contrast in color, and has no blind spot. These amazing creatures are a delicacy in Spain, where they are cooked with their ink and served with pasta or rice.
(credit Nick Hobgood)
The largest land-bound arthropod in the world may look a little terrifying, and you definitely wouldn’t want to get in its way, but is actually a sort of overgrown hermit crab. They can’t swim, and can only absorb oxygen from the air; even though their organs require water to function, they just drink water from small puddles. Although they’re omnivorous, their diet consists mainly of fruits, nuts and seeds, with only the occasional morsel of meat. But what makes coconut crabs truly strange animals is how big they are: bodies up to 16 inches (40 cm), and leg spans of more than 3 ft (.91m). They can weigh up to 9 lbs (4.1 kg) and live up to 30 years.
These giant, leathery turtles have no real shell. Essentially, they look like 6 foot long, olive colored pancakes. Besides being enormous and bizarre in appearance, the other strange thing about these colossal turtles is that they are ambush predators. Despite their size, these creatures hide very well, buried under the silt and sand at the bottom of their freshwater river, waiting to snap up an unsuspecting fish. They only have to rise to the surface twice a day to breathe.
(credit to Ryantwood)
While these strange animals are exotic and amazing, it’s important to remember that there are creatures just as strange living in your backyard. You just have to keep your eyes open, and remember that just because your see an animal every day, that doesn’t make it any less strange or interesting. Dogs, for example, can read human emotions in a way so developed that even chimps have trouble recognizing expressions to the same level. Cats can meow at the same frequency that babies cry to get their owner’s attention. We live in an amazing world, full of strange and wondrous plants and animals.
This article has been provided by Rachel Lew, a Payday Loan and Animal Blogger.
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