The 10 strangest animals in the world

The natural world contains about 8.7 million species – with 6.5 million on land and 2.2 million in the oceans – according to the Census of Marine Life, although many scientists say the real figure could be several million higher.

Despite this staggering number, some of the animals have come to be a little stranger than the rest of the animal and underwater kingdom. Here are ten of the strangest animals to inhabit our planet.

Australian collared lizard

An ominous sighting, the collared lizard of northern Australia and southern New Guinea, the docile and inconspicuous creatures are really only interested in insects. But plenty of animals are interested in these lizards, so they have adapted their bodies to ward off potential predators and have the ability to run extremely fast. They are also able to run on their hind legs only when they pick up speed.

The disembodied fish

The Blobfish is a deep-sea fish that inhabits the waters above the seabed at depths of 600 to 1,200 metres off the coasts of mainland Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The blobfish is a rather odd fish, and this is due to its strange adaptations to its favourite waters. While many fish use gas bladders to create buoyancy, this fish does so by being made up of a gelatinous mass with a slightly lower density than water. This fish has no muscles, so much of its existence is spent floating with the current and eating whatever floats right in front of it.

Bodyless Blobfish

Goblin Shark

The Goblin Shark is a rare species of deep-sea shark and the only extant representative of the Mitsukurinidae family, a lineage about 125 million years old. This marine animal has a long, pointed snout and crooked, nail-like teeth, and can move incredibly fast.

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Komondor dog

The Komondor dog, also known as the Hungarian Shepherd Dog, is a large, white Hungarian breed. He guards animals, and has “dreads” – looks like a mop. His coat is soft and velvety. But it is also curly and tends to tangle as the puppy matures.

The marsupial anteater Echidna

The echidna, sometimes known as the spiny anteater, is one of two members of the monotreme order of mammals, meaning that it does not give birth to live young but lays eggs. It is covered with spines and has a long snout lined with electroreceptors, a feature found only on land in this animal, but also in platypuses.

Aye-aye lemur

With bulging eyes, huge ears and tufts of hair, Aye-aye is a long-toed lemur, a primate native to Madagascar with rodent-like teeth. It is the largest nocturnal primate in the world. It is characterised by its unusual method of finding food: it knocks on trees to find larvae, then gnaws holes in the wood using its angled incisors to create a small hole into which it inserts its narrow middle finger to remove the larvae.

The Mexican fish Axolotl

Also known as the Mexican fish, the Axolotl is one of the world’s most unique amphibians. Aside from its special outward appearance, the amphibian is neotenic, meaning that adults remain aquatic and gill-like, rather than going through metamorphosis when they reach adulthood. They also have the ability to regenerate almost any part of their body.

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Platypus platypus platypus

An egg-laying, semi-aquatic, nocturnal, venomous mammal, Platypus – sometimes called the duck-billed platypus – is found in eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It has electroreceptors to help locate prey, like bats and sharks, but it has nearly 40,000 electroreceptors, giving it incredible accuracy.

Dumbo the Octopus

Given its resemblance to the 1941 Disney movie’s main character, Dumbo, having a prominent ear-like fin extending from the mantle above each eye, it’s clear how this creature got its name. It lives at least 3,000 feet below the surface of the water. The largest Dumbo octopus ever recorded was 1.8 metres long and 5.9 kilograms.

The sloth

Sloths are mammals that live in Central and South America and are considered omnivores, as they can eat lizards and small insects, but their meals generally include buds and leaves. Sloths have made unusual adaptations to an arboreal lifestyle. Sloths have huge, slow-acting stomachs.

Jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula

A hydroid jellyfish of the family Oceanidae, Turritopsis nutricula is native to the Caribbean Sea, but is now found worldwide in all warm and tropical seas. Since scientists first spotted it in Colombia, it has also been seen near Japan and in the Mediterranean Sea. It has a transparent, gelatinous skin. Young organisms have eight tentacles, and adults can have 80-90 tentacles. It has a large red stomach inside, can glow in the dark and is said to be immortal.

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