10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die

10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die

Scientists have predicted that there are 8.7 million animal species on earth. Some of these are fierce (lions, sharks, tigers). Some are adorable (rabbits, deer, otters).

And others are, well, clearly weird.

Across the globe, you will discover animals that showcase truly incredible and bizarre features and behaviors. From a frog that suggests off its organs to a goat that faints when scared, here are 40 uncommon animals to feature to your travel bucket listing now.



Shoebills

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Shoebills are abnormally tall, with some individuals reaching heights of over 4 feet. And, unlike many other birds who inhabit similar marsh environments, shoebills are highly effective predators. Their long legs are perfect for traversing shallow waters, where they prey on reptiles, rodents, and fish. They are even known to strike against juvenile crocodiles!

Shoebills use their powerful beaks to grasp and strangle just about anything they encounter, but don’t worry – they don’t prey on humans. Find one in East Africa, where their habitat is concentrated.


The taxonomic placement of the shoebill is an issue of a few debates. However, different morphological and genetic analyses advocate a closer affiliation with pelicans The composition of each the Ciconiiformes and the Pelecaniformes is, in any case, contested as well. Shoebills are sometimes located in their personal order, Balaenicipitiformes.

Stick Insect

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Finding a stick insect requires careful observation; as the name makes very clear, it resembles a stick. This, combined with an ability to stay perfectly still for long stretches of time, provides the stick insect with “one of the most efficient natural camouflages on Earth,” as “National Geographic” aptly puts it. There are many styles of stick insects. One of the coolest is the giant prickly stick insect, pictured here. Native to Australia, it boasts the added feature of thorn-like spikes to further blend into its surroundings. If you suffer from an insect phobia, as many do, the Phobaeticus Kirby will haunt your nightmares. At over 21 inches with its legs outstretched, this is one of the longest insects within the world. You can find it (or try to find it – good luck!) in Borneo.



Glass Frog

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Just as you can see through a glass, you can see through the extraordinary glass frog.
Many of these frogs have lime-green skin, but some lack any coloration on their underside, making their organs visible to the naked eye. Equally amazing are their spotted backs, which scientists speculate are meant to resemble eggs – so predators going after their offspring get confused.
Your best chance of spotting this tree-dwelling frog is in Costa Rica or Panama. Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park in particular promises a good chance of seeing one, in all its transparent glory. 

Mantis Shrimp

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Mantis shrimp are ancient, fierce, and more than a little weird. 
Various forms of mantis shrimp have been around for an estimated 400 million years, and they aren’t like any other shrimp around. They are so freakishly robust that their appendages, called “clubs,” can wreck crab shells and bust open clams. (Some varieties have spears rather than clubs, which are equally formidable.) 
These clubs can also be used to dish out around 500 punches in under a second, delivering enough force to break the glass.
And that’s not all. Because these shrimp have incredible eyesight (they can see in two different directions at once), they strike with pinpoint accuracy.
There are about 400 different species of mantis shrimp, the most dazzling-looking of which is undoubtedly the multi-hued peacock mantis shrimp, pictured here.
The waters of Costa Rica and Bali are particularly rich with mantis shrimp; book a diving expedition to see one up close.


Wombat

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
When you see a wombat – a fuzzy little marsupial with a friendly face and calm demeanor – you’ll probably immediately want to hug it. But don’t be fooled by appearances: Wombats sport rodent-like teeth and can get aggressive if they feel threatened.
Wombats are surprising in other ways, too. Unlike different marsupials, their pouches face backward and their poop is cube-shaped. To protect the tunnels where they dwell, they dive into them headfirst and stick up their rump, which is tough enough to thwart predators.  
You can find wombats in the San Diego Zoo, but they are best viewed in the wild. Head to Australia’s Maria Island, where they are prevalent and easy to spot. The island is located off the Tasmanian coast and is a beautiful place to visit in general.


Axolotl

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
The axolotl salamander manages to be at once adorable and type of disturbing. 
Though it develops legs, it never reaches land, instead of spending its time strolling the underwater surface. Its nickname? Walking fish.
This brilliant creature – which comes in colors starting from creamy white to olive – is handiest native to Mexico.  Your nice chance of seeing one exists close to Mexico City within the lakes of Xochimilco. 
A population decline is largely attributed to habitat loss but is also due to the fact that the axolotl is considered a culinary delicacy. (Yum?)

Aye-Aye

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Head to Madagascar and, after the sun sets, focus your energy on searching for the aye-aye.

These nocturnal lemurs have a very unusual build, with large ears and rat-like teeth. After tapping on trees to locate insects based on percussion feedback, they bore a hole with their teeth and long middle finger to extract and eat the insects.

With the behavioral markings of a woodpecker and the appearance of a primate mixed with a rodent, the aye-aye is one of a kind and, strangely, kind of cute. 


Fainting Goat

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Type “fainting goats” into a YouTube search and you will be lost watching hilarious videos for hours. Also referred to as myotonic goats, these domestic animals have a very strange muscle reflex to any fear-based situation.
When frightened, their muscles go completely stiff – and the goats fall over.
Don’t fret: The reaction causes no pain and the goats recover after 10-20 seconds. The process is attributed to a rare genetic disorder that somehow made itself hereditary.
Despite this tic, many human beings around the world maintain these goats as pets or breed them for milk and meat. Their fainting instinct is actually an asset: It prevents them from jumping fences and escaping when frightened.
You can see them in action (or rather, inaction) at Old Faithful Geyser Animal Farm in Northern California.

Flightless Cormorant

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
There are 29 species of cormorant in the world, and 28 of them can be found gliding over water before eventually touching down to fish.

But one, straightforwardly called the flightless cormorant, can never take to the sky, due to wings that are one-third the size of what’s needed to fly. Scientists posit that the bird doesn’t have larger wings because it simply doesn’t need them; it has very few land predators.

The flightless cormorant’s native home is the Galapagos Islands, where fish-rich waters provide ample food. It often travels in groups near or on water, and you can easily spot it while touring the Galapagos.


Red-Lipped Batfish

 10 Unusual Animals to See Before You Die
Speaking of weird Galapagos animals, check out the red-lipped batfish.
Also native to the islands, this fish dwells along the ocean floor and is known for its red lips, which makes it look like it’s recently devoured a bloody feast.
The second part of the fish’s scientific name, Ogcocephalus darwini, is a nod to Charles Darwin, who famously studied evolution while visiting the Galapagos.


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