The world is a peculiar place and scientists keep discovering even stranger animals. A message to scientists: keep up the good work, but also, could you just stop? There are enough terrifying creatures in the world without you finding even more for us to worry about.
The natural world presents us with animals that have evolved with all manner of appendage and mutation that make them seem quite exotic to us mere humans with our measly two arms and two legs. We decided to brave the depths of bizarre-animal-internet to find some of the weirdest, creepiest, crawliest creatures on the planet. Here are 10 terrifying and bizarre animals that might keep you up at night.
The Venezuelan poodle moth is a moth photographed in 2009 by Kyrgyzstani zoologist Dr. Arthur Anker in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela. Now, there’s been some debate about the existence of this very rare moth that looks a cross between a butterfly and a fluffy puppy. It’s only ever been spotted in the Canaima National Park. We do not like its head. At all.
Chinese Water Deer AKA Vampire Deer
You might have gone through life not knowing that a fanged deer exists, but your innocence is now gone. Say hello to the Chinese water deer or “vampire deer.” It’s native to China and Korea and has tusks that point downward, that look like teeth. In aggressive encounters, he thrusts his canines out and draws in his lower lip to draw his teeth closer together. He presents an impressive two-pronged weapon to rival males. Who’s bringing the garlic?
This is not a thorny branch. It’s a branch covered in thorn bugs. Male thorn bugs have a horn which resembles a thorn that protrudes from the top of its exoskeleton. These bugs are found in many tropical climates including Florida (of course). When the mating time comes around, females lay over 100 eggs into a hollowed-out branch for safekeeping. Ew.
If you’d like a turtle that looks like a slimy snake wearing a shell, say hello to the long-necked turtle. The eastern long-necked turtle is an east Australian species of snake-necked turtle that inhabits a wide variety of water bodies and is an opportunistic feeder. It is a side-necked turtle, meaning that it bends its head sideways into its shell rather than pulling it directly back. These things can grow up to a foot in length. So, no. Not going down under.
Did you ever think to yourself, Gee, I wish that scorpions could fly! No, no you didn’t. The good news is that these disgusting creatures do not actually sting. The bad news is that the “stinger” is actually enlarged male genitals. These bugs like any environment with a lot of moisture. They enjoy feeding on animal carcasses (and human ones too). While they’re called flies, these bugs are more closely related to fleas. Gross.
Lowland Streaked Tenrecs
Meet the lowland streaked tenrec who resides in Madagascar. This spiny tenrec loves to chill on the forest floor and dig holes and splash in shallow ponds. It feeds on earthworms as its primary source of food. People in Madagascar, in turn, feed on it which along with deforestation is endangering this species. This animal uses its quills to communicate and they make a high-pitched sound when they rub together. It’s one of the only mammals to communicate this way as it’s more common among insects and snakes to do so.
Indian Purple Frog
The Indian purple frog or pignose frog is native to… India and loves using its blobby shape to cling to boulders and rocks near streams. The purple frog has a distinct call that sounds remarkably close to a chicken clucking. Some specimens have crossed with fish (happens when they’re tadpoles) and have a sucking mouth. Tadpoles for this species were first discovered in the early 20th century, but scientists did not record the actual frog until 2003.
Tube-Nosed Fruit Bat
The common tube-nosed fruit bat is a species of megabat in the family Pteropodidae. It is found at islands north of Australia, and in Indonesia. Consumes a range of native and exotic fruits, nectar, flowers and pollen, and are important seed dispersers and pollinators. So, they’re just like, really, really ugly birds. Nope!
The giraffe weevil is a weevil endemic to Madagascar. Its name comes from an extended neck, much like that of a giraffe. We think this bug looks more like an alien than a giraffe, but what do we know? The males have necks that are generally two to three times longer than females and generally measure about an inch long. There’s something about this bug’s neck we just can’t get past. Nah.
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Does this look like an evil muppet to you too? What demon has possessed Big Bird? The shoebill, also known as whalehead, whale-headed stork, or shoe-billed stork, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its enormous shoe-shaped bill. It lives in tropical east Africa in large swamps from South Sudan to Zambia.
This is a very tall and big bird (see?) that has a wingspan of between seven to eight feet. The shoebill has an ominous reputation of standing perfectly still for hours on end like a statue. It’s probably using the time to plot your murder. In other strange facts, when baby shoebills beg for food, they sound uncannily like human hiccups. Adults sound like machine guns firing. Because, of course.
There you go! Which one of these terrifying creatures will be attacking you in your dreams tonight? We hope you enjoyed these bizarre animals and learned a thing or two about them.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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