13 of the Weirdest Animals in the World

The Earth is home to many mind-boggling creatures.

Earth is home to more than a million known animal species, from tiny dust mites and tardigrades to enormous elephants and whales. There are also countless others out there still waiting to be discovered, but even among the animals we already know about, the biodiversity is mind-boggling.

Here are a few examples of just how wide-ranging our fellow animals can be. It doesn't get much weirder than the following list.

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Red-Lipped Batfish

credit: Rein Ketelaars

This odd little creature is from the Galapagos Islands. It’s a terrible swimmer, so it has a little protrusion from its head for attracting prey. Their modified pectoral fins allow them to "walk" along the rubbly and uneven sea floor. They spend most of their time on the seabed, but occasionally visit the surface or edges of reefs.

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Dumbo Octopus

credit: NOAA/Flickr

This little octopus has ear-like flaps that act as little fins. It tends to live at extreme depths of 9,800 feet to 19,700 feet, which is considered "the abyss" and has no light. It eats food from the sea floor, typically worms, shellfish, and small crustaceans that it sweeps into its mouth using special hairs called cirri.

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Yeti Crab

credit: Dodie/Flickr

The name feels appropriate, as this crab's hairy appearance resembles that of the mythical Yeti monster. This little guy was discovered back in 2005 in the South Pacific Ocean. It lives near deep ocean vents and "grows" its own food—bacteria—on its feathery arms. It has undeveloped eyes, due to the darkness of its habitat, and is thus blind.

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Lowland Streaked Tenrec

credit: Frank Vassen/Flickr

It's spiky and cute! The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is found only in Madagascar, where it lives in family units of up to 20 individuals. It's an insectivore, and is most active when weather is hot. If it gets cold, its body enters a state of torpor to preserve energy.

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Patagonian Mara

credit: Martin Pettitt/Flickr

It's a rabbit—no, wait!—is it a kangaroo? Nope, meet the Patagonian Mara. It comes from Argentina. These little guys are monogamous and travel in mated pairs, with the male aggressively defending his mate from rivals and predators. They're herbivorous, mostly eating grasses, cactuses, flowers, and seeds.

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credit: Geoff Parsons/Flickr

Kind of scary, this parasitic fish is jawless. Its mouth has evolved to attach to the sides of its prey and not let go. It sucks the blood of other fish for food. Curiously, this lake fish is not related to the eel. Lampreys reproduce when the male squeezes eggs out of a female.

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Japanese Spider Crab

credit: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr

It's hard to give a sense of scale to these guys, but their leg span can reach up to 12.5 feet! Despite their terrifying appearance, they are known to be gentle giants. They live in holes and pits on the ocean floor at depths of up to 2,000 feet. They tend to feed on dead and decaying fish that have settled on the sea floor.

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credit: Toshihiro Gamo/Flickr

This bird's mouth curve makes it look delighted all the time, so you can't help but smile if you see one. It inhabits East African freshwater swamps and marshes, where it mostly eats fish. It is a very tall bird, reaching between 3.5 feet and 4.5 feet in height, with long spindly legs.

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Maned Wolf

credit: Mario Pineda/Flickr

The maned wolf looks like a long-legged fox, but in fact it is not related to either foxes or wolves. It's the only member of its genus Chrysocyon, and the largest canid in South America. It ranges throughout grasslands and swamps, marking its territory with powerful-smelling urine that smells similar to skunk spray.

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Bush Viper

credit: static416/Flickr

This viper is found in Central Africa and spews out neurotoxic venom. It's an arboreal snake, preferring to hang out in trees, using a prehensile tail to grip branches and hang upside down. It grows up to 29 inches in length and eats mammals, frogs, lizards, and birds.

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Pink Fairy Armadillo

credit: Makuahine Pa'i Ki'i/Flickr

This is the smallest type of armadillo in the world—it grows up to 4.5 inches long—and can be found in Central Argentina. When it rains, pink fairy armadillos have to leave their underground habitats so they won't drown, but this increases the risk it will be spotted by a predator.

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Hummingbird Moth

credit: Dwight Sipler/Flickr

This moth is so big, it is often mistaken for a hummingbird. It has clear wings and a plump bumblebee-like body; and it tends to feed during daytime hours, so it's not uncommon to spot one in a garden if you're watching carefully. Its tail opens like a fan when it's busy sucking nectar from a flower.

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Blue Dragon

credit: Sylke Rohrlach/Flickr

This is actually a type of sea slug that likes to munch on Portuguese Man o' Wars. It drifts on ocean currents and, despite never growing more than 1.2 inches in length, packs a vicious sting. It stores the stinging nematocysts that it collects from the animals it hunts, concentrating them for when it's needed.