Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unique and Bizarre Animals: Ugly or Pretty?

Unique and Bizarre Animals: Ugly or Pretty?

Because of their unusually bizarre appearances, these unique and odd-looking animals are oftentimes regarded as ‘freak of nature’. Others may find them ugly but still others view them as beautiful creature..

North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

The North American Porcupine is the second largest rodent found in North America. This unusual-looking mammal lives in forested areas of Canada, United States and Mexico where it makes its den in a hole in a tree or in a rocky area.

This creature with small face, short legs and short tick tail is about a meter in length and weigh up to 14 kg. The thousands of sharp, barbed hollow spines or quills on its upper body are used for defense. It is also known as Canadian Porcupine or Common Porcupine.

Plumed Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons)

The unique-looking and brightly-colored Plumed Basilisk, which can attain a length of up to 1 meter, is endemic to Latin America. It is bright green in color with bluish spots along its dorsal ridge. The male species has 3 crests while the female species has one. It is also called Green Basilisk or Double Crested Basilisk. It can be found from Mexico to Ecuador.

Naked Mole Rat (Heterocephalus glaber)

Sand Puppy and Desert Mole Rat are the other common names of the Naked Mole Rat. This burrowing rodent with a very low metabolism which is native to East Africa has a highly unusual set of physical traits that enables it to thrive in a harsh, underground environment, including a lack of pain sensation in its skin. It can be 10 cm in length and can weigh up to 80 g.  

It was commonly named Naked Mole Rat because its body has little hair. Its skin is wrinkled pink or yellowish. Another prominent feature of this weird-looking animal is its large protruding teeth used for digging.  It has small legs which are well-adapted in moving underground and can move backward as fast as they can move forward.

Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus)

Just the name itself is enough to make you shiver. Thorny Devil of Australia is a unique-looking lizard with a very long lifespan reaching up to 20 years. This lizard, which is also known as the Mountain Devil, Thorny Dragon, Moloch and Thorny Lizard, is entirely covered with conical spines.

This lizard that grows up to a length of 20 cm also features a spiny "false-head" on the back of the neck, the animal presents this to a potential predator by dipping its real head. Females In addition to its many unique traits, the Thorny Devil's body is ridged in structure, and enables the animal to collect water from any part of its body, which is then channeled to the mouth.


This cute little mammal with thick and soft fur looks cute and huggable. This handsome-looking rodent can be found in the Andes in South America. It has strong hind legs and large ears and can weigh up to 8 kg.

Frilled-necked Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii)

One of the coolest-looking lizards is the Frill-necked Lizard of Australia and New Guinea. It was so-named because of the large frill around its neck and feeds on insects and small vertebrates. This large lizard, which can attain a length of 91.4 cm, is becoming a popular exotic pet.

When it is frightened, this lizard gapes its mouth, exposing a bright pink or yellow lining; the frill flares out as well, displaying bright orange and red scales. This reaction is often used to discourage predators or during courtship. It is also known as the Frilled Lizard or Frilled Dragon.

Red Legged Purseweb Spider (Sphodros rufipes)

Well, you might have thought this unusual creature is a kind of ‘giant ant”. Well, you were wrong – it’s a spider. The Red Legged Purseweb Spider is endemic to the United States. This spider with fangs that point straight down can attain a length of 25 mm.

Red Legged Purseweb Spider has a distinctive method of catching its prey. It spins a tunnel of silk against the side of a tree or supported by stones or other convenient objects, and waits for its prey to land or climb on the side of the tunnel. Then the spider bites through the silk walls and pulls the prey inside. The Red Legged Purseweb Spider rarely leaves its web for any reason other than mating.

Fan-throated Lizard (Sitana ponticeriana)

The Fan-throated Lizard of South Asia is found mostly on the ground in open ground patches in thin forest. When disturbed this unique lizard sometimes runs with a bipedal gait. This lizard’s most prominent feature is its expandable throat, hence its common name.

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