With so many animal species on Earth, there is bound to be some unusual ones. From deep sea fishes that resemble jellyfish in appearance, to monkeys that look like crossbred versions of wolves and lions.
The Dumbo Octopus was named for its distinctive fins that resemble ears, while its Disney-inspired name. Meanwhile, the saiga or mouse deer has an enormous nose which serves an important purpose – warming cold air while filtering dust particles out.
These birds, known for their frog-like mouths, can blend seamlessly into the dead branches of trees where they roost. When threatened, when sensing danger a Tawny Frogmouth becomes completely still and straightens its feathers to look more like part of its surroundings and give off an illusion that it’s simply another dead branch.
Tawny Frogmouths aren’t simply spectacular to look at – their wide curved beaks can help them capture insects and small prey with ease, using whisker-like feathers on their beaks to aid them. Their legs may be short, their feet weak, but their wings have been designed for silent flight making them the slowest flyers within their order (Caprimulgiformes).
Tawny frogmouths form long-term partnerships and breed during Australia’s spring season from August to December. Females lay clutches of two or three eggs which both parents incubate by taking turns day and night; once their chicks hatch they receive care from both parents as they are fed by both.
Tawny frogmouths are highly social birds; both males and females take turns grooming each other and guarding their territories throughout the day. Wildlife keepers have even trained them to accept grooming and hand-feeding from them! Although not aggressive by nature, tawny frogmouths will sometimes display aggressive tendencies when scared or panicked; emitting low-pitched calls warn other birds as well as humans of potential danger.
Lowland Streaked Tenrec
Tenrecs, small mammals native to Madagascar that resemble hedgehogs in appearance and possessing barbed quills for protection, can form into protective balls of spines to defend themselves and communicate. When their spines rub against one another when being rubbed together they produce high-pitched chirps and squeaks only audible by crickets (but barely audible to humans). Their spines vibrate against each other when being rubbed; this process known as stridulation enables this form of music production.
During the rainy season, lowland streaked tenrecs gather into family groups. They reside in long, shallow burrows shared among multiple families; eating mostly insects and earthworms with long, pointy snouts to probe leaf litter for prey. At night they may be seen foraging on the ground or climbing trees – though usually preferring their burrows for safety.
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is active year round, living primarily in rainforests and the central, upland regions (H. semispinosus preferring rainforest environments while H. nigriceps primarily inhabiting upland forests; Marshall and Eisenberg 1996). When threatened, H. semispinosus raises its barbed quills before charging at any possible attacker with facial acupuncture; failing that, rolling into a spiney ball to expose their hard covering and impenetrable belly which should serve to deter predators
A chimera is defined as any animal or human possessing more than one genotype, which may or may not occur naturally; genetic chimerism is especially prevalent among plants; many fruits we enjoy come from genetically-modified varieties created through grafting two separate plants together and inheriting cells from both parent plants; there may also be chromosomal chimeras which occur when organisms lose or gain one of their chromosomes.
Chimeras can be created in the lab by mixing cells from two distinct animals or even people; scientists refer to this phenomenon as microchimerism. Human microchimerism most often takes place when gestating fetuses transfer fetal cells back to their mother during gestation; it may also happen if mothers receive blood transfusions from individuals with matching DNA profiles or when dizygotic twins share one placenta and produce offspring with either male or female characteristics (research suggests blood chimeras are more frequent than previously believed).
Chimerism has come under scrutiny in recent times, such as when Lydia Fairchild’s cheek swab paternity test came back incorrect. After further investigation revealed she is a chimera carrying cells from both of her twin sisters in her body, Lydia has dedicated herself to raising awareness about chimerism; most chimeras don’t realize they live with an additional genome as there are no obvious symptoms; however it increases their likelihood of failing maternity and paternity tests, potentially having serious repercussions if trying to have children.
Saigas may be small antelopes, but they’re far tougher than they appear. Dating back to the Ice Age and outliving mammoths and saber tooth tigers alike, these herd-living herbivores have long since outlived both threats to their survival such as mammoths and tigers alike. Unfortunately they now face threats such as being hunted for food and their horns which are sold as traditional medicine; their herds roam desert-steppe and steppe environments while feeding on grasses onions shrubs plants grazing grasses grasses grasses onions shrubs etc; while their large nose serves multiple functions from filtering dust to amplifying mating calls; even loud nasal roars may help these animals escape predators by creating loud nasal noises.
Male males of this species feature long, waxy-colored horns that measure 6-10 inches (15-25 centimeters). Other than their horns and snout, they resemble sheep; with an approximate body size and boxy frame similar to that of small goats and an array of short summer and white thick winter coats that grow twice as long.
Saigas are nomadic but follow general migration patterns from north to south, including fences and borders between countries which interfere with this journey and potentially create conflicts with humans. According to IUCN and CITES Appendix II listings, they’re considered critically endangered species; while protected in national parks in Kazakhstan and several other countries; hunters still hunt them for their horns while feral dogs and wolves prey upon them on Asian plains.
The mata mata turtle from South America is an unusual looking reptile with long nostrils that mimics that of a snorkel, dressed like wood. However, they’re well adapted to their environment and remain one of the most beloved reptiles at zoos worldwide.
Their carapace (shell) is rough and flat with bumps, ridges, skin fringes and other structures to help camouflage them in their habitat. Furthermore, its surface is often covered in algae or fungus for an unappealing look. Furthermore, scientists believe their skin flaps might even serve a sensory function by sensing vibrations in water!
Once a mata mata male detects an interested female, he begins the courtship ritual: stretching his neck while opening and closing his mouth, flexing legs, moving skin flaps, and stretching his body – in what may last up to 20 minutes of dance-like behaviour! Once mating pairs have taken place, they excavate a nest where 12 to 28 eggs must incubate for 200 days before hatching.
The mata mata turtle is protected across most of its range, yet still faces threats of habitat destruction and collection for exotic pet trade. If you choose to purchase one of these rare turtles, make sure they’re healthy with an undamaged hard shell without defects before purchasing.
Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko
Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is an exotic species found only on Madagascar, an island off of Africa’s west coast. These tree-dwelling, nocturnal geckos spend their days hidden away within bark or branches using their unique coloration and shape to blend in – providing another layer of camouflage, hunting opportunities or both! Their horn-like dermal protrusions help them remain hidden while hunting at nightfall.
Their tails have deeply veined edges that blend in seamlessly with the leaves in their rainforest homes, further helping them blend in. When their camouflage fails, they open their mouths wide to emit distress calls as another means of avoidance.
This species has only been discovered in a remote part of Madagascar and scientists are yet to accurately measure its overall population or habitat size. It’s an attractive, rare reptile often sold as pets.
Satanic Leaf-Tailed Geckos are not suitable for beginners as they require extensive research and care in order to be properly cared for. While relatively expensive pets, they can be immensely rewarding if cared for correctly; but don’t like being handled and require high humidity levels in their tank environment for health and happiness.
These amazing lizards are truly an example of Nature at work. Originating as endemic species in an area renowned for its biodiversity, these marvels demonstrate how Nature creates beauty through her incredible adaptations.