20 Strange and Exotic Endangered Creatures

We hardly ever stop to think about the creatures on this planet that are dying out. There are many reason for a species to die out, from taking over its habitat to general evolution. Here are 20 creatures, some very cute, some pretty ugly, but they are all in danger of losing their existence.

1. Solenodon
The strange solenodon is a mammal found primarily in Cuba and Hispanola. Sure, it looks cute and manageable enough – sort of like an over-sized hedgehog. However the solenodon injects rattlesnake-like venom through its teeth, the only mammal to do so. Easily annoyed, the solenodon bites at the drop of a banana leaf. Still, being both a carrion feeder and insectivore, it is a vital species in its ecosystem. It was thought to be extinct until scientists found a few still alive in 2003.
2. Kakapo
This is not only the rarest, but the strangest parrot in the world. Imagine a rather portly nocturnal bird that never flies, preferring to hike through hilly forest for miles every night. It weighs in as the heaviest parrot in the world at 8 pounds. There are only 62 Kakapos remaining on earth.
3. Angler Fish
The male Angler fish is 1/20th the size of the female angler fish. The huge, traumatizingly ugly spiny fish with the glowing “fishing rod” lure you saw in Finding Nemo? That’s the female. The male is that tiny little blob attached to his horrific goddess that you never noticed. He burrows in with his teeth and she “feeds” him ex-utero style until he eventually loses his eyeballs, then internal organs and finally his life. Anglers are deep-sea fish, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from threat.
4. The Kiwi
The endangered Kiwi is a flightless bird. As if to make up for its winged impotence, the kiwi is actually a violent, temperamental little bird. But its quirks don’t stop there. The only bird with whiskers is also distinctly dog-like in its ability to sniff out food and threats. In fact, it has the most highly developed sense of smell of any bird, lifting its “nose” (beak) into the breeze to determine its surroundings, just like a dog would. Contrary to popular belief, the kiwi does have wings, but they are tiny and difficult to detect under the loose, fluffy, hair-like feathers.
5. Olm
This unusual amphibian is blind, lives to 100, and goes ten years at a stretch without food. It lives in the subterranean waters of Italy, Croatia and Herzegovenia, where it scares the locals with its strange, human-like skin. Its nickname, in fact, is the “human fish”. Unlike most amphibians, the olm lives in the water for its whole life. Another oddity of the olm: its neotenic (larval) gills.
6. Bumblebee Bat
One of the smallest bats is the Bumblebee bat, which at its largest measures 1 inch. These tiny mammals hover like hummingbirds and like all bats prefer caves and love feasting on insects. They can easily perch on the tip of your thumb. This tiny bat dwells in Thailand and is considered one of the 12 most endangered species. There are fewer than 200 remaining.
7. Aye Aye
Sharing something in common with bats, Aye Ayes are the only primates of the mammal world to rely on echolocation for hunting. The aye aye is a rather unusual cousin of us humans. It lives in spherical nests with a small hole for entry and exit. It uses its long, slender middle finger to tap on trees in order to find tasty insects – and it uses this same finger to scoop them out. Perhaps it is due to its unusually-large eyes and ears that this unique, sensitive primate is believed to be a demon or a bad luck omen.
8. Hooded Seal
Males of this arctic seal species have both an inflatable skull hood and nasal balloon. When aroused, angered or simply showing off, male hooded seals can inflate their sacs that are a foot or more in diameter. The nasal balloon can be inflated through one or both nostrils and is bright red. Unfortunately hooded seals are now considered by many scientists to be endangered.
9. Echidna
The Echidna is one of two egg-laying mammals in the world (the other is the famous duck-billed platypus). Though it looks a big hedgehog-like, this spiky creature is shy and non-confrontational. The echidna has a long, moist snout and an even longer tongue which it uses to feast on termites. It has no teeth, so it has to “chew” termites by crushing them between its tongue and mouth cavity. There are actually 4 species of echidna, and along with the platypus, they are the only monotremes.
10. Monito Del Monte
The “little mountain monkey” of South America is not a monkey, but rather a marsupial, thought to have arrived from Australia long ago. It’s tiny – only about 5″ full grown. They are nocturnal and carnivorous, and famous (well, among scientists) for their unusual tail, which can store enough fat to make this little pipsqueak double in size. This allows them to go for long periods without food.
11. Yellow-Eyed Penguin
The Yellow-Eyed Penguin, native to New Zealand, is the rarest and strangest penguin in the world. It can dive to an astounding depth of 400 feet, likes to feed 20 miles from shore, and prefers to nest in the forest rather than on the beach. Penguin families tend to keep to themselves rather than congregate as most penguins do.
12. Duck-Billed Platypus
It’s venomous, It’s got a duck’s bill, and otter’s feet and a mammal’s body. Oh, and it lays eggs. No wonder Western naturalists were confused by the platypus when it was first introduced. The platypus, along with the echidna, is a monotreme (egg-laying mammal). It’s native to Australia and Tasmania where it was hunted to near-extinction during the 1800s for its fur, but has been protected since the turn of the 20th century.
13. Dugong
The Dugong is a cousin of the manatee and is closely related to the elephant. The dugong is unique in that it has a split (whale-like) tail and will “perch” underwater on its tail in order to keep its head above water. The dugong is thought to have inspired ancient myths about mermaids. The dugong is hunted for its meat, oil, skin and bones. It is extremely endangered.
14. Blobfish
The Blobfish is a fish that lives in the deep waters off the coasts of the Australian mainland and Tasmania. It is sometimes known as a deep sea fish. Due to the inaccessibility of its habitat, it is rarely seen by humans.
15. Hornbill
The Hornbill is a found in tropical and sub-tropical Africa and Asia. They are characterized by a long, down-curved bill which is frequently brightly-coloured and sometimes has a casque on the upper mandible. Hornbills are the only birds in which the first two neck vertebrae are fused together; this probably provides a more stable platform for carrying the bill.
16. Glass Frog
The Glass Frog is endangered, as well. This frog is absolutely stunning, so it would be a shame if we let it die out. Note the visible organs in this beautiful specimen. Unfortunately, with tropical rain forests in Central and South America threatened, the glass frog may go extinct.
17. Chinese Giant Salamander
These giant Salamanders live in wet areas, under houses, etc. The United States is also home to a giant salamander called the Hellbender, and it’s…well, the name fits. However, it is not as endangered as the shockingly strange-looking Chinese cousin. The Chinese giant salamander can grow to be nearly six feet long.
18. Giant Coconut Crab
This is not photoshopped. This is not a hoax. That is a giant crab on a garbage can. They’re native to Guam and other Pacific islands. Coconut Crabs aren’t endangered, per se, but due to tropical habitat destruction they are at risk. These crabs can crack a coconut in one swipe; but they’re generally too slow to be very dangerous to humans.
19. Mexican Walking Fish
The Mexican walking fish, or axolotl, is one of the most bizarre creatures. And there’s a lot more than just its appearance that’s strange, not the least of which is its ability to regrow limbs. The Mexican walking fish isn’t actually a fish, it’s a salamander. They’re also closely related to frogs and other amphibians. They share many of the same characteristics, including a three-chambered heart. Tourists in Mexico City will see the Mexican walking fish’s native habitat–the waterways around the city.
20. Weta
Think of this cute critter as you would a common mouse: not terribly enjoyable to have underfoot, but vital to the ecosystem all the same. The weta is native to New Zealand however it’s non-native species, pest eradication and general ugliness have all contributed to the sad plight of the weta. There are actually over 70 species of weta, with 16 being endangered or at risk. The giant weta was thought to be extinct, but a new population was recently found.
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