From the Minotaur to chupacabra, from the Loch Ness Monster to the Kracken, humans have long been fascinated with the mythical creatures of the world. We image that the beasts live in places unknown, in jungles, the seas, the caves, and the woods. But what about the creatures that aren’t myths?
What about the creatures that are real?
The creatures on this list are legitimate animals. They have been found and photographed by scientists and most have a reason that they look the way they do.
Here are some of the strangest creatures that have been found in recent years.
First is the Aye-Aye. This primate is a nocturnal critter that lives in Madagascar. The big ears listen for insect larvae to eat. They dig out the larvae using their skinny middle fingers. Just look at that adorable little face! These creatures certainly deliver on the cuteness factor.
14. Dolores, The Bald Bear
You have probably seen this scary lady on the internet before. Dolores suffers from some genetic defect. She and the other female bears that suffer from this unknown condition at a zoo in Germany.
If this bear wants your picnic basket, I suggest you hand it over.
13. False Catshark
This scary shark is only the second seen in Scotland. The researchers at the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme call it the “sofa shark”. This guy is a little of 6 ft long, but this species can grow up to 10 feet in length. They are also found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic where they can eat octopus and squid. These nasty looking things live in the deeps of the ocean leading the interesting physique that allows for hunting squids.
They are also found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans where they can eat octopus and squid. These nasty looking things live in the deeps of the ocean leading the interesting physique that allows for hunting squids.
12. Chinese Giant Salamander
This 4 ft salamander is named “Professor Wu.” The Chinese giant salamander has been harvested and commercially grown for a delicacy, leading to the creature’s endangered status.
Professor Wu has been moved to the London Zoo as a public representative against the salamander commercial industry in China. These scary fellows can grow as big as a human and have creepy hands that they use to walk across the bottoms of lakes and rivers.
11. Naked Mole Rat
What other animal has their own rap song? The “Naked Mole Rap” comes courtesy of Kim Possible who popularized the little creature. The naked mole rat is an adorable little creature with buck teeth and pink skin. Could they be any cooler?
The naked mole rat is also called a “sand puppy” or a desert mole rat. These little herbivores like to burrow under the ground and have poor eyesight, like other species of moles.
10. Monkey-Eating Eagle
There are less than 700 of the monkey-eating eagle in existence, making them endangered. They are also referred to as the “Philippine Eagle”. They are carnivorous. Makes sense, considering they prey on small monkeys.
This fuzz-ball was one of few born in captivity. He will grow up to be over 3 feet long and eat macaque monkeys and other small mammals in the jungles in the Philippines. He already looks unimpressed with the humans taking care of him.
9. Giant Goldfish
I know what you’re thinking, and, no, this is not photo-shopped. This goldfish was caught in Lake Tahoe. The lake, between California and Nevada, has been a supposed dumping ground for aquarium owners who no longer want their little carnival goldfish anymore.
These fish can grow up to 1.5 feet long and are throwing the ecosystem out of whack. Do us all a favor and don’t dump Goldie in the local lake or pond!
8. Mountain Lion with Extra Set of Teeth
This toothy beast was killed in this past December in Idaho, near the Utah border. The mountain lion had attacked a pet dog leading authorities at the Department of Fish and Game to track down the cat.
When they found him, they discovered he had an extra set of teeth growing out the back of his head! This is thought to be either the result of a teratoma tumor, which leads to growth of extra teeth, and other extra features, or the absorption of its twin in the womb. Regardless of how, this is one cat I do not want to meet while hiking!
A relative of piranhas, this fish is native to the Amazon. The pacu eats mostly nuts, and other plants. The scary thing about this guy is his teeth. They look remarkably human. The pacu uses these large teeth to crack open nuts that fall into the water.
This has been introduced into many rivers around the world, eating the native fish out of existence. Some pacu have even been caught in New Jersey and Arizona, where it is believed they were illegally introduced. This is not a fish I want to see on the end of my line.
6. Slender Loris
How is this guy not some evil villain of a Disney animated film? The Slender Loris is a creature that moves v…e…r…y…s…l…o…w…l…y. Hand over hand.
Unless they are startled, then they are quick little suckers. I just picture him plotting while tapping his long fingers and toes together. “And now Mr. Bond, you will die!”
5. Two-Headed Snake
A two-headed snake seems like it should be a sideshow at the carnival or on the side of the road. “We” is an albino snake. They are the result of two embryos merging in one egg. Two headed snakes are rare and have not successfully reproduced, despite efforts by zoos and researcher.
The two heads have been known to try and eat the other if they get hungry. “We” has been known to try and go in different directions at once. One snake is scary enough to come upon. Double the heads, double the oh heck no!
4. Yeti Crab
This hairy crab was discovered in 2005. Living in the depths near Easter Island, this crab has no eyes. Known as the “Yeti Crab”, this creature grows bacteria in its hair to eat. The white hair is reminiscent of mythological yeti, a giant white abominable snowman in Asia.
The yeti crab even made an appearance on Spongebob, though honestly he looks equally scary as the real thing.
This next bird is called the Potoo (“po-TOO”) for the sound it makes. These feathered animals are nocturnal, so you will hear their wails and see their yellow eyes only at night in the tropical regions of South America. Sounds like the basis of a horror movie.
Potoo actually refers to a genus of birds. There are seven known species of the potoo. The Great Potoo (pictured above) is only one type of potoo. Rare photos of the species during the day made the rounds online in recent years, freaking out a whole new class of people.
2. Goliath Bird Eating Spider
Insert a David and Goliath joke here. If you suffer from even mild arachnophobia, this next creature may not be your favorite on the list. The Goliath Bird Eating Spider gets its name from the ability to eat small birds.
While the Goliath Birdeater eats birds, it mostly survives off of worms and other insects. In a process called stridulation, the spider will rub its legs together to make a hissing noise to keep predators at bay. In case you needed another reason to freak out and run scared, this spider is the largest known spider in the world.
1. The Gerenuk
This next creature looks like the well-known antelope…except with a weird neck. This curious little creature is found in four countries in Africa.
The gerenuk eats only vegetation. Their long necks and legs make it easier to reach into trees to get food. The gerenuk’s elongated necks have earned them the nickname, “the giraffe gazelle”.