There are some animals on our planet that you probably never knew existed. These unique animals range from rare critically endangered species to blood sucking pests that survived for the last 300 million years.
Glaucus Atlanticus (Blue Dragon)
This sea slug is also known as Blue Dragon. It can grow up to 3 cm (1.2 in) and has wonderful colors. This sea beauty can float at the surface due to its gas-filled sac in its stomach. Glaucus Atlanticus can be found in tropical ocean waters around the world.
As a matter of fact, this beautiful slug is not as cute and harmless as it may seem. The Glaucus Atlanticus is known to prey on dangerously venomous Portuguese man o’war (similar to jellyfish creature). Moreover, if you happen to see the Blue Dragon at the beach and decide to touch it, you may end up with a painful sting.
Saiga Antelope has very distinct features. Its trunk-like nose has large flexible nasals. Which help the animal to warm the air while breathing during cold winter months. Furthermore, the animal can change its color, from golden during summer to white during winter.
This Ice Age antelope was quite common animal in Eurasian steppe zone and even in North America. However, today it’s a rare and unique animal. It can be found only in Russia and Kazakhstan. The animal is extinct in China for decades, due to overhunting. Its horns used in Chinese medicine and are expensive. Moreover, in May 2015 around 40% (over 120,000) of Saiga Antelope total population has died within two weeks due to mysterious virus epizootic.
Grimpoteuthis (Dumbo Octopus)
This creature was nicknamed after Disney’s flying elephant Dumbo. Although they can be found in ocean waters worldwide, they are rarely seen. The creatures live at extreme depths of up to 7000 m (23,100 ft).
This creatures can be found in green, red or orange colors. The largest Dumbo Octopus ever seen was 1.8 m (5.9 ft). Most species are much smaller and don’t grow more than 30 cm (12 in) in length.
Giant Soft-Shelled Turtle
When you see a giant soft-shelled turtle, you might think they have discovered a melted turtle. Unlike all its relatives, this unique animal doesn’t have hard exterior shell. This interesting creature has a rubber back. This giant turtle can grow up to 2 meters (6.5 ft). They live in slow moving water streams and spend most of the day buried in sand.
Giant soft-shelled turtles come to the surface only twice a day to take one deep breath.
Indian Purple Frog
The Indian Purple Frogs are about 7 cm (2.7 in) long. They can be found in Western Ghats mountains in India. However, these strange looking creatures are rarely seen.
These frogs spend most of their life underground. They only get above ground for two weeks for mating.
Chinese Giant Salamander
The Chinese giant salamander is a unique animal. It is the largest salamander and the largest amphibian in the world. It can grow up to 180 cm (5.9 ft) in length and 50 kg (130 lb) in weight. However, this size salamanders are quite rare. The typical diet of the Chinese giant salamander include insects, fish, crabs, frogs and other salamanders.
The Chinese giant salamander is one of the critically endangered species. This interesting animal used to be fairly common all around China. But since 1950 its population rapidly declined. Human consumption and habitat destruction are the main causes. As a matter of fact, the Chinese giant salamander is used in traditional Chinese medicine and it is also considered a delicacy.
Goliath Birdeater is the largest spider in the world. The spider lives in the rainforests of South Africa.
This creature is quite frightening to see in the wild nature. It has 30 cm (12 in) legs and terrifying 7 cm (2.7 in) fangs. Although it may seem as one of the scariest creatures out there, it is fairly harmless to humans.
The Panda Ant is actually a wasp that got its name due to its strange look. This unique animal looks like a hairy ant, colored like a Chinese giant panda.
As a matter of fact, the wasp is quite dangerous. It is known for its extremely painful sting and has a scary nickname “Cow Killer”.
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
Peacock Mantis Shrimp is one of the most charming creatures to be found in ocean waters. It has a hard shell body which is perfectly colored in green, orange, blue and red colors.
As a matter of fact, this small beauty can be dangerous. The creature is known as a “thumb splitter”. It has very powerful front claws. Large species are known to break aquarium glass with a single strike!
Lamprey is a jawless fish, which looks like an eel. It grows up to 100 cm (3.2 ft) and lives in fresh and coastal waters. The fish is characterized by funnel-like sucking mouth. As a matter of fact, Lamprey is a real life vampire. They attached themselves to fish and suck the blood right out of their prey.
There is a believe that Lamprey is 300 million years. However, their body structure may have evolved significantly over time. Today Lamprey fish is known as pest in some areas. The North American Great Lakes suffer from presence of Lamprey fish. There are no natural enemies in the lakes and the blood sucking fish prey on many commercially important species like lake trout.