The world is full of animals, and some of them are pretty weird in their habits or appearance. The strangest thing is that they act and look the way they do for a reason. Here you have a short list of some of the strangest ones we have found.
Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascarensis): If you have watched the film, Madagascar, you will know what a lemur is: an animal that looks like a cross between a monkey, a squirrel and a cat. Well, the aye-aye is a kind of dark, nocturnal lemur with large eyes and a very distinctive feature: tremendously long fingers which he uses to dig larvae out of tree trunks. This highly useful trait has also been its downfall, as people hunt aye-ayes in the belief that they are demoniacal. Luckily, things have changed of late and this animal can now live somewhat less threatened.
Vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernales): While it has a scary name, this species is by no means a threat to humans. It is a squid that lives in the darkest depths of the sea and that has a "cloak" of sorts, similar to the wings of a bat: it is a membrane that joins its tentacles, which is designed to trap the fish it catches, after attracting them with tiny organs that generate a small amount of light. Maybe it would have been better to call it "sack squid", but that wouldn't have been as interesting as "vampire squid"
Coelacanths (Coelacanthimorpha): Another creature of the depths. The coelacanths is a kind of fish, whose species is older than dinosaurs and which was believed to be extinct. Imagine the reaction when some South African scientists found that it still existed, and, furthermore, that it had barely changed in millions of years! It is thought that this fish is the ancestor of present day frogs and salamanders. But it is also famous for inspiring the shape of one of the Pokemon: Relicanth.
Echidna (Tachyglossidae): In Greek mythology, Echidna was the horrendous mother of all monsters. To be sure, spiny anteaters, as they are known in Australia, are quite ugly, but calling them horrendous monsters is a bit much: they are giant hedge hogs of sorts with tiny eyes, a long snout shaped like a trunk, a 20 centimetre long tongue and wide toes. They are mammals, but they lay eggs and, given that they are marsupials, they carry their litter in a bag. It would be a safe guess to think that to the poor echidnas, humans with their large mouth, short tongue and somewhat hairy, must seem utterly monstrous.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus): The story goes that when they sent the first dissected platypus from Australia to England, scientists discarded it as a joke. How could there be an animal with the body of a rat, the beak and limbs of a duck and the tail of a castor? Once they finally came to terms with the fact that it was real, they discovered even more surprising data: it was a mammal but it laid eggs, and it had a poisonous spur on its hinds. Today, the platypus is extremely popular, as it is the mascot of the famous TV siblings, Phineas and Ferb.
Sea Cucumber (Holothuroidea): Although it sounds like a vegetal, sea cucumbers are animals related, by the way, to sea urchins and starfish, although at first sight they look more like giant slugs. But if their looks and relatives are weird, wait until you hear about their defence system: when they feel threatened by a predator they spit their guts out for the hunter to eat them while the cucumbers escape. Worry not about them, though – they grow them back (the guts) in a short period of time.
Barreleye fish (Macropinna microstoma): If you look at the tail of this fish, it seems like it is perfectly normal. Its head is pretty strange, though: transparent, as a fish tank. Inside you can see two green things moving: the eyes! This allows it to do two things: it can see its predators from all possible angles, and it can feed from jellyfish unafraid of them stinging its eyes and leaving it blind.
Surinam Toad (Pipa pipa): Have you ever seen in a cartoon when something really heavy falls on the protagonist and it leaves him totally flat? The Surinam toad looks like a flattened toad. It is brown or grey and it lives between the mud and the tropical rivers of South America, surfacing only to breath. The weirdest thing is that when the time to reproduce comes, the female carries the eggs with the tadpoles in orifices on her back. The little toads will emerge within a few days, fully formed, straight from the mother's back.
King of Herrings (Regalecus glesne): Apparently this fish might be the source of all legends about giant sea serpents: silver and flat, it can reach 17 meters in length. One of its distinctive features is a long, reddish crest. While they are elusive, it is thought they can be found all over the world and some even say that they are the source of the legend of the dragon in China.
So, this text might have been long, but we can assure you that these are only a few of the myriad strange creatures that exist. While you're in the Internet, go ahead and look others up! You'll find many interesting species