Loving animals is easy. Sometimes, however, one may be somewhat more hesitant to love unreservedly when the objects of one’s affection are just downright weird looking or display strange behaviour.
Here are 10 strange creatures – some are pretty, others are pretty weird.
It flits, hovers, and hums, so one could easily mistake this hawk moth for one of the prettiest birds, the hummingbird. Similar to the hummingbird, the hawk moth has a long slender proboscis, which it uses to suck sweet nectar from flowers.
The Mantis Shrimp, also known as the ‘sea locust’, is one of the ocean’s most colourful scavengers. It thrives in tropical and sub-tropical waters. What makes this little monster scary and awe-inspiring at the same time, is that it moves so fast underwater that the water around it actually boils. This is known as supercavitation.
The Saiga Antelope
The Saiga Antelope has a face that only a mother could love. Its snout resembles a flexible proboscis. This unsual antelope roams the plains surrounding the Eurasian Steppe.
The Blue Parrotfish
The luminescent blue hues of the parrotfish make it one of the most attractive sea creatures. It spends 80% of its time in the Atlantic Ocean searching for food. Before settling in for the night, some species of parrotfish cover their bodies with mucous bubbles, which help ward off parasites and predators while alseep.
The thorny dragon that resides in desert sands is an expert at camouflage and trickery. It has a ‘false’ head, which it uses to trick predators when threatened while its real head is buried in the sand.
The Superb Bird of Paradise
Many fans of David Attenborough’s nature documentaries may recognise the brilliant bird of paradise. To attract females, males dance around in circles and show off their colourful and patterned plumes. When they do this, they resemble a dancing face.
The coconut crab is gigantic. Not only does its sheer size slightly frighten us (especially those massive pincers), it also has the ability to scurry up trees in search of coconuts, which form part of their daily diet. The coconut crab is quite a clever chap because it skilfully peels away the coconut husk and hammers it open with a rock. On some islands they have earned the nickname ‘robber crab’ or ‘palm thief’ because of their tendency to “steal” shiny objects.
The Star-Nosed Mole
What makes this mole unique is the distinguishable pink fleshy “antennae,” which resemble little worms and which protrude from its face. Not entirely an oil painting (where’s its head?), but clever because it can smell under water.
Fascinatingly, the echidna is one of two mammals in the world that lays eggs. This spiky creature has no teeth, so when it eats termites, which are its favourite food, it crushes them between its tongue and the roof of its mouth. Just like gran and gramps!
Sharks may not be the weirdest looking creatures (except the hammerhead) but they do display some interesting behaviour in the form of tonic immobility. Tonic immobility is the phenomenon where sharks “play dead.” Scientists are stumped as to why sharks do this, since they’re apex predators and possess few enemies. Some speculate that it may form part of the mating process. Another quality, which sharks possess and which is rather admirable is their keen sense of smell. It is so accurate that they’re able to smell a single drop of blood as far as 5km away.
It’s rare that you’d encounter any of these animals in everyday life, as some are endangered and protected, while others live far away in deserts and jungles. There is one animal with which you can come face-to-face – the great white shark. If you’re already visiting South Africa or plan to travel to our country soon, do not miss going shark cage diving in Gansbaai, South Africa’s shark cage diving capital.