5 Super-Weird and Awesome Animals

May 14, 2019

    In 2011, it was estimated that there are 8.7 million species on earth, with 1-2 million of those being animals (Wonderopolis). However, in a more recent article in 2017, scientists are now estimating that there are about 2 billion species in the world, with 7 percent being animals (phys.org). That makes 140 million different animal species. As we discover more kinds of animals, there’s bound to be some extremely weird ones out there. Here are a couple that are just so fun and weird that I can’t help mentioning. 

 

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Pink Fairy Armadillo:

 

     The pink fairy armadillo, also known as the pichiciego, is the smallest known species of armadillo with a length of a proud 3.5 - 4.5 inches and weighing less than a pound (A-Z animals). They tend to live in dry grasslands and desert plains, which is perfect for their digging prowess. Due to their large claws (relative to their small stature) and aerodynamic shape, these guys are extremely good at burrowing and digging quickly. Pink fairy armadillos tend to live near ant hills, as ants are their favorite food (they will, however, settle for plants, snails, or worms). 

 

 Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Coelacanth

 

      Do you ever come across an animal, and you think “Gosh, this thing looks like it came out of prehistoric times?” (Sometimes I feel like this when I have to rescue some pretty lost beetles from inside my house). The Coelacanth is that feeling condensed down in fish form. Coming from a 360 million year lineage, it is an armored fish (Wired). There are only two discovered species of coelacanth, and they were thought to be extinct until 1938. They grow to be over 200 pounds and up to 6 feet long. Unlike many other fish, they have live births instead of laying eggs, and they don’t have backbones. Instead, they possess a notochord, a pressurized tube that acts like a backbone. 

 

Photo Source: Flickr

Pyrosome

 

      So, these things area really weird. Pyrosomes are giant sea worm-like creatures that float through tropical waters, except that they aren’t really singular animals (National Geographic). They are actually a colony of smaller invertebrates called zooids that move in a colony formation and work together to get food. The zooids can be in groups of hundreds to thousands, and they form the tube-like pyrosome, which can reach the likes of 26 feet (though they can also be as small as a centimeter). Pyrosomes like to go to ocean surfaces at night to catch phytoplankton before drifting down to avoid predators. Another great thing is that pyrosomes naturally glow, making them a literal ocean glow worm. 

 

 Photo Source: Flickr

 

Gerenuk

 

    When I saw this animal, I could not stop laughing, and I immediately sent it to all of my friends. The little head, the giraffe neck, the deer body… it almost looked like it was photoshopped.  However, this was no mere doctored-up animal, it was a gerenuk, a West African animal. Its name could be translated to “giraffe-neck,” and it gets up on its haunches to get to hard-to-reach foliage (Britannica). The Gerenuk tends to be very shy, and its first line of defense involves simply staying very still. Its next solution is to just start trotting away and then bounding away if things get really dicey. 

 

 Photo Source: Flickr

 

Sea Pig

 

     Sea pigs are a type of sea cucumber that reside at the bottom of the world’s oceans (Wired). Honestly, they look just like something that would reside at the bottom of an ocean. Sea pigs get around by walking on the sea floor, picking up little bits of sea scum and plant matter as a food source. They are only 4-6 inches long, and they sometimes move in groups. When they do, however, they move in the exact same direction as they scour the sea floor. There’s something really weird about imagining a whole hoard of these things walking through the sea floor and picking up scum. 

 

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