Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Weirdest Animals

Quite possibly the ugliest animal on earth. It looks like something out of a cartoon. To survive the intense pressure at depths of 1000m and more, its body is largely made up of a jelly-like substance slightly less dense than water. The jelly allows it to float just above the sea floor without having to expend energy on swimming.

Dracula Fish.
It is just 17 millimetres-long, transparent and has hook-shaped extensions that look like teeth protruding through the skin above its mouth. Zoologists called it one of the most "extraordinary vertebrates discovered in the last few decades".

The axolotl is a Mexican mole salamander, about 15-45cm in length, and one of the cleverest critters you're ever likely to meet. If the axolotl loses a limb, it will grow another. If it loses a certain part of its brain, it will grow that back, too.
Tests have shown that it will happily accept transplants from other axolotls, including eyes and portions of brain, and rewire them to work perfectly. Because of these amazing powers of regeneration, some axolotls swim about with several more limbs than are strictly necessary.

Star-nosed Mole.
The star-nosed mole best resembles a strange sci-fi amalgamation of two different creatures. It is, for the most part, a common or garden mole, with thick, dark fur and a long thick tail. But its nose seems to belong to another animal altogether.
The ring of 22 fleshy pink tentacles that wave around at the end of its snout should really be living on its own at the bottom of the sea.

To escape predators, the hagfish exudes copious quantities of a viscous slime. That's the nice bit. To feed, it enters its victim through the mouth, gills or anus, and devours it from the inside out. Yep, the hagfish has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever.


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