Nothing makes tourists whip out their cameras faster than seeing an animal on vacation. Whether searching for the big five on an African safari or combing the beach for sea lions in the Galápagos, getting up close and personal with our furry friends is always a highlight.
But what if we told you that lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my) were just scratching the surface? What if we told you that in some parts of the world, there are creatures so odd and rare that many people don’t even know they exist?
Here is a list of some of the strangest animals around the world.
1. Glowing sea turtle
Just last week, divers in the Solomon Islands discovered a glowing sea turtle under the waves. While other animals are known to be bioluminescent, this is the first documented case of a glowing reptile in the wild. According to diver David Gruber, an associate professor of biology at Baruch College, the hawksbill sea turtle’s shell glowed both red and green, but it’s likely that the red came from biofluorescent algae.
“It could be a way for them to communicate, for them to see each other better, [or] to blend into the reefs,” which are also biofluorescent, Gruber told Live Science. “It adds visual texture into the world that’s primarily blue.
If an anteater and an armadillo had a baby, it might look something like the pangolin, an odd-looking mammal found throughout parts of Asia and Africa. The pangolin has a long, specially adapted tongue for eating ants and termites and wears a protective keratin shell — it is the only mammal known to have this adaptation. Sadly, its unique characteristics also make it the most trafficked mammal in the world, as it is highly sought-after for its meat and armor. The pangolin is currently listed as a threatened species.
3. Diane’s bare-hearted glass frog
Is it just us, or does this frog look like Kermit? There are many different species of glass frogs, but this little guy is a new discovery — the first in Costa Rica since 1973. While its bright green coloring might grab your attention, the coolest part about this frog is that it is see-through. That’s right — the underside is translucent, providing a stunning view of the amphibian’s internal organs. If you want to see one, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled — these tiny jumpers are less than an inch long.
4. Axolotl, aka Mexican walking fish
Is it just us, or does this fish look like a Pokemon? The axolotl is a small salamander that can be found in various lakes around Mexico City, although it is currently listed as an endangered species. This amphibian can regenerate limbs, has lidless eyes, and can be black or albino.
5. Sun fish
The sun fish has the distinction of being the heaviest bony fish in the world — with an adult maxing out at 2 tons. This odd-looking creature (it kind of resembles Sloth from The Goonies) is found in temperate and tropical waters around the world and is considered a delicacy in places like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.