10 Strange animals and where to go to see them. Although they may be hard to find, there are a large number of wildlife and wildlife tours around the world. We’ve made sure that most of our tours give visitors the opportunity to spot some of the world’s most unusual animals in the wild. There are some truly bizarre animals out there, so we’ve collected a list of ten of our favorites for you to enjoy.
- Pangolin (Africa and Asia)
Pangolins are absolutely bizarre-looking creatures that also have a very unusual name! Interestingly, they’re much more closely related to dogs and cats than anteaters or armadillos – mammals whose similarities they share.
Despite their strange looks, we think pangolins are actually quite cute – with their big eyes, long tails and funny habit of curling into balls when threatened. It’s hard to spot them in the wild though, so you might try looking for some in art galleries from sub-Saharan Africa. Sadly, many species of pangolin have been seriously declining due to illegal hunting and poaching for meat and scales.
2. Aye-aye (Madagascar)
One thing Madagascar is known for is its rich and diverse wildlife. One of the many strange animals you can see on the island are Aye-ayes, a lemur with bulging eyes, ever-growing teeth, and long fingers. It can be quite creepy-looking, especially when you come across one in the forest at night!
3. Capybara (South America)
Capybaras, who are the largest living rodents, are found across much of Latin America. They tend to live near bodies of water in large social groups and can reach up to 100 individuals during the dry season. One thing to not about them is that they’re incredibly fast, capable of running as quickly as a horse if they need to. They also have been known to stay underwater for up to five minutes and use this trick if faced with a predator.
4. Armadillo Girdled Lizard (South Africa)
Endemic to the Northern and Western Cape provinces of South Africa, Armadillo Girdled Lizards resemble miniature dragons. The resemblance is especially pronounced in when they engage in their protective behaviour: rolling themselves up like a little ball. Another interesting fact about this lizard species is that they are one of the few species who give birth to live young. The females may even be feeding her offspring!
5. Magnificent frigatebird (Galapagos Islands)
Spearheaded by two opposing wings, they can fly as high as 2,500 metres above sea level. Galapagos Hawks have wingspans of nearly two and a half metres and are sometimes called ‘man-o’-war’ birds because they like to attack other birds flying in the area, as well as stealing their food on occasion.
6. Fossa (Madagascar)
This big-eared cat-like animal can reach over 4ft in length. They share similarities to the more familiar mongoose and other animals like it, but they also have some attributes of a cougar.
Fossa primarily eat lemurs and are one of only 3 carnivorous animals on Madagascar that is large enough to prey on even adult lemurs. Their long bodies, small ears, short legs all earn them inclusion on this list despite their somewhat heartwarming looks.
7. Sloth (Latin America)
Although sloths may appear slow, they actually move almost four times the speed of other mammals with a metabolism that’s slower than that of the average sloth. They’re mostly found in Latin America- which includes Central and South America as well as the Caribbean- and their faces look weird by design.
Sometimes sloths seem smiling from some angles, because their bizarrely-shaped faces are designed to stretch wide enough to eat lots of leaves while sticking out smaller predators’ field of vision. They were climbing 8 feet tall as recently as 11,000 years ago.
8. Velvet ants (South America)
While some people might mistake them for ants, these insects are actually wasps of different breeds. Females are wingless and hairy and are nearly identical in appearance to ants.
Some specimens in Chile have been found with black and white colorings, and when you’re around these dangerous bugs, you will understand why they’re also called “panda ants.” These insects are known for their incredibly painful stings. Such is the strength of these stings, in fact, that they’re also known by another name – “cow killers.”
9. Pink Fairy Armadillo (Argentina)
If you’re looking for a fairy armadillo, central Argentina is your best option. With their camouflage, these tiny armadillos are difficult to spot and are found nocturnally in the ground.
10. Maned wolf (South America)
Despite popular belief, maned wolves are not actually wolves. They’re more like foxes and wild dogs. These long-legged beauties have quite a lot of ears and are omnivores. Some scientists think that over half their diet may be vegetables, in fact. Maned wolves can be found in parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.