Creepy Animals

…they're really interesting.

Jun 12 2013

Striped Hyena

Striped Hyena with crest of hair

Party in the back...

Grab a wolf, a mohawk, a zebra and your imagination, then conjure up a creepy animal. Voila! The Striped Hyena. This small hyena species roams the lands of North and East Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Though a nocturnal scavenger by trade, the Striped Hyena has been known to hunt small prey. Despite its nighttime-only activities, humans have insisted on interfering with the hyena population. Today, fewer than 10,000 Striped Hyenas exist, earning them the ‘threatened’ badge. We feel threatened just looking these photos. Makes our hair stand on end.

Striped Hyena with hair in face.

Business in the front...

Striped Hyena facing the camera

Hope to never face this face. Goodbyena.

 

Photos via Bless Chaos, Yuku, AnimalSpot

Apr 14 2013

Marabou Stork

Marabou Stork with hairlike feathers on head

When are you due?

OB-GYNs in Africa now unanimously agree that delivering babies would be extremely creepy if they came bundled in rags carried by a Marabou Stork. This bird won’t be carrying newborns anytime soon, but it will happily devour your baby’s diapers. The Marabou Stork is a scavenger – eating everything from carrion to small animals, and more commonly human trash around dumps in its native Africa.

The Marabou Stork is absolutely huge – reaching heights of up to 5 feet, weight of up to 20 lbs. and a wingspan of up to 10 feet across - the largest span of any bird. This stork is also uncannily known as the Undertaker Bird – it wears a black cloak of feathers, the hair-like head feathers “become clotted with blood and other substances when the bird’s head was inside a large corpse.” To keep cool, it defecates on its legs and feet. That is some undertaking.

Marabou Stork head

Just a little crusted blood. No big deal.

Marabou Stork with large pouch

The pouch. Filled with secrets.

Marabou Stork flying in the sky with wide wingspan

Dumpster diving reaches new heights.

Photos via SkyscraperCity, EarthandScienceFlickr, Wildlife-photo.org

Mar 27 2013

Brookesia Micra: the Tiniest Chameleon Ever

Smallest chameleon in the world on a thumb

I should probably cut my nails.

This is what would happen if a baby chameleon had a baby chameleon, and then that baby chameleon had a baby chameleon. Behold Brookesia Micra – the world’s smallest chameleon. As exemplified by the juvenile perched on a nail, this chameleon is very seriously diminutive – adults reach a maximum length of 1.2 inches from snout to tail. Brookesia Micra was only recently discovered in 2012 on the tiny island of Nosy Hara in Madagascar. It’s a classic example of island dwarfism – organisms gets tinier due to limited available resources.

World's smallest chameleon sitting on a matchstick

Obligatory matchstick photo showing miniature scale.

Brookesia Micra is so micra, it doesn’t even require color changing for camouflage – it blends in perfectly among leaf litter.

Smallest chameleon on grass

Let's call this Chamouflage.

 

Photos via Nat Geo, Dailymail

Feb 4 2013

The Bilby

Bilby in Australia with large ears

The Bilby.

If a shy rabbit and a feisty kangaroo had a lovechild, it would be the Bilby of Australia – a nocturnal marsupial that digs extensive tunnels under the land down under. Above ground, it scratches the soil for insects, seeds, fruit, fungi and small animals. The Bilby has excellent hearing, rarely needs to drink water, and looks cute without really trying.

Bilby marsupial with large ears

Nobunny can top this.

Unfortunately for the Bilby, its numbers have dwindled since the moment European settlers landed in Australia. Habitat destruction and introduction of invasive animals have not helped. While European rabbits have made their best efforts trying to make Australians forget about the Bilby, a national plan is underway to save the endangered creature – captive breeding, population monitoring and promoting the Bilby as an alternative to the Easter Bunny.

Chocolate Easter Bilby with eggs

The Easter Bilby. Tastes like bunny.

 

Photos via NPRBilby Appreciation Society

Jan 27 2013

Lobster Moth Caterpillar

lobster moth caterpillar on leaf

Bone-chilling...

They say people get more boring with age. The same holds true in the insect kingdom. The Lobster Moth is an incredibly ordinary moth whose larval form is anything but. The caterpillar features spindly forelegs and a swollen abdomen that curves up at the end, resembling a lobster tail. If the Lobster Moth Caterpillar is provoked, it spreads its front legs and arches its head back, possibly spraying formic acid. As an adult moth, it simply flies away.

Lobster moth caterpillar hanging off leaf

Hair-raising...

 

Lobster moth caterpillar with legs raised up

Blood-curdling...

 

Lobster moth on white background

The Lobster Moth as an adult. Yawn.

Photos via FlickrBogleech

Special thank you to Alyen Bird, who notified us with the existence of this creepy creature.

Jan 21 2013

Batfish

Red-lipped batfish underwater.

Red-lipped Batfish

We know it’s not a bat, but does this really qualify as a fish? The Batfish has uniquely creepy pectoral and pelvic fins that let it ”walk” across the seafloor. Similar to anglerfishes, batfishes lure in small edibles like shrimp, worms and fish using a wriggle-ready appendage on their nose that acts just like a fishing rod. About 60 species of batfishes walk / swim the waters deep.

Roughback batfish on sea floor

Roughback Batfish

 

polkadot batfish fish with feet

Polkadot Batfish

 

Longnose batfish.

Longnose Batfish - top view

 

Longnose batfish on ocean floor

Longnose Batfish - side view

 

Louisiana pancake batfish top view

Louisiana Pancake Batfish - top view

 

pancake batfish flat fish swimming

Louisiana Pancake Batfish - pancake view

Photos via Flickr, FlickrMarco News, Wikipedia, Diving Tank JPNat GeoASU,

Feb 14 2012

Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird

Umbrella bird in the forest.

If Rihanna only knew about this.

 

Long-wattled umbrella bird feathers.

If a mop and a feather duster had a baby....

The Long-Wattled Umbrella Bird is no stranger to falling drops of water. It lives in the Choco rainforests in Ecuador and western Colombia. While the hanging feather wattle at its neck doesn’t expand upwards and shade the bird, it is inflatable and amplifies its powerful calls.

Long-wattled Umbrella Bird on a branch.

Wow. What a wattle.

Photos via Lost in Birding, Nat Geo

Feb 2 2012

Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko on branch.

The devil wears leaves.

 

Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko on branch.

Okay maybe one leaf.

 

Leaf-tailed gecko tail.

Tails from the creep.

The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko is endemic to Madagascar and is a master of disguise amongst foliage. One of many leaf-tailed gecko varieties, the Satanic version has horn-like formations on its head and often comes with red eyes. Madagascariffic!

Photos via DailyMail, Flickriver

Jan 28 2012

Bat-Eared Fox

Bat-eared fox ears.

Stop...

 

Bat-eared fox ears on the side.

Listen...

 

Bat-eared fox in the desert.

What's that sound?

The Bat-Eared Fox is the unprofessed Hearo of the African Savannah. This nocturnal bat fox trails herds of hoofed animals to feed on the insects that feed on excrement. Ginormous ears let them hear termites, dung beetles and other underground creepy crawlies.  That’s some superpower.

Jan 19 2012

Turtle Frog

Turtle frog on ground.

WA

 

Turtle Frog with short nose.

WA

 

Myobatrachus gouldii in Australia.

WEE

 

Turtlr Frog male body.

WA

The Turtle Frog of western Australia feeds on termites, digging through sand head-first — unusual for a frog but commonplace for a turtle. With a snub nose and stubby physique, this species only bring us to the Creepy Animals mathematical conundrum:

IF [heroes in a half shell = turtle power] THEN [heroes without a shell = frog power] ??

 

Photos via WAM, Blog on Forest Health,

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