Nature has a thing about survival of the fittest. In that spirit some species of animals (whether they live in water, on land or in the sky) have gone to extremes to make sure they have whatever bonus edge they can get over their neighbors in the wild.
1. The pink fairy armadillo
The smallest armadillo in the world lives in the scrubby grasslands of Central Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is an excellent digger, and spends most of its life underground.
2. The Honduran white bat
Unlike other bats, it doesn’t sleep in caves, but chooses abandoned banana fields. Every night, the Honduran white bat leaves its cozy tent and looks for some fruit to eat.
3. The Venezuelan poodle moth
This fluffy creature was first discovered in 2009, and doesn’t yet have an accepted scientific name. The most adorable insect you’ve ever seen, isn’t it?
4. The star-nosed mole
These 22 pink ‘fingers’ on its nose help the nearly blind mole find food. This mole can gobble a worm in a quarter of a second, which makes it the fastest eating mammal on the planet. Of the 39 known species of moles, this is the only one that calls a swamp home. Its namesake nose allows this mole to efficiently hunt its insect prey (usually worms) while on land but also enables it to smell…underwater. Bubbles blown from its nose are inhaled quickly, which the mole then smells to detect scents in the water. It might be a little freaky to look at, but this marsh-loving mole’s impressive scent capabilities are still a fascinating study in progress for scientists who don’t mind dealing with a creature that has tentacles on its face.
5. The okapi
The okapi can be found in Congo’s rainforests and look like they’ve been spray tagged by thugs. With it’s striped black and white zebra-like legs and a coat of fur that appears to glisten with a purple hue, this relative of the giraffe does its best to avoid natural predators like panthers but has had limited success avoiding man. Hunting and an ever-shrinking territory being eaten up by mining and logging operations now have the okapi on the endangered species list with fewer than 4,500 left in the wild.
6. The proboscis monkey
Don’t be turned off by the fleshy nose of the proboscis monkey. It helps to amplify this ape’s vocalizations to attract females in the jungles of Borneo.
7. The leaf-tailed gecko
Can you see the gecko on this photo? This reptile has mastered the art of camouflage. Try to find it on the island of Madagascar.
8. The roughback batfish
This red-lipped fish lives in the Atlantic Ocean and barely reaches 4 inches in length. Blow it a kiss next time you stumble upon it in the Bahamas.
9. The saiga antelope
This nosy antelope lives in steppe grassland regions of Asia. The saiga’s curved nose warms up the cold winter air before it reaches its lungs.
10. The peacock mantis shrimp
This eye-catching shrimp can detect ten times more color than you. It also has deadly arms that can punch prey with the speed of a bullet.
Story by Jay Moon