23 Gorgeous Animals With Unique Features
Aye-ayes, blue-footed boobies, and star-nosed moles are some of nature's weirdest animals.
The world is full of wonderful and wow-worthy creatures. And there are more than a few beasts to gawk at: In 2011, the Census of Marine Life estimated that there were 6.5 million species living on land and 2.2 million living in the ocean, with 86 percent of all species on land and 91 percent of all species in the sea still waiting to be discovered. However, while each and every animal is worthy of awe, there are some species that stand out in any surrounding, thanks to bright hues, unusual patterns, and other crazy adaptations. Below, we've highlighted some animals with unique features.
This albino zebra
These rare "blond" zebras, as they're called, have partial albinism that lightens everything from their manes to their stripes.
This pretty polka-dotted foal
As National Geographic noted when this foal was captured on camera in September 2019, this unique polka-dot pattern is likely the result of pseudomelanism, a type of pigmentation abnormality.
This cat with two different-colored eyes
Heterochromia, which is the scientific name for this phenomenon, is caused by either a lack of or an excess of melanin, according to Mountain View Veterinary Services.
These blue-footed boobies
Male blue-footed boobies are quite proud of their brightly colored trotters: As evident in the above photograph, they will showcase their feet during mating rituals—and the bluer the feet, the more appealing the male.
This frog that looks like it's covered in moss
No, that's not a mossy rock you're looking at. That's the Vietnamese mossy frog, whose green body covered in black spots gives it a rugged appearance. According to the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, this amphibian blends in perfectly when sitting still.
This grasshopper that looks like a leaf
There are several animals that use leaf mimicry in order to survive out in the wild. One such creature is the dead-leaf grasshopper, which Britannica notes is native to Malaysia.
This ladybug with stripes
This striped ladybug, known in the scientific community as Paranaemia vittigera, is native to the western United States, according to the University of California's Agriculture and Natural Resources.
This goat with four horns
According to Backyard Farming: Raising Goats For Dairy and Meat, goats can have as many as eight horns, though this genetic mutation is extremely rare.
This red-spotted coral crab
How stunning is this spotted crab? If you ever go scuba diving in Hawaii, you might just come across one in person!
This white peacock
Though peacocks are known for their striking colors, there is such a thing as a white peacock. No, these birds aren't albino; they have leucism, which causes a partial loss of pigmentation.
This snake with two heads
To someone with ophidiophobia, the only thing scarier than a snake with one head is a snake with two heads. But yes, they do exist. Sadly, a statement from The Wildlife Center of Virginia notes that "they just don't live that long." In the meantime, twice the heads, twice the fun.
This dog with a heart-shaped birthmark
This cute dog is made even cuter by the heart-shaped birthmark situated on their belly. What a darling difference!
This horse with a mustache
And this monkey with a mustache
Horses aren't the only animals with funny facial hair. As Macalester College notes, the emperor tamarin monkey has such prominent facial hair that it was named after German Emperor Wilhelm II, a man who was known for his pronounced mustache.
This beautiful bird with pink wings
Most commonly found in Texas, Florida, and southwest Louisiana, roseate spoonbills are easy to spot thanks to their pretty pink wings.
This lemur with six fingers
When you talk about animals with unique features, you can't forget about the aye-aye. "Due to its bizarre appearance and unusual feeding habits, the aye-aye is considered by many to be the strangest primate in the world," notes the Duke Lemur Center.
So what makes this lemur so strangely unique? Well, not only do they have incisors that never stop growing, but research published in October 2019 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology notes that they also have a sixth "finger" on the palm of each hand, a tiny "pseudothumb" that can move in three different directions.
And this little lemur that's smaller than all its other relatives
Shrink any animal down and it immediately becomes cuter. The lemur is no exception: This greater dwarf lemur, just one of several dwarf lemur species, tends to be anywhere from only 167 to 264 millimeters in length, making it all the more cute and cuddly-looking.
This mole with a bizarrely unique nose
Is it just a coincidence that the star-nosed mole looks eerily like the demogorgons on Stranger Things? That's up to you to decide.
This "hairy" fish
Why would a fish ever need hair? Well, in the case of the hairy frogfish, that "hair" is actually spines that are used to camouflage into coral and seaweed.
This sea creature with a striking blue hue
The bright hue of the blue glaucus' underbelly isn't just for aesthetic purposes. According to Oceana, it "acts as camouflage against the backdrop of ocean waves while the animal's grayish backside blends with the bright sea surface, concealing it from predators below."
This moth with poodle-like qualities
This insect is aptly called the poodle moth, thanks to its furry appearance that resembles, well, a poodle's.
This fish that looks like it's wearing lipstick
The red-lipped batfish saves a pretty penny on makeup, seeing as its lips are naturally tinted bright red.
This bizarre bird with a beak that looks like a shoe
This shoebill's big bill allows it to hunt prey like lizards, snakes, and even baby crocodiles, according to the National Audubon Society. Yikes!