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15 Unique Species You’ve Probably Never Seen Before

8. A rare rhinoceros iguana gets its name from its quirky outgrowths such as horns located at the end of its nose.

Rhinoceros Iguana
Image source: Taipei Zoo/Taiwantoday

The rhinoceros Iguana is a species of lizard that is native to the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola (Haiti and The Dominican Republic). The lizard gets its name from a bony-plated pseudo growth on its snout that resembles the horn of a rhinoceros. The lizard is heavily bodied and dusky grey to olive green with visible dark crossbands. The most prominent physical characteristic feature are the three horny bumps on its snout.

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The males have a larger horn when compared to their female counterparts. These unique iguanas primarily live in open scrubs, rocks, and dense groups of bushes. They spend most of their time active during the day by climbing rock crevices and digging burrows. Though they might look intimidating, they are harmless herbivores, and their diet comprises of fruits, leaves, and flowers. (1, 2)

9. The Kaputar pink slug is a giant neon, hot-pink slug that is exclusively found in a single, isolated forest on an extinct volcano in Australia.

Triboniophorus aff. Graeffei, also is known as Kaputar pink slug, is a species of giant, neon, hot-pink slug. The species is an air-breathing slug that lives on land reaching up to eight inches in length and found only on Mount Kaputar in Australia. Mount Kaputar is an inland mountain located near Narrabri in northern New South Wales.

A volcanic eruption on the Mount Kaputar created an ideal high altitude condition for the slugs to thrive. These brightly colored slugs live in groups and prefer a moist environment. They are extremely shy creatures and hide in plant litters at the base of the trees. The slugs are nocturnal creatures and climb trees to eat algae and mosses that grow on them. (1, 2)

10. Deep in the Amazon rainforest exists a rare breed of a double-nosed, Andean tiger hound that has two noses.

Andean tiger hound
Image credits: Blashford-Snell/BBC

The rare breed of double-nosed Andean tiger hound was discovered by explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett in 1913. He recounted seeing the usual dog breed deep in the Amazonian jungles. The rare breed of double-nosed dog is known for their unusual split nose. However, there are no official accounts that verify the existence of these hounds. The rare dog breed has been documented only three times. Recently, explorer Colonel John Blashford-Snell encountered the breed, a dog called “Xinguwhich translates to “not terribly handsome.”

In 2005, he encountered Xingu’s mother Bella, also a double-nosed Andean tiger hound. The canine is presumed to have originated in the 16th century when Spanish conquistadors introduced Pachon Navarro hunting dogs in Amazon to help track jaguars. The split nose is rumored to provide them with a superior sense of smell. The mysterious breed remains an enigma to this date and has been categorized as a cryptozoological animal. (1, 2)

11. A rare and endangered Ili Pika rabbit dubbed as “magic rabbit” was spotted for the first time in 20 years. It is an unbelievably cute mammal with a teddy bear face.

Ili pika, dubbed the “magic rabbit,” is a rare species of mammal that is endemic to northwest China. The shy rabbit was discovered in 1983 in the Tianshan Mountains and remained elusive till 2014. It was photographed for the first time in 20 years by conservationist Li Weidong on Ili Prefecture. While normal rabbits have long floppy ears, these cute rabbits are characterized by brightly colored fur and displays prominent rusty-red spots on its forehead and neck. The Ili pikas are fluffy, short-eared rabbits and are estimated to weigh a mere 250 grams.

Ili pikas are tiny mountain-dwelling mammals that are endemic to the Tianshan Mountains of northwestern China. The animals are equipped with shorter legs to navigate through mountainous terrain and are very sensitive to climatic changes. According to researchers, they fear that the population has reduced by nearly 70% in the past 15 years. As the species has been documented rarely, almost nothing is known about its ecology and behavior. Increased grazing, global atmospheric pollution, and climate change have affected their population. (1, 2)

12. The Mexican alligator lizard is an endangered teal-colored arboreal alligator lizard found in Mexico and Guatemala.

Mexican Alligator
Image source: DoubleDot7/Reddit

The Mexican alligator lizard is also known as arboreal alligator lizards that were described by Edward Drinker Cope, an American herpetologist, in 1864. The lizards take up a range of colors depending on the UVB light they are exposed to. The lizard turns vibrant green when exposed to natural sunlight but appears bright teal when placed under UVB light.

Adult lizards are 12 inches long and possess a slender tail that takes up nearly half their length. They are slow movers and tend to bite when threatened. These lizards usually keep to themselves and live at high altitudes inside rotting wood and moss. They resemble miniature alligators and are a viviparous species. They are largely threatened by the illegal pet trade and a range of environmental factors. (1, 2)

13. The Amorphophallus titanum is one of the largest flowering plants with an unbranched inflorescence in the world. It blooms once every 40 years for four days!

Amorphophallus titanum also is known as “titan arum” is a flowering plant. It is considered to be a perennial herb with the largest collection of unbranched inflorescence in the world. The plant is comprised of a leaf-like structure (spathe) measuring nearly three meters and is surrounded by a fleshy spike (spadix) that is two meters tall. The flower is the largest flowering structure in the world and grows up to three meters tall.

It flowers only once in 40 years and is in bloom only for four days. It emits an unbearable odor that smells like a rotting carcass. The strong odor attracts insects and bees for pollination. The flower is native to the rainforest of western Sumatra, Indonesia. During the blooming season, the tip of the spadix has temperature approximately the same as the human body that is crucial for volatilizing the perfume. Both the male and female exhibit the same inflorescence. The female flowers bloom first followed by the male flower, this ensures that self-pollination is prevented. (source)

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14. Qi Zai, a Qinling panda, is considered to be a subspecies of the giant panda. It is the only brown panda in captivity in the entire world!

Brown Panda
Image credit: He Xin/Dailymail

Discovered in the 1960s, the Qinling panda is a subspecies of the giant panda. It was recognized as the first giant panda subspecies in 2005. The Qinling panda is much smaller when compared to the giant panda. The panda has a smaller and a rounder head, and large teeth with a light and dark brown fur.

There are estimated to be 200-300 Qinling pandas in the wild and are restricted to the Qinling Mountains. A female Qinling panda was captured by in 1989 and mated with a regular giant panda. The female gave birth to a black-and-white offspring, Qi Zai, which reportedly started changing brown as it grew. The staple diet of the Qinling panda includes bamboo and exhibits behavioral characteristics of the giant panda. The sighting of this panda has become an extremely rare phenomenon as they are increasingly suffering from inbreeding. (1, 2)

15. The Mexican mole lizard is a rare species considered to be almost mythical. It is a five-toed worm lizard that is endemic to the Baja California Peninsula.

The insanely cute, rare species resembles a combination of a worm and a lizard. The Mexican mole lizard is a five-toed worm lizard also known as “Bipes,” It is a species of amphisbaenian. It a species of amphisbaenian that possesses a pair of legs. These worm-like lizards are pink-colored and have a corrugated appearance like earthworms.

The blunt shape of their heads allows the lizard to burrow into the soil. The lizard also possesses a pair of strong forelegs and an autonomous tail. The lizard uses its autonomous tail as an escape tactic from predators giving it time to escape. Unlike a normal lizard which can regenerate its tail, the mole lizard’s tail does not regenerate. The lizard prefers to stay below the soil and is rarely witnessed above the ground. (1, 2)

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