What's your favorite "weird" animal species?

I want to hear about your favorite “weird” animal species.

I’m really interested in hearing about unique attributes, and cool pictures are a huge plus. Let me lay down some rules: no “ordinary” animals, unless you can explain what unique characteristic makes them so special to you; no wide-ranging animal groups, so you chordata cheerleaders can just take a seat; no plants, unless the plant has a non-plantlike feature that just rocks. Give as many factoids as you can!

Mine is the mola mola, or ocean sunfish. It’s freaking 'uge. Typical adult specimens reach 2-3 meters tall, and weigh in at several tons. They have no tail, either - just a vague merging of the dorsal and anal fins. Their skin is reputably thick enough to stop a rifle bullet, and is rough enough to scrape the paint from a boat’s hull…even though it’s covered in a layer of mucous and parasites. :eek:

They’re related to the pufferfish, and have spines as juveniles. They are so large, and have such a pronounced disc shape, that at the surface they swim on their sides and bask in the sun. They are observed basking lazily more often than they are observed actually exerting themselves, but yet they can swim fast enough to propel their bodies meters above the water. As is typical of one of the largest ocean animals, it feeds on smaller critters, mostly jellyfish. Unlike most other large ocean animals, they have a relatively puny brain.

It’s the only fish species I’ve ever seen with a webpage featuring a poetic description of its pooping.

The National Geographic Society wants to know if you happen to see one while jetting around in your submersible. (No I don’t work for the NGS. Yes, I want a jet-powered submersible.)

The Dun King

I’m quite fond of Homo Sapiens Sapiens and they have a lot of characteristics that, while not neccesarily unique to their species alone, is limited to very few species.

Tool usage; murder; bipedal movement; language; art; opposable thumbs; and lots of other things make them very interesting.


Hey, cool thread!

I’m taking a course at work and one of the things we had to do was stick a toothpick in the animal encyclopedia, then do a report on whatever critter we hit. I totally lucked out and got one of my favorites - the sloth!

What’s not to love about an animal so laid back it actually grows algae on it’s fur? It can’t walk upright, so it only comes down from the trees once a week to defecate. It pretty well has to crawl around while it attends to “business”. :eek:

Surprisingly, the sloth is a good swimmer. It just sucks at most everything else. They have such a slow metabolism that they spend most of their time immobile, passing themselves off as a bundle of dead leaves.

I’d post links but I’m still a little uncertian about the technocalities. Anyway, there you go. An amazing, amusing critter to be sure!

Damn. I LOVE the backbone! Oh, well.

Actually, I recently rewatched the BBC series “Life on Earth” with David Attenborough. One of the coolest animals he mentioned is a little frog that’s only found on one mountain in Africa (IIRC)…and gives birth to live, mature frogs, unlike most amphibians that go with the whole egg and tadpole route. The eggs are retained inside the mother’s ovarian ducts, where they hatch. The tadpoles are free swimming and independent, but they also stay in the ducts. The mother secretes little white flakes from the duct walls which feed her baby tadpoles. Finally, once the tadpoles have turned into baby frogs with legs and everything, the mother gives birth. Amazing.

I’m gonna say it before anyone else does:
The Mighty Platypus.

I’m going with Slime Molds They’re not animals, plants or fungii.

Pretty damn cool in my book.

Naked mole rats…a mammal species with an insect-like social organization. Only the queen and some of the males breed. They have soldiers and workers too. Truly bizarre (and ugly).

I hate slime molds, they’ve been kicking my ass since as far back as Temple of Apshai and Wizardry.

< sings >
Call me!
Beep me!
If you wanna
Reach me… < /sings >

I vote for the North American Mink.
Hunts on land, in the water, up the trees.
Eats anything that
[li]Is small enough to cram down it’s throat[/li][li]Doesn’t try to eat it first.[/li]
And it’s cuuuuuute! :slight_smile:

I was headed toward the platypus myself! I’m quite partial to the platypus.


I’ve got a HUGE fascination with the evolution of ungulates - and the giraffid family used to be pretty darn big, but now we only have:

  1. Giraffes
  2. Okapis

… and they are LOVELY!!! Horsie-sized, liver-chestnut beasties with a zebra-striped butt. How cool is THAT!!!

A few weeks ago, as a matter of fact, me and some friends were having a sort of round-house discussion. If you had the opportunity to ask God one question, what would it be. Everyone in the group had typical profound questions, really mundane stuff. When it was my turn a stated simply, “I would ask God, 'What’s the deal with the platypus?”

Someone recently told me something that I have been trying to verify: Does the platypus have poisonous spines on its feet?

Your kind creep in everywhere, don’t you!

PLATYPUS LOVER!! :mad: :wink: :smiley: :smiley:

Dun King, believe it or not, I jumped into this thread thinking “Cool! I’ll post about the mola!”

I don’t know why, but that wierd fish utterly fascinates me.

But then, I think groupers are cool too.

Woodlice; they are crustaceans that are fully terrestrial; this is unique (or at the very least, extremely rare - even those red crabs on Christmas Island have to return to water to breed), they can roll up into a near-perfect sphere, which is cool and they can drink through their anus, which is surprising and useful.

Waaa! You took mine!

Ok I’ll go with the faerie penguin. Less than one foot high, these little penguins can twist and turn in the most odd ways. I have a picture of one that’s twisted up kind of like a corkscrew, looking at the camera, like “Can I help YOU?” When we go to the Boston Aquarium they have their own area in the penguin pool, fenced off, and they always look they’re saying, “What do you mean there’s other penguins in here? It’s just us. Nope nope nope, always been just us.”

And that’s some way to get invited to one of Hefner’s parties, I’d bet! :smiley:

I’m quite partial to the Echidna, or Tachyglossus aculeatus. They share some characteristics with the platypus: they are monotremes, lay eggs but give milk to their young, and have poison glands in the legs (but are not at all dangerous). I’ve seen them in the wild in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, so they are quite common and widespread. When you come across one, it tends to try to go straight down to hide from you, even in the middle of a road. And I’ve patted them – those spikes are not as sharp as they look!

Ceti eels. I mean, what is up with that?

Hind feet. Possibly males only.

Electric Bill

Lays eggs,

  • in a burrow

  • witih submerged access