You only have to look to your pet dog to know that animals can do the strangest things. But some animals can be peculiar. Whether it is strange hunting abilities, defenses to the max, or questionable eating habits, there’s an animal that can do pretty much anything. If you’re out on safari, trekking, or trying to take in some nature on your travels, be sure to keep an eye out to spot some fascinating animals. You never know—you might see something that surprises you.
It’s a bird; it’s a plane—no, it’s a snake! It might seem like nightmare fuel, but there are, in fact, five different species of flying snake found in the jungles of South and Southeast Asia. These snakes take to the skies by propelling themselves into the air from branches and fly by flattening their bodies and undulating from side to side. Shockingly, they can fly for 70 feet using this technique.
The Climbing Perch is a small Asian freshwater fish known for its ability to walk on dry land. Shockingly, the fish can survive without water for 6-10 hours and uses its tail and spine-covered gills to walk around on dry land. Even though people often eat Climbing Perch in curries, they are also aggressive towards other fish, so if you find one in the wild, you’d best stay out of the way!
Found in mountainous regions in Central Asia, Eastern Africa, and Spain, the bearded vulture, is over 1 meter long and has a wingspan of 3 meters. What makes the Bearded Vulture interesting is its diet. The birds eat bone marrow, which they get by dropping bones from 80 feet in the air onto rocks. One bird recently appeared in the Peak District in England, drawing international attention for its super long migration.
The Northern White-faced Owl normally looks rather fluffy. But this transformer owl has another form. When it is threatened, it has a remarkable defense. It pulls its feathers inwards, elongates its body, and glares at its attacker in a pose that makes it look a little like Dracula.
Panaques are found in rivers in Central and South America, and they have a very unusual favorite food—wood! These huge catfish can reach sizes of up to 70 centimeters and are known for the chewing sounds they make while they’re chomping down on branches underwater.
The Maned Wolf is often called a fox on stilts, and you can easily see why! These wolves’ long legs have evolved, so they are perfectly adapted to their environment. Maned wolves live in high-grass savannahs in South America, and they are the largest canine in the region. Another unusual trait of the Maned Wolf is their diet, as they eat fruit and vegetables as much as they eat meat.
With the face of a cat and the body of a bear, the Binturong would fit right into a Dr. Seuss book. These slow-moving creatures smell of popcorn. The scent is made by an oil gland under their tail, and they leave a streak of scent wherever they go. Another fascinating ability of this animal is that the females can choose when their babies are born to time the birth with the best environmental conditions to raise the young.
When you’re in the American tropics at night, you might hear the distinctive, wailing cry of the Potoo. This bird sleeps during the day, using its feathers to blend in perfectly with the bark on trees. Often mistaken for a branch, Potoos are solitary birds, and instead of building nests, they lay a single egg in the crevices of trees.
You’d be forgiven for not spotting this next one. The Glasswinged butterfly has transparent wings, and the tissue between its veins is totally see-through. This camouflage is exceptional, meaning they can literally hide in plain sight. These tiny wonders are incredibly strong and can carry up to 40 times their body weight. You might think the extra weight would slow them down, but Glasswinged butterflies can really go the distance. They can migrate huge distances and are often found in Central America, Mexico, and even Florida.
The Hoatzin has many names: reptile bird, skunk bird, stink bird. It’s earned so many nicknames largely because of its smell. The bird smells of cow manure. The reason for this questionable smell is its digestive tract. Hoatzins feed on leaves, which means they need special digestive systems to ferment them. Not unlike cows chewing the cud, Hoatzins like to take time over their food. In fact, food can take up to 45 hours to pass through the system, leading to their strange odor!