This bizarre looking animal (Atretochoana eiselti), which shockingly is neither a penis nor a snake, was only known from two preserved specimens until it was rediscovered in 2011 while part of the Madeira River in South America was being drained. It’s a caecilian amphibian that can achieve a total length of around 80 centimeters, making it the biggest known caecilian. Little is known about these hilarious looking animals, but caecilians are limbless and generally navigate via their sense of smell.
The yeti crab (Kiwa hirsuta), an unusual, hairy crab with no eyes, was discovered in 2005 on a hydrothermal vent near Easter Island. This decapod, which is approximately 15 cm long, is notable for the quantity of silky blond setae (resembling fur) covering its pereiopods (thoracic legs, including claws). Its discoverers dubbed it the “yeti lobster” or “yeti crab”.
You might be surprised to learn that this beautiful sea critter (also known as a sea swallow or blue dragon) is actually a sea slug. The blue and silvery mollusk is known to feed off cnidarians like the venomous Portuguese Man o' War. What makes these gorgeous slugs even more fascinating is their practice of storing the cnidarians's stinging nematocysts within its own tissues — ensuring a painful sting to anyone who messes with it.
Which one of these bizarre creatures and critters are you meeting for the first time? Discover animal kingdom oddballs that 500px photographers have captured for you, with jaw-dropping features that range from wide cartoon-ish eyes to extremely long limbs and snouts to exaggerated body parts that look downright scary. Plus, you’ll get the story behind each of these photographers’ wild encounters. Scroll down!
Also known as Whalehead or Shoe-billed Stork, is a very large stork-like bird. This large stork-like bird gets its name because of the shape of its beak. Even though it was already known to ancient Egyptians and Arabs, the bird was only classified in the 19th century. Shoebill prefers life in tropical dense marshes, swamps and wetlands.It is listed as a vulnerable species, with no more than 8000 birds left in the wild.
“The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) is one of the most sought after bird in Africa. A most amazing bird with prehistoric looks – its height of up to 150 centimeters (5 feet) and weighs up to 14 pounds – a most amazing bird found in the pearl of Africa – Uganda. The Arabs used to call the Shoebill Stork – “Abu Maruk” meaning father of the shoe – one could call the Shoebill Stork a flying shoe because of his unique bill. Amazingly this prehistoric looking bird can live for 50 some years. The population of the shoebills is estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 individuals, the majority of which live in swamps in Sudan, Uganda, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia. BirdLife International has classified it as Vulnerable with the main threats being habitat destruction, disturbance and hunting.” – Manuela Kulpa
A headless goddamned ghost appears right in goddamned front of them. You literally see it materialize on camera -- of all the entries on this list, this is the one you absolutely have to watch (here's a shorter version that cuts right to the ghost if you don't have 4 free minutes). Seriously, your mind will be blown like Eric Stoltz's penis in The Rules of Attraction. As they swing the camera lazily through the room, the ghost just walks very purposefully toward them like it's delivering a pizza, while a long, low moan emanates from its phantom lungs.