As children, many of us spent our time pouring through books about nature and the ocean. We loved finding the weird and wonderful animals and sea life that share the planet with us. Maybe we dreamed of becoming marine biologists or zoologists, spending our time in nature or the ocean, where we would interact with the creatures we loved.
That's how children are, aren't they... and many adults too. The love for nature, the oceans and all the creatures in them remain strong in many! And that's a good thing because the way we treat our planet means that our oceans and other natural habitats are under constant threat.
So today, we are going to ask you to go back to that time when you were a kid, discovering new animals and sea creatures for the first time. We have assembled a range of land animals and residents of the deep for you to identify. And these are not your run of the mill giraffe or whale. We are talking about strange beasts here, ones that you may have only seen a few times before.
Do you think you have what it takes to identify them?
No, it doesn’t suck blood, but it does look terrifying! The Vampire squid lives at great depths where it hunts its prey. They are also known to have big eyes in proportion to the rest of their body.
A cool name, isn’t it? But wow, that’s one ugly fish. Blobfish are found off the coast of both New Zealand and Australia and live at depths of around 1,200 meters.
Certainly one of the most colorful birds of the world, the Lilac-breasted roller is found mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also sometimes called the fork-tailed roller.
Not quite sure how the Indian purple frog moves around. That’s a big frog right there! And that face? The Indian purple has a pointed snout that immediately makes it look different from other frogs.
The Blue-ringed octopus is a fairly standard looking octopus except they have blue rings! Don’t be fooled, however. This octopus has a very strong venom which can be lethal.
Known as the scaly anteater, Pangolins are not related to anteaters in any way, or sloths for that matter. They are their own animal. This insect eater is covered in scales, and this is the only mammal in the world to have them. They eat mostly ants and termites.
Armadilloes are pretty awesome, and the most awesome amongst them is clearly the Pink fairy armadillo. Found in Argentina, this is the smallest of the armadillo species. It was discovered in 1825.
It is thought that grenadiers are one of the most populous fish found at great depths. In fact, scientists believe they make up around 15% of the population at these depths. They can live as deep as 6 kilometers!
It’s big. It’s red, and it’s made of jelly. Well, not quite; it’s not that red actually, it just has a faint tinge. This jellyfish does not have tentacles per se, as they are almost like mini arms. It uses these to catch its prey.
You would think the Fossa was related to the cat family. It isn’t. Found in Madagascar, the Fossa is more related to the mongoose family. This carnivore eats small animals, reptiles and birds.
A stunning looking reptile, the Prickly Bush Viper has scales that turn upwards. These actually look like feathers from a distance. Don’t be fooled, however. And stay clear!
The Barreleye is a strange looking fish. Not only does it have two upward looking eyes, but they are also encased in a transparent dome. Weird, isn’t it?
We know they are there, we just don’t see them that often. Giant squids are creatures of legend, and it is thought the legendary sea monster, the Kraken, was a giant squid. These creatures only have one enemy… the sperm whale.
If a mouse and a kangaroo mated, you might get a Jerboa. Actually, this strange looking animal is part of the rodent family. Well, they do look like mice but those long legs help the Jerboa jump really well.
That’s a seriously impressive moth! Humminbird hawk moths are found in Europe and Africa amongst other places. This moth is big and can have a wingspan of up to 1.8 inches. They have a long proboscis that is used to extract honey from plants.
Why is it called a Hatchetfish? Well, it looks a little like a hatchet, doesn’t it? These fish are noted for their eyes, which actually point upwards, allowing them to see food above them easier.
If this thing lived in the shallows, not many people would choose to go into the ocean! It’s scary looking. Luckily, these creatures are only found very deep, where they crawl the bottom of the ocean. They live in the Atlantic ocean mostly.
Found on the island of Borneo, the proboscis monkey is easily identified through its large nose. Why is it there? Well, to attract females. Sadly, they are an endangered species.
Found in Australia, the Thorny Devil lizard has hard spines. This is a protection against predators. Who would want to swallow that? They are harmless to humans, preferring to eat ants or plants.
The Anglerfish has his own lure to attract prey. It is a flesh protrusion from the top of his head that attracts other fish, which the anglerfish then attacks. Other fish must be a little stupid! Why go near this fierce looking thing?
So what’s so special about the Maned wolf? Well, it's those long legs! And guess what? This isn’t a wolf, either. It is a from the genus Chrysocyon and the only species in that genus. Incidentally, Chrysocyon means “golden dog.”
Found in Asia, the Chevrotain is more commonly called the Mouse Deer. A similar species live in Africa. They are ungulates, a diverse family that includes deer, donkeys, and cattle, to name a few. Adults weigh around 8 kilograms.
The Gulper eel gets its name from its huge mouth. This means it can swallow its prey, thanks to the loosely hinged jaw been able to open very wide. It is also named the Pelican eel because its jaw is similar in looks to the beak of a pelican.
Now that’s ugly! The Snaggletooth has an impressive jaw with sharp teeth. These fish live at depths of up to 2,500 meters. Here, they produce their own light that attracts their prey to their demise.
Blink, and you will miss it. The desert rain frog is tiny, which helps it evade predators. Growing only to around 6 centimeters, this frog is only found in a small section of Namibia and South Africa.
The Okapi is a strange looking beast. Often called the zebra giraffe, the Okapi is indeed related to the giraffe. They are found in central Africa and can grow up to 1.5 meters in height.
Actually, that’s pretty cute! Named after the Disney character, Dumbo the octopus lives at great depths, around 3,000 to 4,000 meters. They feed on crustaceans, worms, and bivalves.
The Pacific Black dragons live at great depths where they hunt their prey. Well, females that is. Males never eat and they die after mating. Males and females also look very different, with females growing far bigger. That’s probably because they get to eat!
Part of the rodent family, the Patagonian mara is only found in Argentina. It is noted for its long legs and almost resembles a jackrabbit in that regard. Adults can weigh up to 16 kilograms.
Well, the Gerenuk would pass for any other type of antelope, until you see its long neck. In fact, the name of this animal means “giraffe-necked” in the Somali language. These antelopes are found in near the horn of Africa.
Look at those eyes! So cute! The Sunda flying lemur is found throughout Southeast Asia and is only one of two flying lemur species in the world. Technically, it doesn’t fly; it glides while making huge jumps from tree to tree.
Although they start life near the surface of the ocean as eggs, Dragonfish lives at depths of up to 2 kilometers deep. These fish produce their own light that is used for hunting.
Frilled sharks are not often seen. Scientists have deemed them to be a living fossil. These incredible creatures live in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is thought that they eat their prey whole. Scary!
The Coffinfish has the ability to inflate itself when in danger, just like a puffer fish. They use protrusion on their body to lure their prey in and then they attack.
Electric shocks! Yes, and it hides from its enemies. The Stargazer is so called as it has eyes on the top of its head, as well as its mouth. This fish will embed itself in the sand waiting for its prey. Scary!
Probably the first thing you might notice about the tufted deer is those large incisors. Tufted deer receive their name from their tufts of hair on the top of their heads. Only the males have the canine-like teeth.
Also known as ghost sharks, these strange creatures are close relatives with sharks. They only live in deep water, over 2,000 meters and are not often seen. Chimaera grow up to 5 foot in length.
Sadly, the Saiga antelope is highly endangered. They are noted for their strange snouts. Many have died in their masses from various diseases over the past years.
Although it looks scary, a Shoebill, found in Africa, is fairly harmless. And the name? Well, it comes from that impressive bill, doesn’t it? Shoebills are sometimes called Whaleheads.
Amphipods are crustaceans found throughout the oceans of the world. In the deep, however, they can grow fairly big, with some reaching a foot in length. Let’s hope they stay down there!