You’ve surely heard of common animal names like rats, dolphins, rabbits, apes, ducks, pigs and snakes. However, what follows are a list of animals with unusual names, along with some facts about them.
Learn about some of the lesser known and oddly named animals of the world.
Animal Names – Strange And Unusual
Axolotls are sometimes referred to as walking fish, but they are actually amphibians. Unlike most amphibians, axolotls reach their adult phase without undergoing a metamorphosis. The native range of the species is currently only in Lake Xochimilco in the Valley of Mexico. Water pollution and non-native fish have put pressure on the axolotl, and it is currently seeing efforts by conservationists to protect it. The axolotl is cited as critically endangered by the IUCN.
Babirusa are sometimes called deer-pigs and they are native to the Indonesian island of Buru, Sula, Tokina and Sulawesi. The male babirusa has large, upward curving tusks that actually pierce the flesh of the snout. Paintings of the creature dated to around 33,000 BCE have been found in the region.
The chinstrap penguin is sometimes called the bearded penguin or the ringed penguin, gettings its name from the ribbon of black feathers on its chin, making it look as if the bird is wearing a helmet. They are found mainly throughout the Antarctic Ocean and southern Pacific Ocean, breeding in places like the Falkland Islands, Chile, Argentina, and Antarctica.
The Fossa bears resemblance to a cat and is also believed to be related to the mongoose family. Classifying the animal is difficult because it shares traits with mongooses, cats and civets. They are small carnivorous animals found all throughout Madagascar. The fossa is actually the largest mammalian predator on the island. The fossa is listed as being vulnerable by the IUCN.
The frill-necked lizard, sometimes called the frilled dragon is a lizard found in southern New Guinea and Australia. The lizard has a massive frill around its neck that usually stays tucked in against the lizard’s body, but is spread out when the lizard is frightened. The frill is unfurled not just to scare off predators, but also to court mates and to discourage other males from competing over territory.
Gerenuks inhabit the Horn of Africa and East Africa. The animal’s neck has is long and thin, earning the moniker “giraffe gazelle”. Male Gerenuks have prominent horns on their head, and thanks to their long neck gerenuks can reach some 2 meters above the ground to get food, giving them an advantage over other gazelles and antelopes.
Horseshoe crabs are marine arthropods, and they have hardly changed their form in over 450 million years, making them living fossils. The entire body of the crab is covered by a hard carapace which gives them protection. Horseshoe blood contains amebocytes, cells similar to white blood cells which have pharmaceutical uses like detecting endotoxins. Harvesting of horseshoe crab blood is declining thanks to alternative compounds found by medical researchers.
Jackals are small carnivorous canids found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and India. Unlike many species of Canids that run in packs, many jackals will live alone or in small pairs. Jackals also prefer to hunt alone or in pairs, while monogamous pairs of jackals will claim territory and chase off any intruders.
The leafy seadragon is a species of fish known for having small protrusion all over its body. These protrusions serve as camouflage, making the creature blend in with underwater plants like seaweed. The leafy seadragon is found along the southern coast of Australia, from Victoria to Perth.
The markhor is a species of wild goat found throughout northeastern Afghanistan, India, the Himalayas, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. It is sometimes called the screw-horned goat in reference to the fact that its horns can grow in a corkscrew fashion. The name markhor translates roughly to “snake eater”, and it is interpreted to be a reference to the species perceived ability to kill snakes (though this ability is thought to be mainly folkloric).
Narwhals are a species of toothed whale, with a distinguishing long “horn” protruding from their face. This horn is actually a tusk, a canine tooth specifically. It grows in a helix spiral, and the tusk is used to sense the ocean around them as it is filled with millions of nerve endings. Narwhals can be found throughout the Arctic Ocean, off the coast of Greenland, in the Hudson Bay, and in eastern Russia.
Patagonian maras as sometimes called cavies, and they are a large species of rodent. They are found in Patagonia and in parts of Argentina. Maras display a rather unique combination of communal breeding and monogamy, tending to breed in warrens composed of several pairs but usually practicing monogamy.
Quolls are small carnivorous marsupials found throughout Tasmania, New Guinea, and Australia. Quolls often have spots on them, and as a result, they are sometimes called “spotted quolls”. Quolls are mainly nocturnal are subsist mainly on lizards, insects, small birds and smaller mammals. Quolls have become threatened by invading populations of cane toads, foxes, and feral cats as well as habitat destruction. They are now the subject of conservation efforts including captive breeding.
The raccoon dog is a type of canid found across East Asia, closely related to foxes. Despite their name, they are not related to raccoons. The species is capable of climbing trees, which few canid species can do. There are different subspecies of raccoon dogs, like the Chinese raccoon dog, the Korean raccoon dog, and the Japanese raccoon dog. The species has been introduced to parts of Eastern Europe, where it is considered an invasive species by many.
The star-nosed mole is found in lowland, wet areas of North America. It is known for its star-shaped snout that has over 25,000 sensory receptors. The sensory organs in the mole’s snout are very sensitive and can pick up a wide range of motion and features in the surrounding environment, capable of determining if an object is edible in 8 milliseconds. The mole is nearly blind. It is thought that the mole may be capable of detecting seismic waves.
The tasseled wobbegong is a kind of carpet shark that lies in wait at the bottom of shallow coral reefs, hoping to ambush prey. It is found off of Northern Australia and in parts of New Guinea. The shark’s skin has blotches and patterns that help it camouflage itself within the environment of the coral reef.
The Uakari is a genus of monkeys (Cacajao) found in the New World. They have very little subcutaneous fat on their faces, which gives their face a skull-like appearance. They can be found in the Amazon basin, throughout Peru, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. The red Uakari/bald uakari is known for its distinctive red face.
Yaks are a species of domestic bovine found in the Himalayas and the Indian subcontinent generally. Yaks have long hair and are often used to transport both people and goods. Yaks are used for their milk and fibre as well. Yak’s milk is often used to make a type of cheese native to the Nepal/Tibet regions. It is thought that yaks diverged from other cattle around 1 to 5 million years ago.
The wunderpus photogenicus is a species of octopus found throughout Sulawesi, Bali, and the Philippines. It is known for its pattern of stripes and spots, which give it a distinctive look.
We hope you liked this list of crazily cool animal names, leave a comment below with your favorite animal.