Nature’s Ugliest Animals
We all know that pandas, tigers, whales and other cute and recognisable endangered species are in trouble – they’re barely ever out of the news. In fact, they’ve even got their own name in eco-warrior circles. They’re known as “Charismatic Mega-Fauna”.
But what about the little guys? The weirder, creepier cousins of ours who don’t get the same sort of coverage or attention, just because they look like frightful abominations of nature?
Just as endangered, but nowhere near as easy on the eye, here are some of our favourite ‘Uncharismatic Minor-Fauna’.
The Mary River Turtle
Also known as the Pet Shop Turtle (not for any musical ambitions but because so many had been abandoned by former owners), they live in Queensland, Australia, and are Australia’s second most endangered turtle. They are also capable of absorbing oxygen through their cloaca while underwater (i.e. it can breath through its arse).
The Helmeted Hornbill
This fruit eating beast is on the endangered list, it’s over a metre in length and lives in Malay and Sumatra. Listen out for their distinctive/lunatic bird call on any of these clips, (listen to the end for the manic laughing sound)
The Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard
An all female-species, the Desert Grassland Whiptail Lizard is a lesbian breed of reptile that indulges in a strange form of psuedocopulation – a mating ritual which imitates good old fashioned bonking, but actually serves no recreative purpose.
When placed in a cage together as a couple, the lizards’ ovulation cycles synchronise so that they take it turns to be the ‘male’ – the one who mounts the other. And this is what it looks like…
The Coconut Crab
Also known as the robber crab (because of its propensity to steal various kitchen utensils from human homes), the coconut crab gets its name from its ability to crack open coconuts with its powerful pincers.
How something this terrifying (and heavily armoured) could become endangered is beyond us, but this massive critter is apparently struggling to survive.
You may not wish to believe it, but the aye-aye – terrifying though it looks – is actually related to humans.
Only found in Madagascar (and the nightmares of children), the aye-aye has a notably long middle finger, used to scoop larvae out of trees and flesh out of coconuts.