Lists and Curiosities

9 Animals You Probably Didn’t Know Exist

Earth is a planet with a plethora of animals and species. Check out this list with some of the most curious animals we have worldwide.

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When you think you’ve seen it all, remember: out of 1,367,555 identified non-insect animal species that live on Earth today. Some with a very bizarre appearance, others very cute. Not to mention that in the depths of the oceans there is also a multitude of creatures that we can’t even imagine.

When we see these animals we may think: if we don’t even know the immensity of animals and plants that exist in the world today, imagine the great diversity of plants and animals that existed millions of years ago on earth and have already gone extinct.

So let’s take a look at some of these animals that we can still find, who knows, maybe on a safari, on a dive, or on a trail through some forest.

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TUFTED DEER

A small deer is characterized by its distinctive tuft of black hair on their forehead.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Elaphodus
Species: Elaphodus Cephalophus
Life span: 7-12 yrs
Top speed: 70 km/h
Weight: 17-50 kg
Height: 50-70 cm
Length: 110-160 cm

PATAGONIAN MARA

Known as Patagonian cavy or hare, is a large rodent with a rather strange appearance. This animal looks like a small deer with long ears, similar to these of a hare.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Caviidae
Genus: dolichotis
Species: Dolichotis Patagonum
Life span: 7-10 yrs
Top speed: 45 km/h
Weight: 8-16 kg
Length: 69-75 cm

SAIGA ANTELOPE

This is a critically endangered antelope that once inhabited a vast area of the Eurasian steppe. This unusual antelope has a distinctive pair of closely spaced, bloated nostrils directed downward.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: antilopinae
Tribe: sailing
Genus: saiga
Species: saiga tatarica
Population size: 164-165 thou
Life span: 10-12 yrs
Weight: 26-69 kg
Height: 61-81 cm
Length: 100-140 cm

DUGONG

The dugong is an aquatic mammal with thick, tough, and smooth skin. The skin color of newborn dugongs is pale cream, darkening as they age, becoming deep slate gray on the sides and dorsum.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Sirenia
Family: dugongidae
Genus: dugong
Species: Dugong dugon
Population size: 85,000
Life span: 70 yrs
Top speed: 22 km/h
Weight: 150-400 kg
Length: 2.7-3 m

NARWHAL

Known as the “unicorn of the ocean,” is among the world’s rarest whales. They are very mysterious and elusive by nature, and their big horn-like tusk gives them a very distinctive appearance.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Infraorder: cetacea
Family: monodontidae
Genus: Monodon
Species: Monodon monoceros
Population size: 80,000
Life span: 50 yrs
Weight: 800-1,600 kg

OKAPI

Okapia johnstoni, its taxonomic name, honors its native Central African name, as well as the man who ‘discovered’ it. It is a forest-dwelling relative of the giraffe.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Giraffidae
Genus: Okapia
Species: Okapia johnstoni
Population size: 30-50 thou
Life span: 20-33 yrs
Top speed: 60 km/h
Weight: 200-350 kg
Height: 1.5 m
Length: 2.5 m

NAKED MOLE-RAT

Naked mole rats are burrowing rodents native to parts of East Africa. They are one of the only known eusocial mammals and have a highly unusual set of physical traits that allow them to thrive in a harsh underground environment.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: heterocephalidae
Genus: Heterocephalus
Species: Heterocephalus glaber
Population size: unknown
Life span: 32 yrs
Weight: 30-35 g
Length: 8-10 cm

KOMODO DRAGON

The Komodo dragon is the largest and heaviest lizard in the world. These lizards have a venomous bite and their group behavior in hunting is exceptional in the reptile world. Komodo dragons have a tail as long as their body and a long, yellow, deeply forked tongue.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Varanidae
Genus: Varanus
Species: varanus komodoensis
Population size: 3,014
Life span: 30 yrs
Top speed: 20 km/h
Weight: 68-91 kg
Length: 2.5 m

STAR-NOSED MOLE

The Star-nosed mole is a very distinctive mammal, with black fur, and wide forefeet tipped with talons that are designed for digging. The palms of their pinkish and black feet face outwards.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: eulipotyphla
Family: Talpidae
Subfamily: scaloppine
Tribe: condylurini
Genus: condylura
Species: condylura cristata
Population size: unknown
Life span: 2-4 yrs
Top speed: 8 km/h
Weight: 35-75 g
Length: 15-20 cm

Keep an eye out, on your next nature walk you may come across some of these animals.

About the author  /  Marcelo Lopes

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