There are still many unknown animal species, and some of those discovered are very rare.
Despite all the efforts that scientists and biologists have made to learn about the different animal species that exist on earth, some species remain little known.
Some of these species only know how to hide well, while others simply live in places out of our reach.
Here are 10 of the world’s rarest animals: which ones do you know?
Ambystoma mexicanum, commonly known as the axolotl, is a neotenic salamander (completes its entire life cycle as a larva) that lives in Lake Xochimilco, near Mexico City.
Most amphibians begin life in tadpole mode, but after a process of metamorphosis they develop lungs and adapt to life on land.
The axolotl for its part remains an aquatic animal similar to the tadpole!
So it does not really undergo the same metamorphosis as other amphibians.
The Anxelotl has several special features:
- It has the ability to change colour slightly to blend in with its environment;
- if the Anxelotl larvae ingest sufficient quantities of iodine, they begin to transform into larger terrestrial adults;
- has the ability to regenerate without scarring different parts of its body, such as limbs, lungs, spinal cord and even parts of the brain.
- Being present in only a few specimens this places it among the rare animals.
Chlamyphorus truncatus or Pichiciego is an armadillo that is only 15 cm long and lives only on the sandy plains and wooded meadows of central Argentina.
The pink armadillo stands out from the crowd because of its small size; it is the smallest armadillo in the world.
Unlike most armadillos, this one has a partial armour.
The pink armour only covers the upper part of its body, revealing its off-white fur on the lower part of its body.
They are solitary, nocturnal creatures; moreover, they are so discreet that they were only discovered a few decades ago.
These armadillos are also extremely rare animals.
The Daubentonia madagascariensis or aye-aye, is a nocturnal lemur from Madagascar, where it colonises the rainforest above 700 m altitude.
It has bat ears, a fox face, cat eyes, a monkey body, witch hands and a squirrel tail and teeth.
The Aye-Aye has characteristics common to primates and rodents, which confused early European zoologists who mistook it for a giant squirrel.
Its main sensory organ is the middle finger of the hands, thin and three times as long as the other fingers, useful for finding the insect larvae which nest under the bark of the trees.
This strange animal is not afraid of man: if it encounters him, it does not hesitate to approach him to study him.
Its scientific name is Pisthoteuthis Californiana, and it lives in the ocean depths of 3 to 4,000 metres, but a few have also been spotted at 7,000 metres in the Indian Ocean.
These strange octopuses are called ‘Dumbo octopuses’ because of their resemblance to Dumbo, the Disney elephant.
The common name for the famous Disney character Dumbo comes from the presence of two lateral ‘wings’ that allow the animal to move through the water.
As an abyssal animal, there is not much information on these octopuses, but it is estimated that they can be between 20 and 30 centimetres in size.
Its body colour is white or extremely pale. This is because light does not penetrate the water in the deep sea, which means that the pigmentation of the skin does not develop.
Fact: Two characters in the famous film Finding Nemo (Pearl, with her father) are actually Californian Opisthoteuthis.
If you’re interested in learning more about jellyfish, read this article.
Known as the blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, lives at a depth of 730 metres in the Pacific Ocean. With an unattractive appearance that has earned it the title of “ugliest animal in the world”, it has rarely been studied or photographed due to the inaccessibility of its habitat.
The Psychrolutes marcidus is a maximum size of 30 cm and has a large head and eyes.
The flaccid body of the blobfish consists for the most part of a gelatinous mass, with a density slightly lower than that of water. Thanks to this it can float above the bottom without wasting energy swimming.
The blobfish never ventures deeper than 200-300 metres, so its body is made to withstand considerable pressure.
Without structural supports to hold it together, when removed from its natural habitat the fish undergoes decompression and expands into a shapeless mass.
Its ‘normal’ appearance should look like the picture below:
The dugong is a marine mammal of the order Sirenia related to the manatee.
It is a very rare animal, being the only one of its family (the Dugongidae).
This mammal is large, whitish-grey in colour and can exceed 3 metres in length, weighing between 400 and 500 kg.
The dugong is a marine herbivorous mammal, one of the few in existence; its diet is based exclusively on marine plants.
This animal has been hunted for thousands of years for its oil and meat. Currently, the dugong is still endangered and is therefore considered a rare animal.
In South-East Asia, several legends have been created about dugongs:
- some cultures believe it to be the bearer of bad luck, while others consider its presence to be a good omen;
- other beliefs considered dugong tears to be a magical love potion,
- in the Philippine Islands its bones were used to make amulets against bad luck.
The oldest remains of a dugong, dating back 6000 years, are found in Japan, in the Ryu Kyu archipelago: the bones of this primitive animal have revealed to us that it has been left practically unchanged by evolution up to the present day.
Fact: the dugong appears in a chapter of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea set in the Red Sea and also in chapter XVI of The Mysterious Island.
The hairless mole (Heterocephalus glaber Ruppel) is a rodent of the family Bathyergidae, the only representative of the genus Heterocephalus.
It is about 12-13 cm long, including the tail, and has thin, short legs.
The ear pinnae are atrophied and the ears are tiny.
The glabrous heterocephalus has few hairs (hence the name glaber, glabrous) and a wrinkled, pinkish-brown skin.
This animal is a special case among mammals, as it is cold-blooded; it cannot regulate its body temperature and requires an environment with a constant specific temperature.
The tunnels in which it lives are about fifty centimetres deep and the temperature remains constant throughout the year at around 30 degrees Celsius.
The skin of the glabrous heterocephalus lacks receptors for ‘Substance P’, a neurotransmitter responsible for modulating pain sensations in the central nervous system. Consequently, when these animals are injured, scratched or burnt, they do not feel pain.
It has been observed that their cellular tissues are more stable and less prone to tumours and oxidative stress.
Its scientific name is Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum: it is an amphibian belonging to the Centrolenidae family.
Its special feature is its transparent skin.
This transparency, so transparent that it looks like glass, is not due to a lack of thickening of the skin, but rather to the lack of pigment in the skin, which allows a glimpse of the frog’s inner apparatus.
The frog’s layer of colourless skin covers the entire frog, especially in the belly area, so that the heart, blood vessels and other internal organs are clearly visible.
This unique feature allows this frog to hide from predators, so if you can spot one, congratulations!
Another interesting fact about them: these tiny creatures have golden eyes and fingers.
The Moloch horridus, or Spiny Devil, is a small reptile of the family Agamidae present in most of the deserts of the Australian continent. It is the only known species of the genus Moloch.
The body is about 20 cm long, weighs from 35 to 100 grams, is completely covered with spines and has a colour ranging from yellow to brown to black.
Despite its appearance, it is harmless and non-aggressive.
The moloch is particularly well adapted to the aridity of the desert. Its skin is furrowed with tiny channels that catch dewdrops and carry them to its mouth.
It can swallow 2,500 insects a day thanks to its flexible, sticky tongue. It hunts while standing still.
The poodle moth is an extremely rare type of butterfly that was photographed and discovered by Dr. Arthur Anker of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2009.
Because its discovery was so recent, little is known about it.
The name is derived from its physical appearance: a white moth that looks very similar to a poodle, which is why it was given the name “poodle moth”.
Measurements from Dr. Anker’s photographs show these lepidopterans to be 2.5 cm long.)
To date, the only known specimens of the poodle moth are said to live in Venezuela, in the Canaima National Park.
However, the scarcity of actual information has led many people to believe that this discovery is fake news.
Subsequent expeditions to the region have not been able to spot the moth again, so it is not known whether it should be listed as a rare animal or whether it is a made-up animal.