Pangolin Searching For Ants

Mother Nature loves Surprises – 6 Unique Creatures

Shivam KumarLast Seen: Apr 16, 2024 @ 4:59pm 16AprUTC
Shivam Kumar

26th March 2024 | 4 Views
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Mother Nature loves to surprise! Get ready to meet 6 of Earth’s weirdest and most wonderful creatures. From ones that regenerate limbs to survivors of outer space, this list will show you just how unique life on our planet can be!

1. Platypus

Platypuses are found in eastern Australia and Tasmania, dwelling in freshwater systems like rivers, streams, and lakes. These egg-laying mammals are carnivores. 

They use their electrolocation abilities to find prey in murky water. Their diet primarily consists of aquatic invertebrates like insect larvae, freshwater shrimp, and crayfish, which they dig out of the riverbed or catch while swimming [PBS]. They store food in cheek pouches before munching on it later. 

Interestingly, platypuses are energetic eaters, consuming roughly 20% of their body weight daily! This requires them to spend a significant amount of time foraging, typically around 12 hours a day [ source – Wikipedia].

In the wild, the average lifespan of a platypus is around 4-8 years. However, in captivity, they can live up to 12 years []. 

2. Axolotl

Axolotls are native to Xochimilco, a complex of freshwater canals and channels near Mexico City. 

In the wild, they primarily consume small prey like worms, mollusks (snails, clams), insect larvae, crustaceans, and even small fish. They use a combination of smell and sight to locate food, sucking it up with a powerful vacuum-like force [Wikipedia].

Unfortunately, axolotls in the wild face a harsh environment and have a shorter lifespan of around 5-6 years [Britannica]. 

3. Tardigrade

Tardigrades are truly cosmopolitan, meaning they can be found almost anywhere on Earth!  They thrive in moist environments, inhabiting places like damp moss and lichen on trees and rocks, freshwater and marine sediments, and even polar ice  [National Geographic].

Despite their tiny size (usually less than 1 mm long), they are incredibly abundant, with some estimates suggesting millions can be found in a single gram of moss [Scientific American].

Tardigrades are omnivores. They use a straw-like mouthpart called a stylet to pierce the cells of plants, animals, and even other tardigrades to suck out fluids [Microbe Notes].  

Tardigrades possess an amazing ability called cryptobiosis. When faced with harsh environmental conditions like extreme temperatures, desiccation (drying out), radiation, or lack of oxygen, they can enter a state of suspended animation [Wikipedia]. 

In this dehydrated state, their metabolism slows down to almost undetectable levels, and they can essentially remain in a state of suspended life for years, even decades!  Once favorable conditions return, they can rehydrate and resume normal activity as if nothing happened. This remarkable ability is what has made tardigrades famous for their near-indestructibility.

The lifespan of tardigrades ranges from three to four months for some species, up to two years for other species, not counting their time in dormant states (Wikipedia).

4. Goblin Shark

Goblin sharks are true denizens of the deep, found throughout the world’s temperate and tropical oceans at depths ranging from 200 to 1,300 meters (650 to 4,200 feet) [Wikipedia]. They prefer the continental slopes and seamounts in these regions.

Their diet mainly consists of  teleost fish (bony fish) like rattails, dragonfish, and anglerfish. They also consume cephalopods (squid, octopus, cuttlefish) and crustaceans (crabs, lobsters) They’ve even been found with garbage in their stomachs, highlighting the potential impact of pollution on these deep-sea creatures [Oceana].

Researchers estimate that goblin sharks can live up to 60 years.  

5. Narwhal

Narwhals are found in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, Norway, Russia, and Alaska [NOAA Fisheries]. 

Narwhals are carnivores that primarily feed on prey found near the seafloor, particularly deep-sea fish  like cod, halibut, Greenland shark, and squid. They use their echolocation abilities to locate prey in the dark, murky depths. They may also target crustaceans like shrimp or crabs on occasion [WWF]. Their long tusk may play a role in stunning prey, but scientists are still researching its exact function.

Narwhals are long-lived animals, with an estimated lifespan of 50 to 100 years  in the wild [Arctic Wildlife Network].

6. Pangolin

The pangolin is a unique mammal covered in tough, overlapping scales. There are eight different pangolin species found across Africa and Asia. They inhabit a variety of ecosystems, including  savannas, rainforests, and dry forests [Save the Pangolin].

Their primary targets are ants and termites. They have no teeth and instead rely on grinding plates in their stomachs to break down the insects they consume [National Geographic]. 

Estimates suggest it may be around 10-20 years in the wild [African Wildlife Foundation].

Earth’s full of surprises! These 6 oddballs show just how weird and wonderful our planet’s creatures can be. So next time you’re at the beach, remember there might be a goblin shark lurking in the deep, or a platypus with electric superpowers in the river!  Keep exploring!

#animals #uniquecreatures #Pangolin #Narwhal #Goblin Shark

Shivam KumarLast Seen: Apr 16, 2024 @ 4:59pm 16AprUTC

Shivam Kumar



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