7 Fascinating Animals You've Probably Never Heard Of

With almost 9 million animal species known to man, you can be forgiven for not knowing about most of them, including these 7 examples.
Christopher McFadden
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The animal kingdom is full of strange and wonderful creatures. With an estimated 8.7 million species of animal around the world, you cannot be expected to know about even 1% of them.

Thanks to the complex interplay of genetics, evolution and environmental pressures, many animals have developed very unique physical traits that make them stand out from the crowd. In the following article, we've hand-picked seven examples of animals you've probably never heard of

Trust us when we say there are a great many more out there


What is the strangest animal alive?

How you define 'strange' might vary from one person to another. As the old saying goes "one man's meat is another man's poison".

Yet, when it comes to nature, there are certainly some candidates for the strangest animals in the world. If you include long-extinct animals, you are bound to find something that you might consider the strangest animal to ever walk, swim or fly on planet Earth. 

We'll let you decide.

What is the least known animal?

There are many animals alive today that are widely unknown outside of experts in zoology. Whilst we have included some in the following article, trust us when we say this but scratches the surface. 

Some of the best know lesser-known animals include, but are not limited to: -

  • Fossa
  • Lowland Streaked Tenrec
  • Gharial
  • Numbat
  • Nyala

What are the rarest animals in the world?

According to the bestlifeonline.com, these are some of the rarest animals in the world.

  •  The Pangolin.
  • The Seneca White Deer.
  • The Elephant Shrew.
  • The Ti-Liger.
  • The Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat.
  • The Yangtze Finless Porpoise.
  • The Vaquita.
  • The Saola.

Needless to say, there are many more.

1. Jerboas can hop up to 24 kph!

animals youve never heard of jerboa
Source: Syt55/Wikimedia Commons

Jerboas, or jarbū in Arabic, are a member of the Dipodidae family of rodents. These long-eared, furry little critters are hopping desert-dwelling mammals that are commonly found throughout Arabia, Northern Africa, and Asia. 

Apart from their comically oversized ears, their main characterizing feature is their kangaroo-like legs. They use these to escape predation and can even reach a top speed of 24 kph!

Most species of Jerboa have excellent hearing that they use to avoid becoming the prey of nocturnal predators. The typical lifespan of a jerboa is around six years

2. Geoducks might be your new favorite animal

animals youve never heard of geoduck
Source: The Evergreen State College/Wikimedia Commons

No this is not some new kind of hybrid between a Geodude and a Psyduck, sorry Pokemon fans, its actually a real animal. Geoducks, or more specifically the Pacific Geoduck, is a species of large, edible saltwater clam.

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This enormous mollusk is native to the coastal waters of Western Canada and the NW United States. They tend to range in size from 15 to 20 cm in length but their comically long siphons can extend their total length to around 1 meter.

This makes the Geoduck the largest of all extant burrowing clam yet discovered by mankind. Apart from their rather suggestive morphology, Geoducks also have one of the longest lifespans in the animal kingdom. 

They tend to live 140 years on average with some examples being estimated at 168 years old

3. Ostracods have the longest sperm and oldest record penis of all time

animals youve never heard of ostracod
Source: Anna33/Wikimedia Commons

Ostracods are a type of crustacean sometimes referred to as seed shrimp. There are somewhere in the region of 70,000 species known to science with all but 13,000 of those now extinct.

They are pretty small and tend to range in size from 1mm to 30 mm in length. their bodies are flattened from side to side and protected by a bivalve-like, chitinous or calcareous valve or "shell". 

Ostracods, to any Geology student, are famed for having the largest sperm of all animals relative to their body size. Recent finds in Queensland, Australia, also show that Ostracods also hold the record for the oldest evidence of a penis of all time.

That is quite an accolade - now you'll never forget about this diminutive record breaker!

4. Tufted Deer are very strange creatures

animals youve never heard of tufted deer
Source: Heush/Wikimedia Commons

The Tufted Deer might be the cutest yet most horrifying animal you've ever seen. From a distance, they appear to be completely harmless but as get closer, you'll soon notice their characteristic extended fang-like 'canines'!

A close relative of the muntjac, these creatures tend to be found in Myanmar in central China. Having suffered severe overhunting and habitat loss of late, this species has been classified as near-threatened.

They tend to be solitary but are also commonly found in breeding pairs for most of the year. As of 1998, they had an estimated total population of between 300 and 500 thousand

5. Peacock Spiders are aptly named

animals youve ever head of peacock spider
Source: Jurgen Otto/Wikimedia Commons

Peacock spiders, also known as Maratus, are a member of the jumping spider genus Salticidae. Their most prominent feature is their vibrantly colored abdomen common to males.

As you might expect, this feature is commonly used to attract mates. This genus of spider tends to be found in Australia with some examples found in China.

To date, there are around 80 species known to science.

6. Axolotls can keep regrowing limbs throughout their lives

animals you've never heard of axolotl
Source: th1098/Wikimedia Commons

Axolotl, or the Mexican walking fish, is a type of salamander known as neotenic. This term, also known as juvenilization, is used to describe the fact that the Axolotl spends most of its adult life in a delayed development state between infant and adult. 

The species was originally found in several lakes, such as Lake Xochimilco underlying Mexico City and are one of the most interesting animals alive today. Unlike other salamanders, Axolotls tend to remain aquatic and retain gills rather than develop lungs like their land-dwelling cousins. 

This species is of great interest to science because they are able to readily regenerate limbs throughout their lives. They are also a staple of the Mexican diet and can commonly be found for sale as food in Mexican markets.

7. The Goblin Shark has a long lineage

animals youve never heard of goblin shark
Source: Hussakof L./Wikimedia Commons

The Goblin shark is a very rare species of deep-sea dwelling shark. It is often termed a "living fossil" and is the only living example of the Mitsukurinidae family.

The Goblin Shark is the last and only member of a family that can trace its origins to around 125 million years agoThis pink-skinned animal has a distinctive profile with an elongated, flattened snout, and highly protrusible jaws containing prominent nail-like teeth.