10 Rare Animals With Fascinating Adaptations You Have To See

By Antonia Čirjak on February 14 2020 in Environment

Some animals developed the strangest ways to deal with the challenges of their everyday life.
Some animals developed the strangest ways to deal with the challenges of their everyday life.
  • Fish-hook ants have giant, extremely sharp hooks that grow out of their backs, which can incapacitate any threat the ant might face.
  • Eve though the name sugests otherwise, flying lemurs do not actually fly but rather use the extra skin between their limbs to practically glide through the air.
  • The E.T. salamander's adaptation is quite fascinating indeed, as the amphybian does not have lungs but uses its skin to absorb the needed oxygen.

Living beings inhabiting planet Earth truly never stop to impress. When it comes to adaptation that comes through the lengthy processes of evolution, some animals developed the strangest ways to deal with the challenges of their everyday life. Here are some of the most fascinating animal adaptations you have yet to see!

Cyphonia Clavata

The Cyphonia Clavata. Credit: Klaus Schönitzer [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
The Cyphonia Clavata. Credit: Klaus Schönitzer [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

This inhabitant of the rainforests in Central America has tried hard to escape the predators in the most unusual way. This treehopper can develop a protrusion that looks like an ant. Growing on its back, this structure scares away the predators because the local tree ants that live there are very hard to catch. The Cyphonia Clavata looks so scary with those spikes sticking out of its back, it is seen as unappealing to the predators.

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher

Amazonian Royal Flycatcher.
Amazonian Royal Flycatcher.

It is not unusual for birds to display the feathers and ornamentations they have at their disposal. However, one bird living in the Amazon jungles of Southeast America impresses with the vibrancy of colors it shows during their mating season. The Onychorhynchus coronatus, known as the Amazonian Royal Flycatcher, has huge feathers on top of their heads.

The females usually have a bright yellow crown on top, while the males present themselves with vibrant orange-red feathers. Interestingly, these flycatchers show their glorious feather in one other situation - and that is when they are being handled by humans.

Fish-Hook Ants

 Fish Hook Ant - Polyrhachis armata
Fish Hook Ant - Polyrhachis armata

Polyrhachis bihamata are living in a very small area of the Virachey National Park in Cambodia. One thing very fascinating about the fish-hook ants is their defensive mechanism. On their back, they have developed huge hooks. Those fish-like hooks are so sharp that they can cut through any threat that tries to attack the ant. On top of that, the fish-hook ants also have the ability to hook onto each other if their colony is ever in danger. In that way, the ants form a powerful cluster that makes the escape of any small predator almost impossible. 

Diane’s Bare-Hearted Glass Frog

Diane’s Bare-Hearted Glass Frog. Credit: Brian Gratwicke [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Diane’s Bare-Hearted Glass Frog. Credit: Brian Gratwicke [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

First discovered in Costa Rica in 1973, this little amphibian will immediately catch your attention with its bright green color. They are easy to miss since they are only an inch long, but their small size is not what is impressive. The whole bottom part of this glass frog is completely translucent. That means that you can see all of the frog’s internal organs.

Sunda Flying Lemur

Sunda Flying Lemur
Sunda Flying Lemur

Another creature living in the rain forests of Southeast Asia is Galeopterus variegatus, known as the Sunda flying lemur. This animal developed an impressive way to move around its surroundings and catch food. The Sunda flying lemur has pieces of skin that are located between its limbs.

The flying lemurs do not fly, per se, they use the skin to glide through the air. It has been recorded that their glides can last for a 100 m (around 320 feet), without them dropping. Interestingly, the Sunda flying lemur is not actually a lemur, as it belongs to the colugo species. 

Gerenuk

Gerenuk.
Gerenuk.

Better known as the Waller’s gazelle, this antelope species is quite an interesting one. The gerenuks have extremely prolonged necks and skinny legs. While most antelopes get their food from the ground, chewing on different types of grass, the gerenuks are able to stand on their back feet. This enables them to reach leaves and shoots found in the African savannas.

The gerenuks stand tall on their back legs and eat of the acacia trees while they support themselves with the front legs. Unfortunately, this adaptation has left them vulnerable when running, as their fragile legs do not offer much speed when they find themselves in a position of prey. 

Tufted Deer

Tufted Deer.
Tufted Deer.

All deers are herbivorous, meaning they eat plants only, right? Wrong!

The tufted deer found in China attract the attention of scientists worldwide as they are known for feeding on dead animals, which is something that happens extremely rarely in the world of deers. They got their name because of the small piece of black fur (tuft) that grows on top of their heads.

However, this is not so bizarre. But what is odd are the vampire-like fangs sticking out of their mouths. Deers with huge fangs that feed on carcasses - welcome to your nightmare, indeed…

E.T. Salamander

E.T. Salamander. Credit: Josiah H. Townsend [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]
E.T. Salamander. Credit: Josiah H. Townsend [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)]

This species is relatively new, and still does not have an official name, but is known as the E.T. Salamander. There is a slight resemblance of this salamander with the cute little alien that we saw in Spielberg’s 1982 movie. Found in the river forests of Ecuador, this amphibian has developed a fantastic adaption. The E.T. salamander has no lungs, and it absorbs the oxygen through the skin.

Irrawaddy Dolphin

Irrawaddy Dolphin.
Irrawaddy Dolphin.

This type of dolphin can be found in parts of Southeast Asia, mostly in the famous Bay of Bengal, just outside India’s east coast. This orca whale relative has adapted to the surroundings by changing their behavior in a way that goes hand in hand with the local fisherman.

When the boats come to catch fish with their nets, the Irrawaddy dolphins push the fish toward the nets. Once the fish is captured, the dolphins get a chance to feed on the helpless fish before the nets are pulled out of the water. 

Pangolin

Pangolin.
Pangolin.

Occupying parts of Asia and Africa, this animal looks like something between an armadillo and an anteater. It has a very long tongue that helps the pangolin catch ants and termites. The most impressive feature of a pangolin is his shell, which is made from keratin, and it serves as a protection. The pangolin is the only known mammal that has this kind of adaptation. Unfortunately, it is very much in danger of being extinct, because of its meat and that very specific armor. 

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