The world is full of fascinating wildlife. From the lush jungles of Madagascar to the vast deserts of Australia, diverse and intriguing species are thriving, even in seemingly adverse conditions. Whilst some animals are blessed with good-looks and cooed over by people across the world, like the cuddly panda or the now famous Slow Loris (if you haven’t heard of them look them up!), others are not so lucky. This does not mean, however, that the world’s ugliest animals should not be appreciated for what they are; very ugly and equally amazing. Many people would step back aghast at the sight of these unsightly creatures, but we feel that the world’s ugliest animals should be celebrated for what they are. Read on to learn more about a selection of unfortunate-looking species from across the world that intrepid travellers may even get the chance to observe on their next exotic cruise getaway.
Blobfish – Australia/Tasmania
The blobfish is one of the world’s most unique-looking (to put it kindly) aquatic creatures in the world. Found in the deep waters off the coast of Australia and Tasmania, this flabby fish may be seen by guests embarking on Australia cruises, although they live at depths between 600 and 1200 metre below sea level where the pressure is much higher than on land and are therefore rarely seen by human eyes. The blobfish has no muscle or flesh in its body, and is instead made up of a gelatinous mass. Nevertheless, this lack of tissue is actually an advantage, as the creature’s density is less than water, so it can float easily just above the sea bed, feeding on just about anything that drifts in front of it. Worryingly, scientists believe the blobfish could become endangered due to an increase in deep-ocean trawling, so it is now more important than ever to protect this hideously intriguing aquatic creature.
Proboscis Monkey – Borneo
Far and Middle East cruises occasionally call at Borneo, Asia’s largest island, well-known for its ancient and verdant rainforest. Intrepid travellers who trek into this vast jungle may come across a mammal that truly deserves it place within the world’s ugliest animals, the proboscis monkey. This distinctive primate is endemic to Borneo and has an extraordinarily lengthy nose, for which is has gained much notoriety. The proboscis monkey is most likely to be found along the coastline or by the rivers of Borneo, feeding principally on fruit, leaves and flowers. Like many primates, they are believed to have a complex form of communication, often heard producing large honks that differ in various situations, showing their natural intelligence. This long-nosed monkey is currently viewed as endangered and can be found in a total of 16 protected areas across East Asia.
Red-lipped Batfish – Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands boast a particularly diverse ecology, with a number of dissimilar species living in harmony within a small area. The islands are brimming with wonderful creatures, including another of the world’s ugliest animals, the appropriately named red-lipped batfish. Curiously, despite being fish, these marine creatures cannot actually swim. Instead, they use their modified pectoral fins to walk along the seabed. Growing to a length of around 25 centimetres, this red-lipped fish survives on a diet of small fish, shrimps and molluscs, luring its prey with a spine attached to its head, known as an illicium, in the same way as the angler fish.
Aye-Aye – Madagascar
The aye-aye, found in the trees of Madagascar, is seen as cute by some but repulsive by many. This exceptional type of lemur is the largest nocturnal primate on the planet and has a unique method of finding food in the wild. It taps trees, listening for tasty grubs, before gnawing into the bark with its sharp slanted incisors to create a small hole and then uses its long, narrow middle finger to retrieve a meal. Their physical traits are almost as unusual as their name, for which there are several theories, including the argument that it was either named after the noise its makes or the noise made by people upon seeing it. Aye-ayes are known to be solitary animals, hopefully not due to self-consciousness over their unfortunate-looks, and are rarely seen grooming one another in the way that many other primates often do.
Kakapo – New Zealand
The only bird to make it onto our world’s ugliest animals list, the Kakapo, is a large flightless type of parrot, native to New Zealand. The Kakapo is unique as the only species of flightless parrot in the world, but is currently viewed as critically endangered, which is why steps are being taken to protect and conserve it. As a herbivore, this odd bird tends to forage for and feed on a combination of fruit, seeds and pollen, depending on the season. The Kakapo has several strange and interesting traits, including the particularly slow pace at which they live their lives, often freezing when threatened rather than running away. However, life in the slow lane does have its benefits. It is believed that Kakapos have an incrediblly long life span of up to 90 years; as no one has ever known one to die of old age.
(1) Claf Hong – flickr.com
(2) Bjorn Christian Torrissen – wikipedia.org
(3) Rein Ketelaars – wikimedia.org
(4) amareta kelly – flickr.com
(5) Mnolf – wikipedia.org