Biology

Nature's Oddities: The strangest creatures on earth

From double-eared cats to orange and blue lobsters to -- really! -- pink hippos, the wide range of variation in nature is astounding. Here's the oddest Mother Nature has.

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High atop Mount Kaputar in New South Wales, Australia, lives this giant, hot-pink slug. "It's just one of those magical places, especially when you are up there on a cool, misty morning,'' said Michael Murphy, a national parks ranger for 20 years, who took this photo of the odd critter. Read more 

NPWS / Michael Murphy

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The sea slug Chromodoris reticulata sports a disposable penis that lies coiled up inside its body, ready to shed after each copulation. Read more

Steve Childs

Pink Hippo

Brothers Will and Matt Burrand-Lucas snapped this pink hippo while visiting the Masai Mar in Kenya to hunt the wildebeest migration.

While having a picnic breakfast on the banks of the Mara River, the rare beast emerged on the far bank of the river. According to a spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund, the hippo is leucitic and not albino, meaning it lacks pigment, but not necessarily melanin. 

The Lucas brothers said unusual creatures frequently become outcasts, rejected by their conventionally colored peers. "In this case however, we were relieved to note that the other hippos seemed to be treating the pink hippo just like any other."

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An elusive striped rabbit that has rarely been photographed has been caught on film deep in the forests of Sumatra, thanks to camera traps set up in an isolated mountain region of the Indonesian island. The Sumatra striped rabbit is not only extremely rare, it is also extremely shy, emerging from hiding only under the cover of darkness.  Read more

Jennifer McCarthy

Albino Alligator

White alligators are one of the rarest of the fearsome reptile from the Southeastern United States. The unusual coloration is a characteristic of a condition called leucism, the same absence of pigmentation that turned the Lucas brothers' hippo pink. This one was discovered in 1987 by the Louisiana Land and Exploration Company. 

Two Faced Cat walks down street

Frank and Louie the cat was born with two faces, two mouths, two noses, three eyes — and lots of doubts about his future. Read more

AP Photo/Steven Senne

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New video captured by an underwater camera near a deep-sea drilling rig off the coast of the United Kingdom depicts a giant, scaly blob dancing and pulsing under the waters. But that deepwater enigma is no mystery: It’s actually a Deepstaria enigmatica, oceanographers said. Read more

YouTube

Cyclops Kitten

Cy, short for Cyclops, was a kitten born with only one eye and no nose. The kitten, a ragdoll breed (cats characterized by blue eyes and darker faces and tails) that died after living for one day, was one of two in the litter. Its sibling was born normal and healthy.

Cy inspired international debate, with many suggesting the unusual creature was a hoax. Cy eventually ended up at a museum of oddities in New York City.

AP

Mike the Headless Chicken

Mike was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been mostly cut off as farmer Lloyd Olsen was slaughtering him for dinner. Olsen missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.

When Olsen realized that the bird had survived, he decided to care for him permanently -- feeding him a mixture of milk and water via an eyedropper. Also though initially to be a hoax, the bird was taken to the University of Utah to establish its authenticity.

 

Two Heads Better Than One

This unusual golden coin turtle, found in China, was bought by a businessman at an animal market in Qingdao. According to press reports, the turtle seems to be doing fine -- with its two heads cooperating and even able to eat at the same time.

The creature was most likely a conjoined twin (or a Siamese twin), a condition in which the bodies of siblings are joined before birth. 

AP

Neon Lobsters

About one in 5 million lobsters are blue -- caused by a genetic defect that results in excess protein production. Yellow lobsters are even more rare, appearing only once in every 30 million lobsters. Yet startlingly, both were caught in the waters of New England in the past few years. In July, Denny Ingram hauled in this yellow lobster off Rhode Island. And a blue one was found in Connecticut earlier this year.

AP Photo/The Providence Journal, Ruben W. Perez

Bright Orange Crocodile

Snappy, an 8-foot-2-inch crocodile, is sporting haute-couture orange skin -- the result of attacking the water filter of his enclosure at Roaming Reptiles animal park in Australia. Read more

Herald Sun

Pink Dolphin

This photograph of a pink albino bottlenose was snapped in 2007 in Calcasieu Lake, Louisiana by charter boat captain Erik Rue.

“It was absolutely, stunningly pink,” Rue told ESPN. “I had never seen anything like it. It’s the same color throughout the whole body. It looks like it just came out of a paint booth.”

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, told the Telegraph: "I have never seen a dolphin colored in this way in all my career."

Captain Erik Rue

GLow in the dark cat science

Cats that can glow in the dark from a new genetic engineering technique are helping scientists study molecules that could stop AIDS. Read more

Mayo Clinic

"Jedi Cat"

Luntik the cat lives in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok and caused a stir because of his four ears. He has been dubbed "Jedi Cat" by the British press. While his two main ears are perfectly normal, the small pair of vestigial ears contain no ear canals.

Four-eared cats have been reported as far back as the 1950s. More recently, Yoda the cat made similar headlines in Chicago.

Reuters

The Smallest Albino Monkey Twins in the World

Pygmy Marmosets are the world's smallest species of monkey. What makes these two guys even more unique (aside from the fact that they're twins) is that they're albinos, giving them an exceedingly rare white outer coat. Adorable, no?

Frösö Zoo

The Unicorn Deer

This Roe Deer -- labelled a unicorn because of the single horn in the center of its head -- was born in captivity in a research center's park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence.

"This is a fantasy becoming reality," Gilberto Tozzi director of the Center of Natural Science in Prato, told the Associated Press. "The unicorn has always been a mythological animal."

Such deer anomalies may have been the inspiration for the myth of the unicorn.

AP

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Nature's Oddities: The strangest creatures on earth

From double-eared cats to orange and blue lobsters to -- really! -- pink hippos, the wide range of variation in nature is astounding. Here's the oddest Mother Nature has.

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