Nature’s horror show: 34 of the world’s ugliest creatures

From the terrifying coconut crab to the shocking giant isopod to the merely ugly (like Miss Ellie), nature's creatures aren't all beauties. Here are 33 animals you'll wish you hadn't seen.



    This ugly soft-shelled turtles are anything but soft. The animals are aggressive creatures and will often get into fights with fellow turtles.


    While we're sure their mothers think they're cute, we sure don't. Baby aardvark's are definitely not cuddly by our standards with their wrinkly skin and naked appearance.
    Busch Garden Zoo


    What is that? According to a researcher at a Canadian university, it is a rarely seen fish from the arctic. The long-nosed chimaera displays characteristics from relative breeds of Sharks and Stingrays with a tail like a whip and a long, pointed nose and can grow to over three feet in length.
    Facebook/Jutai Korgak


    These 5 feet long, 80 pound Japanese giant salamanders can bite off chunks of your finger in a split second. The rare amphibians have a conservation status of "near threatened" due to hunting of the slimy animals, National Geographic reported.
    National Geographic/Joel Sartore


    The sad-looking blobfish was recently named the world's ugliest animal. It floats along the ocean floor along the coast of Australia and Tasmania, surviving by eating whatever drifts in front of it. Trawling off the Australian coast threatens the blobfish into extinction, perhaps justifying its gloomy expression. 


    Yes, these things are edible. Sea cucumbers, found in Asian cuisine are marked by their leathery skin and elongated bodies that can stretch to squeeze into the smallest of spaces.
    Sasha Bogursky


    Litoria platycephala or water-holding frogs can be found in most Australian states. These frogs may look innocent at first glance, but after they bury themselves into the sand they form a mucus cocoon from their own external skin. During especially dry weather periods, they resort to eating their flesh in order to save energy and obtain additional nutrition.with its external skin during periods of hot, dry weather.


    A new bat species, Rhinolophus mossambicus.
    PLoS ONE


    A portrait of Rhinolophus smithersi, a newly discovered cryptic bat species.
    PLoS ONE


    A doting caecilian mother coils around her eggs, which will hatch out mini-adults within two to three months. Read more
    SD Biju,

    Coconut Crab

    The coconut crab is the largest land-living arthropod in the world. Its name comes from its ability to break coconuts with its powerful pincers. Also known as the robber crab or palm thief, the coconut crab is sometimes used to protect coconut groves or sold as a pet in some areas of the world ... but owners had better watch out for those pincers.

    Oyster Toadfish

    The oyster toadfish’s ugly appearance allows it to blend into the ocean floor, where it motionlessly sits waiting to catch its prey by surprise. The fish is an omnivore that will eat many smaller animals; it can be found scaring other fish anywhere from the coasts of Maine to the Caribbean.
    Time Life Pictures

    Chinese Crested Hairless Dog

    Meet the bug-eyed Chinese crested hairless dog, whose pimples and lolling tongue have led to several wins in various world's ugliest dog contests. 
    AP Photo/Noah Berger


    Giant isopods are important scavengers in the deep-sea -- and disturbing to see! They are found from the gloomy zones at a depth of 550 feet to the pitch darkness at 7,000 feet and beyond, where pressures are high and temperatures are very low -- down to about 39 degrees. They are thought to prefer a muddy surface and lead solitary lives. Read more

    Side View of Giant Isopod

    It's creepy enough to merit a second view, isn't it? In March, a submarine exploring the ocean's depths returned with this giant isopod clinging to its railing, leaving many crew members wondering just what they'd brought back from the depths.


    Not nearly as cute as Pumba in "The Lion King," the warthog gets its name from the four wart-like protrusions erupting from its elongated head. Although warthogs generally prefer flight to fight, their tusks give warthogs a natural weapon -- making them well equipped to stand their ground if threatened.

    Forensic Entomologist

    The thought of bed bugs is enough to make anyone shiver. Actually getting a look at one -- as this digitally colorized microscope photograph allows us to do -- will really put the fear of the creepy insects in you. Cimex lectularius are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals ... like you and me. 
    CDC/ Janice Haney Carr

    Sphynx Cat

    The Sphynx cat is a rare breed known for its apparent lack of fur. Although it lacks a full coat, the Sphynx is covered with a peach-like fuzz. Contrary to its alarming appearance, the Sphynx cat’s lack of a fur coat makes it a surprisingly cuddly companion, owners claim.  


    The black dragonfish’s long fangs give it a fearsome appearance -- though in reality it measures just 6 inches in length. The dragonfish is bioluminescent, emitting a red or bluish-green light. That nearly infrared light can be used to attract prey in its deep-sea habitat or possibly attract a mate.  
    Dr. Julian Finn, Museum Victoria

    Star-Nosed Mole

    The star-nosed mole obviously gets its name from its very distinctive snout. The 22 pink appendages are touch organs used by the mole to identify its prey. Since the star-nosed mole is functionally blind, its nasal tentacles are ultra-sensitive, allowing the hamster-sized beast to identify and consume its prey in a matter of milliseconds. The mole mainly inhabits eastern Canada and the northeastern U.S.

    Baird Tapir

    Baird’s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) is a species of tapir that is native to Central America and northern South America. It is one of three Latin American species of tapir.
    Eric Kilby


    Monkfish refers to a number of fish in the northwest Atlantic, most notably the species of the anglerfish and the anglershark. The term is also occasionally used for a European sea monster more often called a sea monk.
    Alexander Mayrhofer

    Elephant Seal

    Elephant seals take their name from the large proboscis of the adult males (bulls) which resembles an elephant's trunk.The bull's proboscis produces extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating season. More important, the nose acts as a sort of rebreather, filled with cavities designed to reabsorb moisture from the animals' exhalations.

    California Condor

    The California Condor is a large, black vulture with a shocking apperance: The color of the skin on its bald head ranges from bright red to yellowish. It has the largest wingspan of any North American bird -- and is one of the heaviest, weighing up to 29lbs. 
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

    Sea Pig

    The sea pig, a deep-sea animal more commonly known as a sea cucumber, gets its name from its pink, pig-like body complete with enlarged tube feet that look like legs. The sea pig extracts its food from deep-sea mud and often lives in large colonies, numbering between 300 and 600.    

    Naked Mole Rat

    The naked mole rat, inhabiting parts of eastern Africa, gets its name from its pink, hairless skin. The rat’s lungs are very small making it highly adept to underground life. Fun fact: Its skin lacks pain receptors. The naked mole rat is the longest living rodent as well, capable of living up to 28 years.


    The dugong is a large marine chunk of flesh, which together with the manatees, is one of four living species of the order Sirenia. Like the others, the dugong has an odd body with no dorsal fin or hind limbs, instead possessing paddle-like forelimbs used to get around.
    Julien Willem

    Goblin Shark

    The goblin shark is known for its oddly-shaped head, with a protruding, trowel-shaped beak and gnarled jaws.  A deep-sea dweller, the goblin shark’s pinkish skin never comes in contact with sunlight. Goblin sharks are sometimes caught by deep-sea fishers and trawlers, and their warped jaws can be sold for high prices to collectors.
    David Shen /


    Tarsiers are small animals with enormous eyes; each eyeball is approximately 16 mm in diameter and is as large as their entire brain. Tarsiers also have very long hind limbs. In fact, their feet have extremely elongated tarsus bones, from which the animals get their name.
    Jasper Greek Golangco


    Native to Madagascar, the Aye-aye is considered an omen of death to many African villagers. Its unfortunate appearance leads the superstitious to kill an aye-aye on sight, causing the population to dwindle. The largest nocturnal mammal, the aye-aye’s behavior closely resembles that of a woodpecker: It gnaws into trees to use its elongated finger to extract grub from within.  


    Jeremy Wade, host of the Discovery Channel program "River Monsters," holds the congo tiger fish he captured for season 2 of the show. Several species of fish are lumped under the same name, usually characterized by their protruding teeth and fierce predatory behavior. Let's leave the hunting to the experts like Wade; if you see one, stay away. 
    Animal Planet/Discovery

    Yeti Crab

    The Yeti crab, discovered in the South Pacific in 2005, gets its name from the “hair” covering its elongated pincers. The unique pincers contain filamentous bacteria, which may be a source of nourishment for the Yeti crab or could be used to detoxify poisonous material in its environment.  
    IFREMER, A. Fifis

    Mata mata

    The mata mata turtle is one of a kind. Its name (translated from the Spanish) means “I kill, I kill,” and that may not be far from your first instinct. While its shell may be unimpressive, the long, triangular head of the mata mata is covered in warts, hooks and barbs with a long, pointed horn at the end. To avoid encountering one, steer clear of South America, primarily the Amazon.

    Proboscis Monkey

    The proboscis monkey is best known for its sizable schnoz. Reaching up to 7 inches in length, the nose of the pot-bellied monkey is used by the males to attract a mate, thanks to its unusual appearance. Chambers in the nose are also used to amplify the primate’s warning call. Due to habitat loss, the proboscis monkey is currently an endangered species.
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