I’ve seen enough of the Discovery Channel to basically make me a zoologist. (See, I even know the official terms!) That’s why when I see any “crazy” animals my friends show me on their cell phone, I say thank you, but “been there, seen that.”
But then one day I saw the following animals and my jaw dropped. Seriously, just take a look at #2 and tell me you’ve ever even heard of it!
1. Saiga Antelope – Officially labeled as critically endangered, there is an estimated total of only 50,000 Saigas today, which live in Kalmykia, three areas of Kazakhstan and in two isolated areas of Mongolia.
2. Star-Nosed Mole – Using almost one hundred thousand minute touch receptors known as Eimer’s organs, the Star-Nosed Mole lives in wet lowland areas and eats small invertebrates, aquatic insects, worms and mollusks. It is a good swimmer and can forage along the bottoms of streams and ponds. Like other moles, this animal digs shallow surface tunnels for foraging; often, these tunnels exit underwater.
3. Elephant Shrew – Found widely over southern Africa, you’ll most likely see them from the Namib Desert to boulder-strewn outcrops in South Africa.
4. Long-Beaked Echidna – Found in New Guinea, these guys, along with the platypus, are the only two types of mammals that lay eggs.
5. Pink Fairy Armadillo – Found in Central Argentina’s dry grasslands and sandy beaches, this armadillo can bury itself in a matter of seconds and lives of a healthy diet of ants.
6. Long-Eared Jerboa – The Jerboa is found in Mongolia and China. Although he’s cute, he’s also listed as endangered 🙁
7. Pelochelys Cantorii (Cantor’s Giant Soft-Shelled Turtle) – This super pancake looking turtle can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh 100lbs!
8. Matamata Turtle – An aquatic specifes that hates deep water because it likes to keep its snout afloat, this turtle from my nightmares is found in northern Bolivia, eastern Peru, Ecuador, eastern Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, and northern and central Brazil.
9. Patagonian Cavy (Mara) – A large rodent that looks sort of like a rabbit, sort of like a donkey. The Patagonian Mara lives in Central and Southern Argentina. Maras inhabit arid grasslands and scrub desert.
So long as the star-nosed mole doesn’t show up in my backyard, I’ll be ok. I’d much rather just see them on tv.
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