Wildlife Community Network
An Axolotl salamander, or Ambystoma mexicanum, swims in a tank at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City. Scientists warn that the roughly foot-long amphibian is a few years away from extinction, a victim of the draining of its lake habitat, deteriorating water quality and what is perhaps the final stake in its heart: the invasion of nonnative fish species that eat its eggs and larvae, and compete with it for food.
The dugong is a cousin of the manatee and is closely related to the elephant. The dugong is unique in that it has a split (whale-like) tail and will “perch” underwater on its tail in order to keep its head above water. The dugong is thought to have inspired ancient myths about mermaids. The dugong is threatened by poachers who hunt the animal for its meat, oil, skin and bones. It is extremely endangered.
The purple frog is really purple. But its brilliant hue is not the strange thing about it. The purple frog spends much of the year living 13 feet below ground. Also called the pignose for its snubbed nose, this western Indian-dwelling frog was only discovered in 2003, in Kerala. Locals had known about the purple frog for years, but scientists were skeptical. Part of the reason purple frogs were difficult to find was simply due to the fact that they only come up for air for two weeks during monsoon season in order to mate.
Kakapo This is not only the rarest, but the strangest parrot in the world. Imagine a rather portly nocturnal bird that never flies, preferring to hike through hilly forest for miles every night. It weighs in as the heaviest parrot in the world at 8 pounds. Imagine this and you have the very real (but virtually extinct) kakapo. A resident of New Zealand, which is home to a number of rare birds, there are only 62 kakapos remaining on earth. (Bonus fact: New Zealand is full of unusual creatures. It originally had no native land mammals, so its many unique birds evolved in unusual ways - which unfortunately has made them very vulnerable to mammals that were brought in during European colonization.)
The hairy frog or “horror frog” intentionally breaks its own bones to turn out a wicked set of cat-like claws. Like Wolverwine, only slimy and a lot more terrifying because it’s a freaking frog. Scientists don’t know if the claw is able to retract once it pierces through the skin. According to New Scientist: “Trichobatrachus robustus actively breaks its own bones to produce claws that puncture their way out of the frog’s toe pads, probably when it is threatened.” Also, it is apparently hairy. This doesn’t stop Cameroon locals from spearing and roasting hairy frogs as a tasty snack.
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