A-z - Animals

9 of the funniest animals in the world

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key point:

  • The endangered kakapo, found only in New Zealand, is the only flightless parrot in the world.
  • Native to the island of Hispaniola, the Hispaniolan solenodon is a burrowing animal that looks like a cross between a shrew and a mouse.
  • The sperm whale is the largest toothed carnivore on Earth, has the largest brain and makes the loudest voice.

Every animal is fun, but some animals are funnier than others. The fascination may arise from the animal's appearance, behavior, breeding style, or a combination of some or all of these characteristics. This blog introduces nine of the world's most fascinating animals and explores what makes them so interesting:

#9. Hydra

In fact, Hydras don't seem to age at all, which is one of the many fascinating facts about them.

©Rattiya Thongdumhyu/Shutterstock.com

Hydras are tiny animals that live in freshwater. Not only do they have a weird reproductive cycle, but they can regenerate their tissues and don't seem to age even if they die. In fact, scientists speculate that under the right conditions, Hydra could live for 1,400 years, or even forever.

Hydras can reproduce sexually or asexually. When given time, they simply sprout buds that eventually snap off and grow into other polyps that are clones of their parents. However, when food is scarce or the weather is harsh, they reproduce sexually. They produce ovaries, testes, and sometimes both in the same person. The testes release sperm into the water, which eventually fertilizes an egg in the ovary of another polyp.

These fertilized eggs grow a tough coat, and when the adults die, the strengthened eggs sink to the bottom of the water body, waiting for conditions to improve. When they do, the eggs hatch into hydroid nymphs.

#8. kakapo

Kakapo sightings are extremely rare.

© Imogen Warren/Shutterstock.com

Found only in New Zealand, the kakapo is the only flightless parrot in the world. It is a large nocturnal bird measuring 23 to 25 inches in length and weighing between 2 and 9 pounds. It has a facial disc that makes it look a bit like an owl, as does the owl parrot, another name for it.

Its wings and tail are short, however, and there is no keel on its sternum. Its fluffy plumage is olive green with brownish-gray or black spots, which allow it to blend into its forest home, where it lives on the ground.

The birds, which can live to be 100 years old, were common until the arrival of humans and the predators they brought with them. Now, the kakapo is critically endangered and is only found on Cod and Anchor Islands in New Zealand.

During mating season, the male kakapo clears an area, digs a shallow hole in the dirt, sits down, enters a trance, and rumbles like a foghorn. They can do this roar, traveling for kilometers, all night for 3-5 months in hopes of attracting a female mate.

Read here to learn more about kakapo.

#7. platypus

The platypus is an interesting mammal that senses its prey through electrolocation.

©John Carnemolla/Shutterstock.com

Who isn't fascinated by platypus? The platypus is a duck-billed mammal that lays eggs, and the male has poisonous spines on his hind legs? Not only that, but the platypus and its equally monstrous sibling, the monotreme echidna, can also find prey by sensing electric fields. They are the only mammals that can do this, not counting Guyanese dolphins.

The platypus does this through receptors in its beak. Its small eyes are more hagfish than mammalian and have double cones. The animal also glows blue-green under black light.

Although females have two ovaries, only the left one is functional. When her babies hatched from their eggs, they fed milk not from the nipples the mother didn't have, but from the pores of the dermis. Babies are actually born with teeth, but they lose them.

Adult platypus grinds food using a hard plate in its mouth. People are used to eating their tails, which are full of fat. The average lifespan of a platypus is about 12 years in the wild and 17-20 years in captivity.

Read more about platypus here.

#6. Hispanic Purslane

The nocturnal Hispaniolan pike shark is one of only two remaining insectivorous mammals native to the Caribbean.

© Seb az86556 / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

The creature, which looks like a cross between a large rat and a shrew, lives in the forests and scrublands of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is one of two land animals native to Hispaniola.

The body length of the screwfish ranges from 19 to 28 inches, with a nearly bare tail nearly 10 inches long. Its lifespan is about 11-12 years.

It weighs less than two pounds. It is a crypt animal and comes out at night to eat small animals including insects, worms and mice. The female has two nipples, on her back, near her buttocks. But what's really fascinating about the screwfish is that it's actually venomous. The venom released by the Spirodon can kill a mouse within minutes.

While it doesn't kill humans, a bite from a Spiral is quite painful.

Read more about solenoids here.

#5. komodo dragon

As top predators, Komodo dragons occasionally attack humans.

© Andrey Gudkov/Shutterstock.com

Is This Indonesian Animal, The World's Largest Monitor Lizard Really Poisonous? Some biologists claim it isn't, but its saliva is so full of bacteria that a bite inevitably sends its victims into septic shock and kills them. Whether or not the lizard is actually venomous, it's an ambush predator that usually doesn't let its prey go away and die like a viper, but instead slits its throat to bleed.

The dragon then either tears off and swallows large chunks of its prey, or swallows it whole if it's small enough. If a group of dragons encounters a corpse, the largest male will eat it first.

Like a snake, the Komodo dragon sticks out a breathing tube under its tongue, allowing it to breathe while feeding. It then spits out stomach pellets made of indigestible material like horns and hair. Komodo dragons, despite their prowess as hunters, seem to prefer carrion.

Komodo dragons live between 25-30 years. Unfortunately, rumors of it digging up human corpses appear to be true.

Read here to learn more about Komodo dragons.

#4. nine-banded armadillo

Unlike the three-banded armadillo, the nine-banded armadillo cannot roll into a ball. They can, however, stay afloat by distending their intestines or sinking to cross the river bed.

©Heiko Kiera/Shutterstock.com

Armadillos, once found only in South America, have slowly moved north into Central America, from the southwestern and northern United States to Nebraska, and east to North Carolina. It is famous for its armor, which is made of bone plates covered with shields.

Certain species of armadillo are so agile that they can roll into a ball when threatened, while the nine-banded armadillo can leap four feet into the air when startled.

The reproductive strategies of armadillos are also interesting. Although only one egg is fertilized, it does not immediately implant in the uterus. When it implants, it splits into quadruplets. This is normal and expected. The offspring continue to live for 7-8 years in the wild or 15-20 years in captivity.

Armadillos are also one of the few animals that can contract leprosy and are disease hosts for the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. This parasite causes the dreaded Chagas disease.

Read more about armadillos here.

#3. sloth

Sloths have poor hearing and rely on smell and touch to find food.

© Janossy Gergely/Shutterstock.com

This South and Central American mammal gets its name from one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and it likes to hang upside down from its favorite tree. It eats, sleeps, mates, gives birth, and even hangs upside down from a tree to die. The average lifespan of a sloth in the wild is 20-30 years, but has been known to live in excess of 40 years in captivity.

The only thing it doesn't do on its tree is lighten itself. Then it will very slowly climb down the tree, drag itself to where it always does its thing, and very slowly climb back up the tree. Biologists don't know why the sloth leaves the tree to do all this activity, as it makes it vulnerable to predation.

Additionally, the sloth has a symbiotic relationship with algae, which grows on its fur and turns it green. Miniature arthropods including moths, mites and beetles also live in the animal's fur. Sloths are also somewhat cold-blooded, as their body temperature depends on the environment.

A normal, healthy sloth's temperature is between 77 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If the body temperature drops to 68 degrees, the animal goes into a state of torpor or a deeper torpor state than it has already entered. Other interesting facts about sloths are:

  • Sloths can't walk. A three-toed sloth's arms are 50 percent longer than its legs.
  • Long arms make it an excellent swimmer. Sloths can hold their breath underwater for 40 minutes.
  • Unlike most mammals, it doesn't always have seven vertebrae in its neck. It can be more or less depending on the species.

Read more about sloths here.

#2. sperm whale

The blowhole of the sperm whale is located on the left side of the head, which is rare in cetaceans.

© Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

Sperm whales are one of the most fascinating marine mammals. Hunted almost to extinction for the whale oil in its head, this large and intelligent animal remains vulnerable to extinction despite being found in most of the world's oceans. It's the largest-toothed carnivore on Earth, has the largest brain, and has the loudest voice. It has a complex vocal system that helps it communicate with other sperm whales and find prey.

These vocalizations are learned, not born. Because this whale dives deeper than any other marine mammal, it uses echolocation to hunt in the lightless depths of the ocean. The whale, also known as a cachalot, can dive to depths of 6,600 feet in search of one of its favorite meals, giant squid.

Not only do whales produce whale oil, they also make ambergris in their guts. Ambergris is still used in perfumes and is sometimes found washing up on beaches. In fact, it's vomited because it's produced when the squid's indigestible beak irritates the whale's digestive system, and the whale secretes a lubricant to soothe the irritation.

Sperm whales also sleep vertically, with their heads just below the surface of the water, and no one knows why. One thing scientists do know about sperm whales is that they typically live to be 70 years old.

Read here to learn more about sperm whales.

#1. Hyrax

Surprisingly, hyraxes are more closely related to elephants and manatees than to other animal species that look more similar, such as pikas.

©Bartosz Budrewicz/Shutterstock.com

The hyrax or "dassie" is the funniest animal in the world. Hyraxes look like a cross between a rabbit and a guinea pig, and should appear to be either lagomorphs or rodents. Found in eastern and southern Africa and the Middle East, neither.

Its closest relatives are elephants and, surprisingly, manatees. It even grows tusks, which continue to grow throughout its life (average 9-14 years old), and its cheek teeth resemble those of a rhinoceros.

The nails on its feet are more nails than hooves, and it has a gland on its back that secretes pheromones. When babies are born, they climb onto their mother's back and lie on this gland that helps them imprint.

Omnivorous, these hyraxes eat mainly herbs, grasses, fruits and leaves, supplemented by small lizards, insects and bird eggs caught while sunbathing on local rocks

Like a horse, the hyrax cannot vomit, and like a cow, it has a multi-chambered stomach. It still can't break down cellulose like a cow, and it's frankly cold-blooded. To warm up, hyraxes need the sun like reptiles.

Read here to learn more about the hyrax.

Summary of the 9 most interesting animals in the world

Let's take a look back at the 9 funniest animals on Earth we found:

rank animal
1 Hyrax
2 sperm whale
3 sloth
4 nine-banded armadillo
5 komodo dragon
6 Hispanic Purslane
7 platypus
8 kakapo
9 Hydra


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