The natural world contains about 8.7 million species - with 6.5 million species on land and 2.2 million in oceans - according to the Census of Marine Life, although many scientists say the true figure could be millions more.
Despite this staggering number, some of them ended up slightly stranger than the rest of the animal and underwater kingdom.
Here are 10 of the strangest animals that inhabit our planet.
A menacing appearance with its giant frill, the frill-necked lizard, endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea, the docile, low-key critters are actually only interested in insects. But plenty of animals are interested in the lizard, so it has adapted its body to ward off potential predators and has the ability to run extremely fast and are capable of running on just their hind legs when they pick up speed.
The Blobfish is a deep-sea fish which inhabits waters just above the seabed at depths of 600 to 1,200 meters (2,000 to 3,900 feet), off the coasts of mainland Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. The blobfish is a rather odd-looking fish out of water, but this is due to the strange adaptations to its preferred waters. While many fish use gas bladders to create buoyancy, the blobfish does it by being made up of gelatinous mass with a slightly lower density than water. The blobfish is also lacking in muscle, so much of its existence is spent floating along with the current and eating whatever floats right in front of it.
The goblin shark is a rare species of deep-sea shark and the only extant representative of the Mitsukurinidae family, a lineage some 125 million years old. This pink-skinned animal has a a long, pointy snout and crooked, nail-like teeth and can move incredibly fast. It is usually between 3 and 4 m (10 and 13 ft) long when mature, though it can grow considerably larger such as one captured in 2000 that is thought to have measured 6 m (20 ft).
The Komondor, also known as the Hungarian sheepdog, is a large, white-colored Hungarian breed of livestock guardian dog with long, noticeably corded white looks like dreadlocks or a mop. The coat is soft and feathery. But the coat is curly and tends to twist as the puppy matures. A fully mature coat is shaped naturally from the soft basecoat and the coarser outer coat uniting to form fringes.
The first of a number of Australian animals on this list, the echidna, sometimes known as spiny anteaters, is one of two members of the monotreme order of mammals, which means that it does not birth live young, but lays eggs. They are covered in spines, and have long snouts lined with electroreceptors, a feature only found on land in echidnas and platypuses.
With bulging eyes, giant ears, and tufts of hair, the Aye-aye is a long-fingered lemur, a strepsirrhine primate native to Madagascar with rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. It is characterized by its unusual method of finding food: it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood using its forward-slanting incisors to create a small hole in which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out.
Also known as the Mexican walking fish, the Axolotl is one of the most unique amphibians in the world. Aside from the genial outward appearance, the amphibian is neotenic, meaning that the adults remain aquatic and gilled instead of going through a metamorphosis when reaching maturity. They also have the ability to regenerate almost any of their body parts. While axolotls are nearly extinct in their native Mexico, they have thrived in captivity, and have become prized by the scientific world as well as by civilians as pets.
An egg-laying mammal, that it is semi-aquatic, nocturnal and venomous, the Platypus -sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus – is endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The mammel have evolved electroreception to help locate prey, much like bats and sharks, but has almost 40,000 electroreceptors, providing incredible accuracy. This little creature – they only grow up to around 50 centimeters in length – is one of the only creatures in the world to be the one and only representative of its family and genus for scientific classification.
Given their resemblance to the title character of Disney’s 1941 film Dumbo, having a prominent ear-like fin which extends from the mantle above each eye, it is clear how this species got its name. It lives at least 13,100 feet (4,000 m) below the surface. The largest Dumbo octopus ever recorded was five feet 10 inches (1.8 m) long and weighed 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms). Life at these extreme depths requires the ability to live in very cold water and in the complete absence of sunlight. Dumbo octopuses move by slowly flapping their ear-like fins, and they use their arms to steer.
Sloths are mammals that live in the Central and South America and are deemed to be omnivores, as they can eat small lizards and insects, but their meals include generally buds and leaves. Sloths have made unusual adaptations to an arboreal lifestyle. Sloths own very huge and slow-acting stomachs that have many sections in which symbiotic bacteria crash the harsh leaves.
A hydroid jellyfish of the family Oceanidae, the Turritopsis nutricula is originally from the Caribbean Sea, but now it’s found around the world, in all the warm and tropical seas. Since scientists spotted it in Colombia, it has also been seen near Japan and in the Mediterranean Sea. It is tall with a transparent and gelatinous skin. The young organisms have eight tentacles, and the adults can have 80–90 tentacles. It has a big red stomach inside, and it can shine in the dark.
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