Have you ever seen a fish with human teeth? Often mistaken for a piranha, these weird animals are omnivores, eating both plants and meat. The pacu’s square, straight teeth are used mainly to crush nuts and fruits that drop down into Amazonian rivers and streams from the trees above.
But swimmers, beware! These nut-crunching fish have also been rumoured to mistake human testicles for their favourite snacks, earning them the nickname ‘testicle-eating fish’ or ‘ball-cutter fish’. Ouch.
With each eye as big as its brain, the tarsier has the largest eyes in relation to the body size of any mammal. But with such huge eyes, they can’t move them like we can, instead swivelling their whole head 180° like an owl. This helps them silently look for prey, and they’re the only completely carnivorous primate – no plants at all.
And this strategy has proved successful, these weird animals are some of the oldest living primates on the planet, dating back at least 55 million years. This potentially dates them to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a time when Earth experienced a sudden, and extreme warming, widely linked to the rise of mammals on Earth.
No, this isn’t a spider that drops birds, it’s a spider that looks like a bird dropping. Sitting huddled on a leaf during the day, the bird dropping spider uses mimicry to full advantage to fool would-be predators into thinking they’re a fresh pile of poop. But the deception doesn’t end there. At night, this crafty critter will stretch out its forelegs and release a pheromone that lures in unfortunate male moths looking for a mate. Thinking they might be getting lucky, the moth is instead grabbed, providing a tasty meal for this weird animal.
Thistledown velvet ant
Despite the name, this fuzzy little creature is actually a type of wasp. Their flamboyant, fluffy exterior helps disguise these creatures as fallen creosote fruits, fooling would-be predators. Although some scientists have studied the fossil record, hypothesising that the White bristles underwent separate evolutionary developments, as a way to reflect the intense desert heat.
Pucker up! Endemic to the Galápagos Islands, the red-lipped batfish waddles along the seafloor using modified fins as legs, looking like it’s ready for a night on the town. Like many other weird animals, this adaptation may be for the males to attract a mate, although more research is needed.