As the Mother Nature Network points out, nature isn’t always kind to animals. Every animal plays an important role on our planet, but some have surely been beaten with the ugly stick.
Here are some contenders for Ugliest Animal on the Planet.
This gremlin-looking creature, called an Aye-aye, is actually a primate found in Madagascar.
Aye-ayes have a number of unusual traits, including a long, bony, witch-like middle finger that they use to pry insects and grubs from tree trunks. This allows them to fill a biological niche much like a woodpecker might. They are nocturnal, only coming out at night.
These wild members of the pig family have the characteristic pig nose, tusks protruding from their mouths, a wart-like curvature to their faces and a nappy mane of hair that cascades down their backside. They aren’t an image of beauty, but they are remarkably well-adapted to their harsh environment.
It must be difficult to maintain a vibrant self-image if you’re a bald rodent, but it’s not an issue for the naked mole rat. These animals live underground in insect-like colonies, and they have little need for good eyesight. Their hairless bodies are also an adaptation for their underground environment.
Interestingly, naked mole rats are also among the longest living of all rodents given their size (they can live for nearly 30 years), and they have a remarkable resistance to cancer.
One of the world’s rarest birds and North America’s largest flying land bird, the California condor is a graceful animal when it is gliding high above the canyons and deserts of the American West Coast.
But up close, this bird isn’t so photogenic. Its bald head is an adaptation for its lifestyle as a scavenger, since a feathered head would become clotted with blood while the bird feeds on large carrion.
Perhaps its unfair to judge a fish out of water, but the blobfish looks more like a ball of slime than a living creature.
Blobfish live deep in the ocean, where pressures are exceedingly high. In fact, the blobfish’s gelatinous appearance is actually a brilliant adaptation — its gooey, pudding-like flesh allows it to stay buoyant at depths where gaseous bladders can’t function.