The Harpy Eagle is one of the largest species of eagles in the world, even bigger than the Bald Eagle.
Named after the Greek mythology monsters, the extremely rare animal is found through Central America and South America rainforests, particularly Brazil, where it’s known as the Royal Hawk. The magical creature even inspired the design of Fawkes the Phoenix in the Harry Potter films.
The bird has a wingspan of over 7 feet and nearly the identical claw size of a grizzly bear. So massive, some people think it looks like a human in a costume.
But this powerful raptor is not your worst nightmare, even if the animal can snatch a monkey or a sloth out of a tree for dinner (see video after the jump).
You can’t beat the brushstrokes of nature. Native to tropical and subtropical Africa, the Picasso bug is truly nature’s work of art.
The Picasso Bug (Sphaerocoris annulus) is a species of shield-backed bugs that possess a vibrant carapace that does more than illustrate its aesthetic beauty. The mosaic design serves as a warning to predators.
Nicknamed “stink bug,” the tiny creepy crawler also emits a putrid smell when disturbed.
As the famous abstract artist, Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” But seeing a bug like this would’ve tempted Picasso to become a naturalist instead.
The Somali Sengi, also known as the Somali Elephant Shrew, is back after a 50-year hiatus. The small insectivorous mammal endemic to Somalia was deemed extinct since the 1970s by the Global Wildlife Conservation’s list of lost species.
But scientists recently rediscovered a thriving population of Somali Sengi in Djibouti.
“Here we report new evidence that the Somali Sengi is currently extant,” says the study.
“These data include voucher specimens, georeferenced occurrence localities, body measurements, habitat parameters, and DNA sequences. While the species is historically documented as endemic to Somalia, these new records are from the neighboring Republic of Djibouti and thus expand the Somali Sengi’s known range in the Horn of Africa.”
The adorable mouse-sized creature features a long snout that allows it to suck up ants into its trunk-like nose. The animal is also known to pick up speeds of 19 miles per hour.
The shrew is neither elephant nor shrew, to be exact, but a distant relative to aardvarks, hyraxes, and manatees.
Lost for half a century and found, let’s hope we never lose sight of the adorable Somali Sengi again.
Amazingly huge, the Shoebill Stork (Balaeniceps rex) may be one of the most prehistoric dinosaur looking birds alive (note: the cassowary might be the other).
An ambush predator with a height up to 5 feet, the bird stands for long periods before engaging in a vicious attack on pray. It is known to use its bulbous shoe-shaped bill to attack crocodiles when provoked.
However, the big bird is docile with humans — it is quite common to get into staring contest with them.
The bird is endangered, however, with only 5,000 – 8,000 left in the world in the swamps of East-Central Africa.