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Animals Nature

The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth

Some call it adorable. Others call it the devil. 

Brace yourself for the Venezuelan Poodle Moth, a fluffy one-inch insect that looks like a cross between a poodle and an alien. 

The tiny hard chitin scales that create the moth’s fluff help disguise it from bats while also keeping it warm.

Zoologist Dr. Arthur Anker captured the new species in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela’s Canaima National Park in 2009. 

Poodle moth (Artace sp, perhaps A. cribaria), Venezuela

The poodle moth bears a strong resemblance to the Muslin Moth, a neotropical moth of the family Erebidae.

However, the internet continues to debate the reality of its existence due to the creature’s scarcity — not many others have identified the bizarre critter. 

The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/AnimalsWorld
The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/AnimalsWorld
The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/AnimalsWorld
The cute and scary Venezuelan Poodle Moth
Photo: Twitter/StrangeAnimals
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Animals Nature

The Harpy eagle looks like a human in a Halloween costume

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 sloth out of a tree for dinner (see video after the jump).

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Animals Nature

The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork

The Shoebill Stork is your new favorite bird.  

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. 

Witness the bird in all its hugeness below.

The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork
Photo: Twitter/shannonmstirone
The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork
Photo: Twitter/DeathmatchJay
The strange but fabulous Shoebill Stork
Photo: Twitter/hollowknight
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Animals Nature

The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs

Add the Tasmanian Giant Crab (Pseudocarcinus gigas) to one of the animals you’ll want to see in person one day.

Weighing up to 39lbs with a shell length up to 18 inches, the Tasmanian Giant Crab is the fifth largest crab species. Its wild geometry makes it claws appear more massive than its body.

The Tasmanian Giant Crab is the king of crabs
Photo: Seal Life via Twitter/@StrangeAnimals

This monstrous “king” of crabs resides in the deep ocean of Southern Australia. Unfortunately, the crab is a prize catch among fishers where’s it’s been fished in Tasmanian waters since 1992.

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Animals Nature

The incredible (and slender) Ranzania Laevis is shaped like a Dorito

One of the more peculiar fish you’ll ever see, the slender sunfish (Ranzania laevis) looks like a fish that’s been cut in half.

Yes, this Dorito-shaped fish is in its complete form!

The Ranzania laevis is a species of mola mola and is primarily found in the world’s tropical waters. In fact, the fish was originally discovered off the coast of Adelaide, Australia, in 1944.

Interestingly, the slender sunfish can give off the impression of a shark from its side view which allows it to scare off would-be predators.

The incredible (and slender) Ranzania Laevis is shaped like a Dorito
Photo: Wikimedia/Escapemodule
The incredible (and slender) Ranzania Laevis is shaped like a Dorito
Photo: Wikimedia/NOAA Observer Program
The incredible (and slender) Ranzania Laevis is shaped like a Dorito
Close-up of a slender sunfish (Photo: Wikimedia/Escapemodule)
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Animals

The cassowary is living proof that birds are living dinosaurs

The cassowary is further proof that birds are living dinosaurs.

Native to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia, the flightless Cassowary bird can grow up to a whopping 7 feet tall and weigh as much as 120 pounds. It’s the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird.

But even more dinosauric are the cassowary’s razor-sharp talons that it uses to defend itself. Known as the world’s most dangerous bird, the cassowary can quickly kill a human with one strike of its dagger-like feet.

Interestingly, the cassowary also lay bright green and pale green-blue eggs during the breeding season. That’s almost as fascinating as the bird’s turquoise neck and glossy feathers — such a neat-colored creature!

The cassowary is living proof that birds are living dinosaurs
via tw
The cassowary is living proof that birds are living dinosaurs
via tw
The cassowary is living proof that birds are living dinosaurs
via tw
Categories
Animals Travel

Say hello to the swimming pigs of the Bahamas

The uninhabited island of Big Major Cay in the Bahamas is populated entirely by swimming pigs.

Known as the Swimming Pigs of Exuma, Bahamas, the feral pigs there swim freely in the clear-water ocean and play amongst themselves on the beach.

How the wild pigs got to the Bahamas

How the pigs got on the island is still a mystery. Some believe that they were dropped off by hungry sailors who never returned — others think the pigs survived nearby ship wrecks.

You may have already swum with dolphins but what about the ever-elusive pig on this beautiful beach?

Prepare to check off this excursion from your bucket list.

Swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas
via tw
Swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas
via tw
Swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas
via tw
Swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas
via tw
Swim with wild pigs in the Bahamas
via tw
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Animals

The giant crowned flying fox is a human size bat from the Philippines

Here’s a creature that will stop you in your tracks.

Endemic to the Philippines, the giant golden-crowned flying fox (Acerodon jubatus) grows as large as 3 feet with a wingspan of 5-6 feet.

It is one of the largest bats in the world.

You’d think that the megabat the size of a 6-year-old kid would be a threat but it’s actually harmless — it’s vegetarian and primarily munches on fruit. As pollinators, the bats even help spread seeds.

Unfortunately, the species is endangered and facing extinction due to poaching in the forest.

The giant crowned flying fox is a human size bat from the Philippines
Photo: Gregg Yann
The giant crowned flying fox is a human size bat from the Philippines
Twitter/@Welcomet0nature
The giant crowned flying fox is a human size bat from the Philippines
Twitter/@Welcomet0nature
The giant crowned flying fox is a human size bat from the Philippines
Photo: Dave Irving
Categories
Animals Health Travel

Giant teddy bears enforce social distancing in Paris cafe

While the world remains alert and anxious over the spread of COVID-19, a bookshop owner in Paris has been trying to lighten the mood.

Philippe, owner of the local bookstore, has been buying up giant bears and distributing them to his local neighborhood of Les Gobelins, Paris.

The teddy bears first appeared in cafes, restaurants, and bars but — according to the bears official Facebook page — been seen in front of the Eiffel Tower, riding the metro, and more.

The bears help make social distancing a little more bearable (see what we did there) in Paris.

Photo: Les nounours des gobelins/Facebook
Photo: Les nounours des gobelins/Facebook
Photo: Les nounours des gobelins/Facebook
Categories
Animals Nature

The African Dung Beetle navigates Earth using the stars

Not sure what’s more amazing about the African dung beetle, one that it rolls immaculate balls out of other animals dung or that it navigates from home to manure piles and back via celestial cues.

“These clever insects use the polarized light of the moon to navigate in a straight line,” writes Popular Mechanics. “Their eyes cannot see individual stars but a group of stars together, like the Milky Way, is dense enough to create a luminous line for them to follow.”

Dung Beetles
TW/@coleopteriste

No stars, no problem! When the sun gets blocked or is directly overhead, the beetle uses its antennae to perceive wind signals. This way it can roll across the desert without getting lost.

But entomologist and photographer Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki of the Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique believes the Kheper subaeneus beetles are more interesting for what they do for mother Earth. 

Few animals are as important to the African savanna ecosystem as the dung beetles and without their thankless toil the entire ecosystem would soon collapse, covered in a thick layer of waste. 

Piotr Naskrecki

Keep in mind that the gathered feces, in which the beetle rolls into big balls, often weigh more than the beetle itself.

IG/piotr_naskrecki
Image: Supplied