Many things in 2014 made us gawk and look twice. There were things that we still talk to friends and family about as we exchange small talk at the year”s final holiday parties. Yet when we look back, there”s nothing more interesting than these 10 weird animal stories that we still can”t believe are real.
1. Real-Life Unicorn
This roe deer was shot in August by a hunter in Celje, Slovenia. It had an extremely rare type of antler deformity that caused only a singular antler to grow. It was likely caused by an injury early in the antlers” development, as these types of injuries are common. Yet the scientist who verified the animal”s authenticity said he”d never seen one like it.
2. Snake Virgin Birth
An 11-year-old reticulated python named Thelma produced six female offspring in June 2012 at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky. Thelma lives with another female python, Louise. As no male has EVER been near her, as DNA evidence confirms, the birth was, in fact, the result of a sole parent.
3. Black Sea Devil
Complete with razor sharp teeth and an expression for your nightmares, the black sea devil anglerfish finally got photographed up close on November 17. Researchers got footage of this rare female anglerfishthe first time this species has been filmed alive and in its natural habitatoff central California.
4. Toxic “Toupee” Caterpillar
This caterpillar has an outer comb-over, which hides small, extremely toxic spines that stick in your skin. It was shipped to U.S. hospitals on the East Coast for medical research in September.
5. Dancing Frogs
Fourteen new species of tiny “dancing frogs” were discovered in the jungles of western India. Scientists reported them in May, including this foot-waving male species.
6. “Sushi” Armadillo
Argentina”s pink fairy armadillo is the smallest armadillo, at 3.3 to 4.6 inches (84 to 117 millimeters) long. It became an Internet sensation in October. Seldom seen, it has silky white hair and a pinkish carapacea kind of outer shell or body armor.
7. Calico Lobster
A fisherman caught a calico lobster in August, a one in a 50 million chance. As they are naturally brownish green, these lobsters can come in a variety of colors, including albino, which may be as rare as 1 in 100 million.
8. Downtown Coyotes
Large numbers of these wild creatures were found roaming Chicago at night. Over 2,000 have been seen crawling around most major cities. However, they have no interest in attacking humans, preferring instead to feast on the incredible trash buffet nightly.
9. Self-Poisoning Birds
Researchers discovered in October that male great bustards eat a diet solely of poisonous beetles, far more than their female counterparts (pictured on the left). This strategy makes them appear healthyand thus sexierduring courtship rituals.
10. Purple Frog
The Indian purple frog, also known as the pig-nosed frog, is an endangered species with an unusual mating style. Discovered in 2003, males call to attract females from undergrounda strange method of courtship, according to a study published in February.
(via National Geographic)
Did you remember these critters? Because we did, and we”re still scratching our heads to figure out how they can possibly be real!