The animal kingdom represents a spectrum of life; while many creatures are domesticated and lovable, there are also wild beasts that evoke attention and admiration. Many are dangerous predators and can be frightening, especially for little ones, such as lions, crocodiles, tigers and other wild creatures.
But then there are lesser-known animals that will simply make you…cringe. Far from the average-looking creatures that we are accustomed to seeing in books, movies and shows, many of these species are not known to the common person. In fact, they will almost certainly frighten the younger ones and those who are faint of heart. Whether you cringe, raise your eyebrow or run away from these creepy animals, one thing’s for sure; they’re not something you see everyday, anywhere.
15 Japanese Spider Crab
Brace yourself and be ready to run for the hills. The Japanese spider crab combines two potent nightmare creatures into one frightful critter, and it's huge, up to 12.5 ft (3.8m) from one claw to another. For scientific purposes it is technically a crab, but with its multiple long legs and unusually large size, its freakish appearance could definitely cause heart attacks. This marine crab has the largest leg span of any arthropod, not to mention the huge pincers. Ouch!
14 Blue-Ringed Octopus
While to some octopuses, and their tentacles, are either disgusting or utterly adorable, the blue-ringed octopus is very different. This octopus, true to its name has blue rings on its body, and not the cute kind- large, hollow rings that glow an alarming blue. This alarming blue is a warning for predators and intruders that this octopus is irritated and its poisonous bite is lethal and can kill even humans. There is no anti-venom available for it yet, so stay away!
No, it’s not a pirate-related animal! The aye-aye is a type of omnivorous lemur native to the island of Madagascar and nowhere else. You might recognize the aye-aye in the popular kids’ film Madagascar in the form of Maurice, King Julien’s chubby adviser. Their large eyes and long, slender fingers that curl when they hold onto tree branches can definitely be creepy, especially in the dark, but these critters are harmless.
12 Maned Wolf
Wolves are ferocious, popular animal icons that are admired by many. But the maned wolf is a bit of a phenomena in itself. Due to its color and length, it looks like a dog or a fox, but with the long black-tipped legs it reminds you of either a boogeyman, Slender Man or other haunting creatures. By most mammals’ standards, legs that long are uncommon and are more akin to the long legs of an insect. Like with any regular wolf or wild dog, take caution around the maned wolf.
11 Dumbo Octopus
Like Maurice from Madagascar, many animals that are cute or pretty in cartoons and movies are actually a lot creepier than they seem in real life. Remember Pearl saying, “You made me ink!” in Finding Nemo? Pearl is actually a dumbo octopus, which live about 9,000-13,000 feet deep into the sea, and much about the creature is still a mystery. One thing to note though, is that it’s wide, round eyes, small pointy tentacles and bulging head doesn’t look adorable in the deep sea darkness.
10 Naked Mole Rat
When this creature pops out, you’re guaranteed to flinch. The naked mole rat is an herbivore mammal that is completely hairless, thus the name naked, save for its whiskers. Besides the freaky ‘naked’ appearance, the naked mole rat can also inspire fear and shock from its two large front teeth, which protrude from its mouth at all times. No wonder the Fallout 4 creators based one of their smaller but frightening monsters, the Mole Rat, on this real life critter.
If you ever see a photo of a gerenuk, chances are you would think it has been photoshopped, but you’d be wrong. The gerenuk’s freaky factor comes from its seemingly disproportionate head, which looks to be too small. This antelope hailing from the African continent is known as the ‘giraffe gazelle’ for that very reason. Small head, long neck-- the gerenuk is bound to turn heads whenever it's seen.
Shivers all around. If octopuses were not creepy enough, lampreys are meant to haunt nightmares. Commonly mistaken for eels, lampreys are basically jawless fish. Yes, fish. Lampreys look rather similar to tentacle monsters that suck the life out of you, or eat people in horror movies, but their odd look is due to the fact that they lack a jaw and dual fins, giving their bodies a more elongated aesthetic. Then there’s the circular rows of teeth. Strange enough, lampreys have been treated as food. They were a delicacy to ancient Romans and were commonly eaten by the upper class in medieval times.
7 Star-Nosed Mole
Most people tend to find animals freaky if they look like a mix of other different animals or even insects. Such is the case for the star-nosed mole, which, as its name suggests has a star-shaped nose that can definitely look like a large pink spider stuck onto its face. Obviously its nose is called a star due to the shape, but technically it’s a snout. This mole’s snout is very sensitive to scents, simply because the star-nosed mole is actually blind and relies on its snout as its main tool for hunting prey.
6 Blob Fish
Another more well-known animal due to viral posts and online images, the blob fish is a deep-sea fish with a very human-like face. Not to mention that it does literally look like a blob. However, the blob fish is definitely not human, and its diet mainly consists of any edible matter in its proximity, which it swallows. Voted as the world’s ugliest animal, the blob fish definitely has a lot to frown about.
5 Deep Sea Angler Fish
This has to be one of the more recognizable creepy animals, though it is difficult to find and meeting it face to face will probably kill you already. The Deep Sea Angler Fish’s home is all in the name, the deepest depths of the ocean. One of its haunting features is the glowing bulb attached to its head, a light source for direction and hunting prey, since its home is so deep in the ocean. The sun’s light doesn’t reach the sea floor at all, and is in complete darkness. In addition, its face is not exactly friendly with long, jagged teeth and its body bulging and rough to touch.
4 Red-Lipped Batfish
While some little piggies went to market, this batfish went to the MAC counter and got itself a gorgeous red lipstick. Well, not really. Though it closely resembles a crab, the red-lipped batfish is a fish that can ‘walk’ on the sea floor due to its unique pectoral fins. These fins can stabilize the batfish against the ground and help it move, which is its main mode of movement as it tends to be a horrible swimmer. So if you think you are horrible at being human, there’s actually a fish out there that sucks at swimming.
3 Goblin Shark
Another deep-sea creature, the goblin shark takes scary shark to a whole new level. It is a rare species of deep-sea shark, and as if most sharks aren’t horrifying enough, the goblin shark’s numerous teeth protrude outwards from its mouth like an enlarged piranha. Additionally, it has an almost spear-shaped snout that makes it look more like a supernatural creature, thus earning itself the title of goblin. What’s even crazier is that the goblin shark is basically a living fossil, the only existing descendant from a 125 million year old shark family called Mitsukurinidae.
While cute, the creepy aspect of the platypus is its appearance and the fact that it literally looks like the love-child of a duck, a beaver and an otter. A rather rare animal, the platypus is indigenous to Australian waters, specifically the east coasts and Tasmania. It is still a mammal and lays eggs instead of live young, and male platypuses actually have venom that they can deliver through the spur of their hind foot. The venom isn’t lethal but can still inflict a great amount of pain. Yikes!
1 Mola Mola
Also known as an ocean sunfish, the mola mola is an extremely bony fish with a flat body and a rather large head. The fact that the mola mola looks like a severed fish head floating on its own like a zombie is its ultimate creep factor. It is also the heaviest bony fish in the world, weighing up to 1,000 kilos as an adult. While its diet mainly consists of jellyfish, the mola mola has to eat plenty to sustain its body and health. Countries like Japan, Korea and Taiwan treat sunfish as a delicacy, so it’s probably safe to say that they don’t find this creature that freaky at all.