October 20, 2019

5 creepy creatures that are actually quite cute

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By Emily Zak From Care2

1. VAMPIRE SQUID

For those weary of looking at terrifying, totally cliche pictures of the goblin shark, the vampire squid is another deep-sea beauty. When attacked, the creature turns inside out, exposing an underside of teeth-like fleshy spines know as cirri. These spines combine with a webbing that looks suspiciously like a cape to give the animal its name.

The species is not actually a squid, but the only remaining kind of a more ancient form of cephalopod. In fact, fossils from two million years ago are virtually indistinguishable from cephalopods today. Living at below 600 meters, the creature is well-adapted to water with little oxygen, and it can also glow in the dark.

Of course, the fact that human activity threatens the vampire squid’s existence is scarier than its appearance.

“They are threatened by ocean warming, decreasing oxygen, pollution, overfishing, industrialization, and dozens of other changes taking place in the deep,” the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s tells the Huffington Post. “We have a responsibility to learn all we can about these amazing animals and to protect them from the greatest danger to life in the deep—the human species.”

2. TUBE-NOSED BAT

Pictured at the top of this post, the tube-nosed bat looks churlishly enthralled by some sort of ghoulish mischief.

An expedition came across the unnamed fruit bat and 200 other species in back in 2009. Despite mischievous looks, the bat may be partly responsible for keeping the tropical rainforest full of plants, as it disperses seeds.

Fruit bats like the tube-nosed bat are threatened by bushmeat hunting, habitat loss and even windmills. More than 1,000 species of bats total are vulnerable or already endangered.

3. AYE-AYE

While this type of lemur looks a balding werewolf, the creepiest aspect about the aye-aye is probably the over-sized spindly claw that it uses to grasp onto tree branches. The creature’s longest finger — the middle one — can rotate 360 degrees around the hand and bores into wood with sharp claws to gather insects for a tasty meal.

Natives of Madagascar often consider the aye-aye to be a bad omen and kill it on sight. This tradition, along with habitat destruction, reports, leaves the animal critically endangered.

4. HOOD MOCKINGBIRD

Photo Credit: Dan/Flickr

Sometimes the most petrifying creatures look the most benign. This delicate songbird uses its sharp bill to drink the blood of nesting seabirds, as well as from wounds on sea lions. The hood mockingbird even picks off ticks and dead skin from iguanas to create small cuts to then feast upon.

A native of the Galapagos, the hood mockingbird only lives on two islands and is listed as vulnerable because of its limited range.

5. STAR-NOSED MOLE

It lives in perpetual darkness. It feeds by feelers that can detect a grain of salt buried in a pile of sand, according to National Geographic. This nearly blind killing machine is the star-nosed mole.

The mole is one of nature’s most efficient killers, taking an average of 230 milliseconds to identify and consume food, like earthworms.

While the mole species is fairly common, this may change as more wetlands dry up.

This list may leave many of us thinking humans are the most nightmarish beasts of all. You can opt out of some of the destruction by supporting conservation organizations and protecting wildlife habitat near your home.

: Photo Credit: James Joel

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