Move over, Skull Island. These otherworldly animals do exist on Earth, though only in 1 place.
For Biological Diversity Day, here are 10 “only found in” creatures.
This unusual creature is only found in Australia’s Outback: the thorny devil lizard, Moloch horridus.
Despite being named after a human sacrificing god, they ‘re quite harmless.
As if being unique to Australia wasn’t specialized enough, they eat only ants.
Thousands of ants a day.
The devil lizards’ coolest ability is being able to drink water through its skin.
Not just absorption, either.
If the thorny devil steps in a puddle, channels in its scales act like tiny straws carrying the water to its mouth.
The male Wilson’s bird of paradise, Cicinnurus respublica, boasts spectacular plumage.
It had a turquoise crown, yellow mantle on its neck, a light green mouth and rich blue feet.
And yes, the thing that looks like a well-groomed mustachio is part of his tail feathers.
This handsome hipster is found only on two tiny islands off West Papua.
The Matschie’s tree kangaroo, Dendrolagus matshiei, feeds and sleeps about 100ft above ground.
They have opposable digits and are able to move their fingers independently.
Which is great for gripping branches and clinging to trunks.
They have the kangaroo’s jumping skills – but in the treetops of Papua New Guinea.
They can even leap to the ground from up to 30 feet high in a tree — without getting hurt!
On land, they don’t hop, they walk.
Awesome fact: They’re too dignified to sweat. Even in the tropical jungle heat. They just lick their arms to cool themselves down instead.
In the Venezuela Highlands lives the pebble toad, Oreophrynella nigra.
While not a great jumper or swimmer, this tiny toad is a great escape artist.
A threatened toad assumes the “ball position”.
It folds its arms and legs under its body, tucks in its head and tenses its muscles.
Then it bounces down the hill, away from danger.
Like a dislodged pebble.
This tree-dwelling mouse has whiskers that reach all the way to its ankles.
It’s one of the 28 new species unique to Luzon discovered by a 15-year study on the Philippine Island.
Until 2004, a notorious Panamanian prison operated on the Central American island of Coiba.
This put most people off.
Even now, more than 75 percent of the land is covered with virgin forests.
Is this Guitarfish a Shark or Ray? Perhaps something in between.
Match-tip tiny, Brookesia micra is the smallest of four new chameleon species found on Madagascar.
Fully grown, the tiny lizards reach barely 1.2 inches long.
Scientists think the lizards live in leaf litter on the ground during the day but move up into the trees at night to sleep.
So watch your step.
Found exclusively in the highlands of Ethiopia, the gelada, Theropithecus gelada, is a baboon-like monkey.
They’re sometimes called the “bleeding-heart monkey” because of the red triangles of bare skin on their chests.
(You can think Star Trek if you want.)
The world’s only grass-eating monkeys, Geladas spend most of their day sitting down, munching.
They have fatty sitting pads on their rear ends, which seem well set up for this activity!
The Costa Rica Golfo Dulce poison dart frog, Phyllobates vittatus.
Its beautiful black/green/blue jewel colors are basically a billboard saying “Poison”.
Its poison causes severe pain, followed by tonic-clonic seizures and paralysis if a large enough dose is administered.
Golfo Dulce poison frogs have recently become available as pets!
These giant stick insects grow to about the size of an adult human’s hand when full-grown.
In 1920, black rats officially wiped out tree lobsters on Lord Howe Island. (near Australia)
But, luckily, their demise was much exaggerated.
If there ever was a romantic story about insects, theirs is it.
Awesome fact: tree lobsters sleep in pairs, and spoon.
Males wrap their six legs protectively around the female as they snooze.
Happy Biological Diversity Day.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.