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The Top 25 Ugliest Animals on Earth

The author is very interested in dogs and various other animals. They enjoy researching bizarre animals and sharing them with others.

Read on to find a list of the 25 ugliest creatures in existence. You'll also learn a few things about each bizarre animal along the way!

Read on to find a list of the 25 ugliest creatures in existence. You'll also learn a few things about each bizarre animal along the way!

Ugly Creatures of the World

When we talk about something being "ugly," what exactly do we mean? Merriam-Webster defines the term as "offensive to the sight" and "offensive or unpleasant to any sense," while Wikipedia expands the definition slightly to mean "the degree to which a person's physical features are considered aesthetically unfavorable."

While ugliness and unattractiveness have some degree of subjectivity to them, there are times when most people look at something and seem to agree—this is very strange looking. Such is the case with many of the animals this article explores.

While some of these 25 animals are arguably "cute," many are simply repulsive. Join me as I count down the ugliest animals on Earth from 25 to 1. We'll also learn a few interesting facts about each animal along the way.

25 Ugliest Animals on Earth

25. Russian Saiga Antelope
24. Giant Anteater
23. Black Rain Frog
22. Angolan Free-Tailed Bat
21. Mandrill Baboon
20. Hammer-headed Bat
19. Turtle Frog
18. Marabou Stork
17. Purple Frog
16. Axolotl
15. Proboscis Monkey
14. Meishan Pig
13. Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle
12. Dong Tao Chicken
11. Naked Mole Rat
10. Aye-Aye
9. Star-Nosed Mole
8. Sea Pig
7. Northern Elephant Seal
6. Horseshoe Bat
5. Eastern Long Beaked Echidna
4. Babirusa
3. Giant isopod
2. Blobfish
1. Angler Fish

Russian saiga antelope

Russian saiga antelope

25. Russian Saiga Antelope

These aren't alien antelope babies from a Star Wars movie; they're actually Saiga antelope from planet Earth. Saiga antelope are currently located in Eurasia. They grow 24 to 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 60 to 150 pounds. Male Russian Saiga have antlers that usually measure between 11 to 15 inches.

Saigas live in herds of 30 to 50 animals. These timid animals graze on various plants in semideserts, grasslands, and steppes. An interesting fact about Saiga antelope is that two-thirds of their births are to twin calves.

Sadly, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the saiga as being critically endangered. This is due in part to both poaching and climate change. The saiga's horns are poached for use in traditional Chinese medicine. The saiga also experienced a mass die-off of 200,000 in 2015 due to warm weather and humidity that caused a common bacteria to move into their bloodstream.

Giant anteater

Giant anteater

24. Giant Anteater

Giant anteaters, also known as ant bears, live in the grasslands and rainforests of Central America and South America. They're insectivorous mammals, meaning they eat insects primarily. Their maximum body lengths can reach between 6 to 7.1 feet (1.83 to 2.16 meters), and they weigh anywhere from 60 to 110 pounds (27 to 50 kilograms).

Not only are those long, oddly shaped faces disturbingly unattractive, but they have disgustingly long tongues to match their bizarre muzzles, making the giant anteater one of the top 25 ugliest animals on the planet.

Black rain frog

Black rain frog

23. Black Rain Frog

Black rain frogs, also known as Breviceps fuscus, are a species of rain frogs native to South Africa. They appear as though they haven't any separation between their heads and their bodies, giving them quite a bizarre appearance. Yet somehow, I find black rain frogs to have a bit of an "ugly-cute" appearance.

This frog is known to be something of a grump, and it certainly enjoys its privacy. It is a burrowing species that digs to find water and solitude. The black rain frog also puffs up to appear more intimidating when it feels threatened, turning into a balloon with eyes.

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A young Angolan free-tailed bat (Mops condylura) lying down

A young Angolan free-tailed bat (Mops condylura) lying down

22. Angolan Free-Tailed Bat

It's safe to say that Angolan free-tailed bats are probably one of the ugliest animals. Angolan free-tailed bats are found in the savanna and at the edge of woodlands in Africa. They measure about 4.5 inches from their noses to the tips of their tails and weigh in at about only 1 ounce.

These bats are nocturnal and make their roosts in places such as rock crevices, the hollows of trees, and various human buildings. They are labelled as "least concern" by the IUCN and are unlikely to experience rapid population decline.

Mandrill baboon

Mandrill baboon

21. Mandrill Baboon

They might be exceptionally colorful, but Mandrill baboons are also exceptionally repulsive primates. Mandrills are native to West-Central Africa. They are sexually dimorphic, which means the males vary quite a lot in size and appearance from the females.

Male mandrill baboons usually weigh between 42 and 82 pounds, but the largest have reached 130 pounds. The regular-sized male is 30 to 37 inches long; while standing on all fours, males have shoulder lengths generally between 22 to 26 inches.

One of the more fascinating facts about Mandrills is that they have their own built-in food containers. There are large cheek pouches inside their mouth where they can place food for later.

Hammer-headed bat

Hammer-headed bat

20. Hammer-headed Bat

The Hammer-headed bat, also known as the hammer-headed fruit bat or the big-lipped bat, is a species of bat found in Central Africa. They're the largest type of bat in all of continental Africa. Male hammer-headed bats have a wingspan of up to 2.96 feet, making them part of the subfamily of megabats.

Male hammer-headed bats display the famously broad hammer-head face; females tend to have more narrow, almost fox-like faces. It's safe to say male hammer-headed bats are easily one of the ugliest animals in the world.

As mentioned, this bat is "frugivorous," meaning it feeds entirely on fruit. However, it isn't considered a good seed distributor, as it eats its food in the same area it found it. Figs are a major component of the hammer-headed bat's diet.

Turtle frog

Turtle frog

19. Turtle Frog

The name turtle frog says it all; it looks like a frog turtle mutant animal. Turtle frogs, also known as Myobatrachus, are tiny frogs found in the Perth region of Western Australia.

The turtle frog lives almost entirely in sandy soil, where it burrows using its front legs (a peculiar trait for a frog). It is also peculiar in that it is one of the very few frogs that skips the tadpole stage and can live in sandy areas without the aid of free standing water.

Marabou stork

Marabou stork

18. Marabou Stork

The Marabous storks, sometimes called "undertaker birds," are a type of stork native to Africa. These birds can reach 60 inches in height and 20 pounds in weight. Their wingspans usually make it up to 12 feet.

Marabou storks aren't only massive, but they're incredibly and shockingly ugly. Their nickname—undertaker birds—comes from the fact that, from the back, they seem to be wearing a large black coat.

The Marabou stork is also an opportunistic eater and scavenger that dines on almost any animal matter, including faeces, decaying flesh, and flesh scraps. It also sometimes eats other birds such as pigeons, doves, and flamingos—and even occasionally dines on pelican chicks.

Purple frog

Purple frog

17. Purple Frog

The purple frog, also known as the pignose frog, is a frog species found in India's Western Ghats. Male purple frogs are about one-third the length of females. Females measure in at about 2.75 inches in length (7 centimeters).

They might look bloated, slimy, display strange greyish purple skin, and have oddly shaped noses, but ugly or not, purple frogs are on the endangered species list. Hopefully, people will help to preserve these fascinating creatures.

The purple frog actually spends most of its life underground and only emerges for a few days for breeding at the start of the monsoon season.

Axolotl

Axolotl

16. Axolotl

Axolotl, also known as the Mexican walking fish, are neotenic salamanders that look like little tiny sea monsters. They are only found in Lake Xochimilco, within Mexico City. These amphibians measure between 6 to 18 inches but more commonly range from 9 to 12 inches. Axolotls come in various colors that range from white, pink, grey, black, and gold/yellow.

Unlike most amphibians that eventually outgrow their water phase and spend much of their adulthood on land, the axolotl spends the majority of its adult life in the water. The IUCN has listed the axolotl as critically endangered since 2006, and ecologists estimate that only about 1,000 of these creatures still remain in the wild.

Proboscis monkey

Proboscis monkey

15. Proboscis Monkey

The Proboscis monkey, also known as the long-nosed monkey, is found in the mangrove forests of the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. Male Proboscis monkeys have oversized noses that extend past their mouths. Female Proboscis monkeys have much smaller noses that resemble the Whos from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Another exceptional characteristic of this monkey is that it is habitually bipedal. In other words, these monkeys frequently walk on their hind legs. Extra-weirdly, very young Proboscis monkeys have blue faces.

Meishan pigs

Meishan pigs

14. Meishan Pigs

Meishan pigs are domestic pigs that weigh between 275 to 400 pounds. Females have large litters, between 15 to 22 piglets. They're extremely docile pigs, and I'm sure their personalities probably make up for a lot in the looks department.

This pig breed dates back thousands of years and comes from central China, from the countryside of Shanghai. It was a classic village pig for centuries and a valuable food supply. Only 1,600 purebred Meishan pigs exist today, with most of them under strict governmental control in China.

If an animal is sweet, even when technically physically ugly, the animal somehow becomes ugly-cute. Not to say that there aren't several pig breeds that are just straight-up cute, but I have to say without personality, Meishan pigs are probably what most people would call ugly.

Yangtze giant softshell turtle

Yangtze giant softshell turtle

13. Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle

The Yangtze giant softshell turtles are native to Southern China and Northern Vietnam. They are thought to be the largest freshwater turtle in the world. They can measure up to around 39 inches in length, and larger turtles can weigh 150 to 220 pounds.

Sadly, Yangtze giant softshell turtles are critically endangered, with only four living known specimens. One of these turtles lives at Suzhou Zoo, about 60 miles west of Shanghai, China. A failed attempt at artificial insemination was made in 2015. They might be unattractive, but that doesn't mean we should want them to go extinct!

Dong Tao chickens

Dong Tao chickens

12. Dong Tao Chicken

They're ugly and funny-looking with their crusty mega cankles. Dong Tao chickens, also known as dragon chickens, are Vietnamese chickens that are highly valued for their meat in Vietnam.

These chickens are endemic to the Dong Tao Commune in the Khoai Chau district not too far from Hanoi. They were originally bred to serve only the royal family and mandarins.

The Dong Tao chicken's feet are so big that it actually complicates the egg-hatching process, and breeders often have to assist hens in their laying.

Naked mole rat

Naked mole rat

11. Naked Mole Rat

If any animal should have never been naked, it's definitely the naked mole rat. They're so ugly, you'll almost wish you were blind.

Here are some interesting facts about these curiously hideous animals. Naked mole rats are found in East-Central Africa. Naked mole-rats lack the neurotransmitters that allow them to feel pain. These moles can live for up to 32 years.

Naked mole rats live in colonies of 20 to 300, and the average colony is usually around 75 miles. They feed mostly on large tuber plants. Naked mole-rats generally measure around 3 to 4 inches in length and weigh 1.1 to 1.2 ounces (30 to 35 grams), but queen naked mole-rats can weigh up to 1.8 ounces (50 grams).

An aye-aye

An aye-aye

10. Aye-Aye

Not to say that all Aye-Ayes are ugly animals, but most of the time, Aye-Ayes are one of the ugliest animals on Earth. Not only do they have disturbing faces, but their fingers are just as terrifying. Aye-Ayes, also known as long-fingered lemurs, are a type of lemur found in Madagascar.

Interestingly, the Aye-Aye's third finger is thinner than all of the rest, which actually enables this gangly lemur to eat its larvae-based diet by acting as a piercing hook. Their thin middle finger is also used to locate larvae in trees. They tap the tree and listen for a resonance that indicates the existence of insect tunnels.

Star-nosed mole

Star-nosed mole

9. Star-Nosed Mole

They're ugly, creepy, and these nasty moles look as though there should be a 1950s horror film made about them. The star-nosed mole is native to North America, but not many people know it exists because of its short, two- or three-year lifespan, which it mostly spends underground in burrows.

Star-nosed moles have around 22 fleshy appendages surrounding their noses, and they can even smell underwater. They have also received the title of fastest-eating mammal. The star-nosed mole can identify and consume food in as little as 120 milliseconds, and they average about 227 milliseconds to identify and consume their food.

Its fleshy appendages are known as "rays," each of which has 100,000 nerve endings—for comparison, the human hand only has about 17,000. The star-nosed mole's rays are therefore the most sensitive appendage in the entire animal kingdom. Further, the mole is able to detect seismic wave vibrations with these same, bizarre little feelers.

Sea pig

Sea pig

8. Sea Pig

Sea pigs, also known as Scotoplanes, are a genus of animal known as deep-sea sea cucumbers. Sea pigs are simple animals that technically don't even have brains. Sea pigs measure about 4 to 6 inches long. They usually live 3.7 miles below the ocean surface.

Due to their water-filled, extremely fragile bodies, sea pigs can completely disintegrate if brought up to the ocean's surface. This makes the creature especially difficult to study. In fact, the sea pig's lifespan is currently unknown, as is its breeding habits.

Finally, these strange creatures help protect baby king crabs, who catch rides on them for protection (the sea pig's skin is poisonous so predators tend to avoid them at all costs).

Northern elephant seal

Northern elephant seal

7. Northern Elephant Seal

The elephant seal gets its name from the large proboscis that abstractly resembles an elephant's trunk. Male elephant seals use their trunk-like snout to create threatening sounds to ward off potential competitors during mating season.

Northern elephant seals are found on the West coast of Mexico, the United States, Canada, and the Southern coast of Alaska. Commercial sealing almost killed off this species in the 19th century, but a small population survived in Mexico and was able to make a comeback.

Male elephant seals weigh between 3,300 pounds 5,100 pounds and measure 13 to 16 feet. On occasion, some males can weigh up to 8,200 pounds. In comparison, females weigh 880 to 1,980 pounds, and they range from 8.2 to 11.8 feet.

Horseshoe bat

Horseshoe bat

6. Horseshoe Bat

There are definitely several horseshoe bats in general that would qualify to rank in this spot as one of the top 25 ugliest animals in the world.

Since horseshoe bats are pretty similar to one another, I decided to give this shared spot to the greater horseshoe bat, the lesser horseshoe bat, the trefoil horseshoe bat, and other similar horseshoe bats.

Horseshoe bats are known carriers of coronaviruses. Strong similarities between coronavirus genomes in these bats and the genomes of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 have created the well-founded theory that such viruses may have originated in horseshoe bats before mutating and moving into the human population.

Eastern long-beaked echidna

Eastern long-beaked echidna

5. Eastern Long Beaked Echidna

It's one-of-a-kind creepy. The Eastern long-beaked echidnas, also known as Barton's long-beaked echidnas, live at elevations between 6,600 to 9,800 feet in New Guinea.

These insectivores weigh between 11 and 22 pounds and measure between 24 and 39 inches. The Eastern long-beaked echidnas and other echidnas are among the few egg-laying mammals on earth.

The IUCN considers this echidna to be a vulnerable population. Its current status has come about from a combination of logging, mining, farming, and hunting. It is a highly prized game animal, and some dogs are specially trained to hunt it.

Babirusas

Babirusas

4. Babirusa

Babirusas, also known as deer pigs, are a type of swine found on several Indonesian islands. These pigs almost look prehistoric. Male babirusas have numerous large curved tusks that are frightfully unattractive and pop out from their snout and sometimes extend back to their foreheads.

Babirusas are aggressive swine that are usually between 3 to 3.7 feet in length and weigh up to 220 pounds. They are omnivorous creatures that will eat almost anything, including mushrooms, bark, insects, fish, and even smaller babirusas.

A preserved specimen of giant isopod in the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, France

A preserved specimen of giant isopod in the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, France

3. Giant Isopod

Giant isopods literally look like they should be one of the supporting stars in an alien horror film. I wish I could un-see this disgusting bug-like animal, but sadly it's too late.

Giant isopods live in the ocean and can reach up to 20 inches. They are located in parts of the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific oceans and have 14 limbs, 4 mouths, and reflective eyes. Giant isopods truly are ugly monsters from the deep.

These alien creatures roam the deep seafloor, living off of various animal debris. They scavenge for falling pieces of crab, marine worms, fish, and marine snow. The giant isopod also uses little wing flaps on its shell's sides to flutter through the water. These are known as pleopods, and they actually also breathe with them!

Blobfish

Blobfish

2. Blobfish

Based on votes, the blobfish usually ranks as the number one ugliest animal on earth. This fish might look like the inbred half-cousin to blubber, but they're actually deep-sea fish that belong to the Psychrolutidae family.

Blobfish live 2,000 to 3,900 feet below sea level off of the coasts of Australia and Tasmania. To be fair, their bizarre, smushy features that appear in most photographs are actually the byproduct of depressurization. The blobfish has no skeleton, and it expands when coming up from the highly pressurized depths at which it lives, leaving it looking a bit pasty.

Angler fish

Angler fish

1. Angler Fish

Perhaps the scariest looking animal on Earth and definitely one of the ugliest, the angler fish can be found at depths as far as an incredible 4,836 feet below sea level.

The largest type of angler fish, known as Krøyer's deep-sea angler fish, have females that reach 3.9 feet long, and the males strangely only measure in at about 5.5 inches. There are various species of angler fish, and many of them are highly unattractive.

This bizarre breed has a light that extends from its head and acts as a lure to both attract prey and mates. Well, at least the females do. The males, as mentioned, are tiny, and spend most of their lives chasing, biting onto, and fertilizing the females' eggs.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 05, 2020:

There are certainly some unusual looking animals in our world! Thanks for the education about the ones you showed us.

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