Ugly Animals

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. What seems appealing to one may appear unattractive to the other. Mother Nature has bestowed the earth with diverse fauna. Some of them, like the peacock and tiger, epitomize beauty. However, a few, such as the blobfish and naked mole rat, lack aesthetic appeal. While some of the animals that have made it to the list look weird because of their misshapen body, a few have an unattractive coloration that robs them of their grace and charm. Yet, it is essential to remember that all are gifts of nature, and the onus lies on us to conserve and take care of them well.

Ugliest Animals in the World

List of the Ugliest Animals in the World that Look Weird and Scary

1. Californian Condor

The California Condor has a featherless, wrinkled head with an unappealing, pinkish-gray coloration. Its bald appearance may not give it a photogenic look but functions as a necessary adaptation preventing blood clots from accumulating in the head when the condor inserts its head into the carcass to clean it up thoroughly. Contrary to its look, the condor, the largest of North America’s flying birds, is highly graceful during flight. 

2. Naked Mole Rat

Their wrinkled pink skin with minimum hair gives them a close-to-naked look. However, they aren’t entirely bare-bodied and have around a hundred hairs that function as whiskers to help them sense their surroundings. These rare rats are native to Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. They live in colonies underground and mostly remain in groups of around 80 moles.

3. Proboscis Monkey

Endemic to Southeast Asia’s Borneo island, the proboscis monkey is distinctly identified because of its elongated bulbous nose, which gives them a not-so-pleasing appearance. The male monkeys have longer noses than their female counterparts, surpassing their mouth and extending to their lips. Besides their nose, another identifying feature is the honking noise made mainly by the males in the group. Their swimming ability can’t go unmentioned; all credit goes to their webbed fingers and feet. In fact, these monkeys move so fast in water that they can often outswim crocodiles and other aquatic predators.

4. Star-nosed Mole

The tentacle-like star-shaped nose protruding from its mouth makes the star-nosed mole into the list of the ugliest animals in the world. The nose has around twenty-two fleshy appendages and over 25,000 tiny sensory receptors that help them easily travel underground. They possess excellent swimming skills and can stay underwater for around 30 minutes.

5. Aye-aye

This nocturnal lemur of Madagascar could instantly catch one’s attention because of its hairy body, bulging eyes, huge ears, and 2 feet long bushy tail. A closer look could also make one notice its long and thin middle finger, which it uses to tap on the branch’s top to search for wood-boring insects. They aren’t social and spend most of their lives solitarily.

6. Roti Island Snake Necked Turtle

Endemic to Indonesia’s Rote Island, these turtles have an odd appearance due to their long snake-like necks. Their necks are so big that they have trouble withdrawing them into their shells. Instead, they wrap it around the sides of their shells. They are one of the most sought-after turtles in the global pet trade, and their population is Critically Endangered. 

7. Horseshoe Bat

The horseshoe bat has a distorted look, and it gets its name from the nose leaves surrounding the nose that resemble a horseshoe. These specialized structures on their nose help them to track their surroundings and catch prey.

8. Elephant Seal

The males mostly pose a grotesque look because of their elongated noses, which resemble the trunks of elephants. However, the females lack such massive noses and are much more pleasant. The young males, too, don’t look as weird as their adult counterparts, as their nose doesn’t get fully developed before they are 8-9 years of age. Irrespective of how unattractive their nose makes them look, it serves several purposes. The males make a roaring sound using their noses during mating to drive off or fight against other males in the vicinity.

9. Hyena

The first look of the hyena could evoke a spooky, creepy feeling in many. Their big, intimidating eyes and patchy skin play the main culprit behind their uninteresting looks. A hyena’s high-pitched laughter heard in a stressful or conflicting situation has often been described as witch-like.

10. Marabou Stork

The marabou stork has a bald head, and an elongated reddish pouch hanging from the neck called the gular sac that contributes to its weird and scary look. The sac, however, isn’t used for storing food but serves as a mode of vocalization to emit grunts and other noises during mating rituals.

11. Vulture

Vultures are scavengers who love picking on carcasses more than anything else. This trait makes them smelly and dirty too. Of the 22 vulture species, the king vulture has quite a strange appearance because of the wattle extending from the wide nostrils.

12. Warthog

Warthogs belong to the pig family and have the typical pig nose. They even have four razor-like tusks which protrude from their mouth, wart-like projections on their face, and manes running from their spine and extending to the mid-back. The other features that add to their unimpressive appearance include their large disproportionate heads and bristled bodies. True, they aren’t the epitome of beauty, yet these physical features help them adapt well to the grassy habitat of the savannas and semi-desert areas.

13. Purple Frog

Purple is one unusual color for frogs to come in, which makes this species appear all the more unusual. Besides this, their bloated body, short and stout limbs, and slimy texture add to their oddness.

14. Monkfish

It has a big, flat head with small eyes, a gaping mouth, a slimy body, and sharp teeth pointed inward. Contrasting its scary look is the incredible taste that makes it a sought-after meat choice for many. 

15. Pufferfish

The pufferfish has a rounded head, tapered body, big stomach, and spiny skin sans the scales. They even have elongated teeth fused together to form a beak. These fish display a slow and clumsy gait while swimming but are quick enough to escape from their predators. They are even capable of swimming backward and changing directions with ease.

16. Yeti Crab

Their grayish-white body, whip-like appendages, and hairy filaments account for their not-so-good looks. They grow to about 6 inches and are preferred as a delicacy in certain parts around the globe.

17. Yellow Striped Tenrecs

Their black fur, covered with yellow stripes running to the sides of their body, perhaps gives them that strange look. In winter, they can drop their body temperatures according to their surroundings to conserve energy. However, during chilly weather, they mostly go into hibernation.

18. Hammer-headed Bat

These are the largest bats in Africa. The males are characterized by a square head, big lips hanging loosely, and a hammer-shaped nose. The female bats don’t look as intimidating as the males and have a fox-like head, shorter snout, and smaller lips. The big head of the males might not give them the desired look, but it serves a purpose. It helps them vocalize and attract females during a mating display.

19. Blue Glaucus

The blue glaucus is a sea slug with an entirely blue body that makes it look no less than a dragon, resulting in its alternate name, ‘blue dragon.’ It grows to around 3 inches and has a lifespan of about 2 years.

20. Titicaca Water Frog

Adding to their less enticing coloration is their highly wrinkled skin that helps these frogs in breathing when the water is freezing. When stressed or agonized, these frogs often secrete a sticky, white fluid to defend themselves from predators or any other danger.

21. Black Rain Frog

These frogs have brown or black bodies with widely-spaced granules on their back that look like tiny bumps. Their facial expression is such that it seems they are frowning all the time. This doesn’t mean they are sad or upset; it’s just how they look.

22. Axolotl

They might look more like fictional creatures than real one because of their odd features. This salamander species has a large head with gills that look like feathery structures popping out. Their mouth appears bent in a way that it seems they are grinning. Their unusual appearance is because of neoteny, a rare condition, due to which they carry the larval features into adulthood. Because of this, an adult axolotl looks more like a tadpole.

23. Red-Lipped Batfish

One of the main physical traits of this batfish that grabs attention right away is its bright, red lips against its grayish-brown body. The reason behind their red lips remains unknown, though scientists believe it is a ploy to attract mates. They aren’t good swimmers and prefer walking on the ocean floor.

24. Kakapo

Parrots have an attractive appearance because of their bright green plumage. However, the kakapo is an exception that looks more like an owl because of its facial features. No wonder early European settlers nicknamed it ‘owl parrot.’ Endemic to New Zealand, this nocturnal, flightless bird is the world’s largest parrot weighing as much as 13 pounds. 

25. Dugong

This huge marine mammal is indigenous to Australia, Africa, and South Asia. Their cylindrical, bulbous body gives them a distorted appearance. The dugong’s brownish-gray body doesn’t make it look enticing enough. Their broad, flat muzzle and horse-shoe-shaped upper lip add to their oddness.

26. Bald Uakari

A bald-headed monkey with a red face and orange fur is how the bald uakari looks. Their face has a reddish tinge that seems like someone smashed a tomato on them. However, the coloration is for a reason. These monkeys lack pigmentation on their skin, and the blood vessels close to the skin’s surface produce this color.

27. White-faced Saki  

The males mostly have the characteristic white face and a black furry body. Females look different than males. They are less hairy and have a brownish face. The young male monkeys look more like the females and develop a white color on their faces after 2 months of age, which gets more prominent as they mature.

28. Blobfish

These deep-sea fish living in the waters of Tasmania and New Zealand are gelatinous and bulbous since they lack a skeleton and scales. One look at them would give the impression of a slimy mess with two small eyes and a huge nose oddly fitted.

29. Sphynx Cat

The Sphynx cat deviates from the cute, fluffy kitties we mostly come across. They are hairless with wrinkled skin, sleek but muscular bodies, and big ears. Thus, it doesn’t fall under the choices of cats that most people would prefer to cuddle.

Quick Facts

Fat Ugly Animal: Blobfish

Ugliest Sea Animals: Elephant seal, Red-lipped batfish, Blobfish

Ugly Hairless Animals: Naked mole rat, Sphynx cat

Ugly Animals that are Endangered: Proboscis monkey, Kakapo, Titicaca water frog, Axolotl

Ugly African Animals: Marabou stork, warthog, hyena

Interesting Facts

  • The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a comedy night, was founded by Simon Watt in 2012 to raise the status of animals that lacked aesthetic beauty and were often deemed ugly. In each show, around 6-8, comedians got the opportunity to champion an ugly species. In the end, one species is elected through an audience vote. Blobfish was declared the society’s mascot in 2012 after being unanimously voted by people worldwide.