Any nature lover will tell you the planet is home to a myriad of beautiful, elegant, truly majestic animal species. But hey, they can’t all be lookers. That’s the mantra of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, an organization that sheds a spotlight on “Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children”. UAPS recently held an online contest to generate votes for the world’s ugliest creature. The winners were announced earlier this month; we’ve listed the top (bottom?) five below, along with information about where you can see these hideous organisms firsthand.
No. 5: Proboscis Monkey
One of Asia’s largest native primate species, an adult proboscis typically weighs between 15 and 30 pounds ― and the generous nose that gave the monkey its name can reach a length of four inches. Like just about everything else that’s long and ugly in the animal kingdom, males use their noses to attract mates ― but for the record, female proboscis also pack a fairly sizable schnoz. This species is currently listed as ‘endangered’.
Where they’re found: Proboscis monkeys are native to the island of Borneo, and are most commonly found in coastal areas and near rivers.
No. 4: Titicaca Water Frog
Scientists refer to this South American critter as Telmatobius culeus, but you can call it the “aquatic scrotum frog.” The unsavory nickname comes from excessive layers of skin, which allow the frog to breathe at high altitudes. The Titicaca water frog is also one of the world’s largest solely aquatic frogs; the largest specimens found in the wild have measured more than 20 inches in diameter. The IUCN currently lists this species as ‘critically endangered’.
Where they’re found: As the name suggests, they are exclusively native to South America’s largest lake.
No. 3: Axolotl
Faintly resembling a creature you might see in a Tool music video, the axolotl (aka Mexican salamander) is neotenic, which means they sexually mature without exhibiting any signs of bodily morphism; this evolutionary trait allows them to remain in the water their entire lives. They also have the ability regenerate limbs, and are known to be cannibals.This species is also listed by the IUCN as ‘critically endangered’, and currently faces extinction
Where they’re found: Axolotl are kept as pets all over the world, but they are exclusively native to central Mexico’s Lake Xochimilc; populations were also observed in nearby Lake Chalco before that body of water was completely drained in 1970s..
Large and in charge, the kakapo is the only nocturnal member of the parrot family (hence the moniker, ‘night parrot’). The bird is also a flightless ground-dweller characterized by bright green plumage and a curious, relatively friendly nature (as far as avian species go, anyway). Once a central figure in Maori mythology, the kakapo was all but eradicated when New Zealand was colonized and the animals these visitors brought (namely cats and dogs) made quick, easy meals out of them. They are listed as ‘critically endangered’; at present, it’s believed that fewer than 150 live in the wild.
Where they’re found: The majority of living kakapo are dispersed across the western coastline of New Zealand’s South Island, but they’ve been spotted in inland areas of North Island, as well.
How could this Krang-like lump of gills not be crowned the winner of this anti-beauty pageant? Naturally, the blobfish’s hideous visage serves a biological purpose; its gelatinous body is actually less dense than water, allowing the animal to float above the seafloor (like an angel) without using up energy. Last year, the blobfish earned the title of ‘most miserable-looking fish’ ― but this might simply be because the animal is currently facing extinction due to over-fishing.
Where they’re found: If you’ve got SCUBA skills, the blobfish is known to dwell in deep waters (200-800 meters) off the coast of Tasmania, mainland Australia, and New Zealand.
By Brad Nehring