Part of my unending fascination with nature is due to its diversity – despite years of reading, watching documentaries, visiting zoos and national parks and of course traveling all over the world, I have only come across a tiny percentage of the great cornucopia nature has to offer. I love the continued education I am getting, but sometimes, the new discoveries are odd, to say the least.
I have only seen one of the animals in this post and that was many years ago as a child visiting the Bronx Zoo on a regular basis. It is also, I think the most familiar of this post’s subject beasties. I’ll get to that red lipped fish in a moment, so be patient. All of the photos in this blog are from the internet, but someday I hope to add some of my own.
PLATYPUS – This mammal is extremely endangered and is endemic only to Australia and New Guinea. Like some other mammals we have explored in my posts, the platypus looks as though it was put together with a host of other animal parts and mannerisms:
- webbed feet
- egg laying mammal
- venomous stingers on the heels of the male’s back feet
- electroreceptors on its bill to detect muscle contractions of prey
- cheek pouches to store food since it has no teeth to chew, uses gravel to mash up food and then swallows everything
- lives in both freshwater and saltwater areas]
- bottom feeder for insects, worms, shellfish
- female lays eggs in a shoreline burrow- takes 10 days for eggs to hatch
FROGMOUTH – I am not sure why this next animal got its name – I don’t see it – but perhaps you will. Nevertheless it is a strange looking….bird! I think it looks more like a stocky owl. They do have a very wide hook tipped beak with which they catch insects and small reptiles so in mannerisms that might be considered frog like.
The frogmouth is another Australian animal – that country/island certainly has more than its fair share of strange looking creatures; Happily it also is not endangered – a rare feat these days. Other fun frogmouth facts:
- They are nocturnal hunters, with a diet consisting of insects, worms, snails, frogs, reptiles and other birds. They have huge mouths that help them catch their prey
- Like owls they have specialized feathers on their wings so they fly silently
- Frogmouths excel at sitting totally still so during the day, their coloring blends perfectly into tree’s bark and branches
- They mate for life and the male and female spend most of their time together.
BATFISH – Now for our headliner – the batfish. Of course its similarities to a bat which I will discuss in a moment can’t hold sway to the real shocking appearance – its bright, lipstick red, pouty, almost human like lips. Frankly it is not surprising that it is found in the Galapag, which like Australia is home to very unusual wildlife. Some batfish facts:
- They live is depths up to 250 feet
- Red lipped batfish are very poor swimmers – instead they walk on the ocean floor using the pectoral fins as feet
- As they mature the pectoral fins change and stick out like a spine, and it is thought that this attracts prey
- Similar to anglerfish, the batfish also has a growth on its head – called an illicium, which attracts prey, like a fishing rod. However to me it looks just like a long skinny nose
Truly a strange fish: