There is a saying that goes, “we know more about space than we do about our oceans” given that the pressure in the ocean will certainly crush any vessel that you attempt to take with you, we can believe this statement.
But what about the inhabitants of this Earth, and we’re not talking about the variety of humans, we’re talking animal kingdom and some animals you’ve never even heard of.
Referred to as a living fossil the Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) is one of the scariest things that could brush up against you in the ocean.
The descendant of the family Mitsukurinidae which is 125 million years old the Goblin Shark spends its days hunting for crustaceans and other deep sea fish.
The fish/shark hunts by sensing electrical impulses that its prey gives off and then reaches out for said prey by, sit down before you read this, rapidly extending its jaws.
Yip, this creature reaches out by pushing its jaws forward even though it can grow to a whopping 3 metres in length.
Want to avoid this creature? Stay out of deep seas around South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan and pretty much anywhere the oceans goes deeper than 270 metres.
Staying in the ocean, or in the case of this crab, near the ocean we introduce you to the Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) the largest land based arthropod (animals without a spine but have an exoskeleton) weighing up to 4kgs and measuring 1 metre in length.
The Coconut Crab has developed lungs so that it is able to survive on land because unlike other crabs and sea dwelling creatures it doesn’t have gills. This means that putting this crab (though why you would want to touch it is beyond me) back in the ocean would kill it.
This crustacean can live for as long as 60 years while enjoying a diet of fruit, nuts, seeds and it will climb coconut trees to get coconuts to open and eat the flesh. There are cases of Coconut Crabs eating meat from dead creatures but these are rare instances.
Want to avoid this creature? Avoid any island in the Indian Ocean, especially Australia and Madagascar.
Ok enough of the sharks and exoskeletons lets talk about something cute.
The Slow Loris (Lori bengalensis) is a primate that is closely related to the lemur family. They have been popularised through viral videos on Youtube and it’s not hard to see why.
Their large eyes round head and unique colouration make it impossible not to say “awwww” but there is a dark side to these cute little creatures. Their bite is toxic.
Slow lorises have a gland on their arm which when licked combines with their saliva to form a toxic substance which is meant to deter predators such as eagles, orangutans and bears.
Want to own one? You can’t.
Slow lorises are identified as a Vulnerable and Endangered species. With the rise in urban development the habitat of the Slow loris is declining quickly, especially in China where it is a native.
Add that to illegal animal trading and you have a recipe for extinction.
While there are a number of conservation causes attempting to save the Slow loris the future of this species appears grim given the amount of damage that has already been done to the species.
Say hello to the second lemur cousin on our list, the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) although unlike the Slow loris the aye-aye isn’t what we would call, cute.
The aye-aye is the largest nocturnal primate in the world and it has a very unique way of gathering the bugs it likes.
The aye-aye taps on trees to find the grubs and then proceeds to gnaw a hole into the tree before slipping its specially adapted slender middle finger into the hole to harvest its dinner.
The aye-aye can grow up to 1 metre long with its tail usually being as long as its body.
The aye-aye is classified as Near Threatened given that it can only be found on the island of Madagascar where the locals see the aye-aye as a sign that evil spirits are approaching and as a result kill the poor thing on site.
We wish we could tell you all about every weird creature we found but we can’t but here are some pictures of animals we found fascinating!