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In Photos: The World's Freakiest Looking Animals

Naked mole rat


(Image credit: Rochelle Buffenstein/City College of New York)

From dreadful dragonfish to bizarre bats and alarming axolotls, here are some of the freakiest creatures that walk, fly or swim the Earth.

African naked mole rats live underground and never come out. They are blind and smelly, with no fur and giant buckteeth. Yet while they're unpleasant to look at, these cold-blooded mammals are very gentle by nature and rarely act aggressively towards humans.

Two-headed turtle


(Image credit: Captain Nemo's Aquarium)

A rare example of conjoined turtle twins, this two-headed, red-eared slider turtle is named Limerick and lives at the Captain Nemo's Aquarium pet store in East Norriton, Pa. A manager of the store bought the creature from an exotic-turtle collector in 2007. While the turtle swims a bit awkwardly, it is otherwise healthy, the owner said.

Wrinkle-faced bat


(Image credit: Rolf Muller, Shandong University)

This Central American bat looks old, even as a baby. But in fact, the wrinkles are a useful part of its anatomy, a recent study found. Apparently the intricate grooves and flaps around its nostrils help the creature's sonar sense of echo-location.



(Image credit: Bristol Zoo Gardens)

This creature sits firmly on both sides of the fence: undeniably creepy, yet totally adorable too. Unfortunately, these bat-eared lemurs have their appearance working against them in their native Madagascar. The odd-looking creature is considered a bad omen by many indigenous inhabitants of the island and is often killed on sight. This one, called Kintana, was born at the England's Bristol Zoo Gardens.



(Image credit: Dr. Julian Finn, Museum Victoria)

This fierce-looking deep-sea dweller has to forage for dinner in the dark depths of the ocean, so its fangs come in handy to grab on to prey. Even the fish's tongue has razor-like teeth.



(Image credit: Justin Rosenberg, Connecticut College)

These salamanders are native only to two lakes in central Mexico. Because one of these lakes has been drained, and the other is polluted and diminished, axolotls are considered critically endangered in the wild. Because of their special ability to regenerate body parts, they are popular as research subjects in the lab. Here a green fluorescent protein lights up an axolotl under blue light.

Tube-nosed fruit bat


(Image credit: © Piotr Naskrecki, Conservation International)

While this guy's pretty cute, too, there's definitely a sinister aspect to its Yoda-like stare and horns. The bat species was discovered in Papua New Guinea, and is thought to play an important role in dispersing seeds in the forest.

Clara Moskowitz
Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written for both Space.com and Live Science.