Top 20 Ugly Animals That Are Cute…


Top 20 Ugly Animals That Are Cute…

Bohol Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier (Carlito syrichta), one of the smallest primates. This one is about 5 inches long with a tail longer than its body. Photo taken in Bohol, Philippines. By mtoz cc2.0

Animals come in different sizes and appearances, which are often adaptations to the environment they live in. Some are among the ugliest animals of the world, hideous, disgusting or frightening. Others are so cute and adorable you almost want to bring them home and cuddle them all day. Then there are those in between. Here are some of the world’s ugly cute animals that will make you squeal — with delight.

20. Panda Ant

Velvet ant. Mutillidae. Ronisia barbarula
Velvet ant. Mutillidae. Ronisia barbarula by gailhampshire cc2.0

An ant that looks like a panda? Now, this might be hard to believe. However, panda ants do exist. They are actually not ants, but wingless, hairy wasps. When they are red they are called velvet ants, but when they are black and white they are called panda ants, because they look just like the giant panda, except much smaller, of course. Don’t pick them up if you see them, though, as these ugly, cute animals can deliver quite a nasty bite!

Velvet ants (also known as mutillidae) are featured in the following book:
25 Beastly Bugs and Insects

19. Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar

Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor
Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor by Dave McLear cc2.0

Often, baby animals look better than adults, but in the case of the elephant hawk moth, the opposite is true. Elephant hawk moths are quite beautiful, with large wings and shades of gold and pink. The caterpillar, however, is a different story, looking like a detached elephant’s trunk, or a snake with four eyes. At first glance, you might just be forced to take a step back, though once you overcome your fear, you can safely hold it in your hand.

18. Kakapo

kakapo by jidanchaomian cc2.0

One look at the kakapo and you might not believe that it’s a parrot. After all, it looks more like a fat chicken! It is, however, the world’s only flightless parrot, and the largest one. It can weigh up to 9 pounds (4 kilograms), has a large beak and strong legs, which it uses to walk long distances every night and even to climb trees.

Kakapos are featured in the following books:
25 Nocturnal Animals
101 Facts… Parrots

17. Horseshoe Bat

Horseshoe Bat
Rhinolophus hipposideros Lesser Horseshoe Bat in France by Alexandre Roux cc2.0

This bat gets its name from its horseshoe-shaped nose, which helps it to focus the signals it emits during echolocation. It also has broad, round wings which it wraps completely around itself when sleeping, like a vampire.

Also see:
Vampire Bat

16. Dumbo Octopus

grimpoteuthis discoveryi dumbo octopus
One of the rare finned octopods known as “Dumbos” collected on the summer 2009 MAR-ECO cruise.

Living on the sea floor in the depths of the ocean, the dumbo octopus gets its name from the large fins on the top of its head, which look like elephant ears. The dumbo octopus relies on these ears to swim, flapping them when it needs to float upward, much like Dumbo’s flying ears. The dumbo octopus has short tentacles, which, when spread out, look like an umbrella. When catching prey, it simply pounces, trapping the hapless creature and slowly eating it alive.

Dumbo octopus is featured in these books:
25 Weirdest Animals in the World
Alien of the Deep – the Octopus!
25 Deep Sea Creatures

15. Emperor Tamarin

Black Chinned Emperor Tamarin
The Mustachioed Monkey by Kevin Barrett cc2.0

Apart from animals with long noses, long legs and long eyes, animals with mustaches are considered odd and, well, ugly. The emperor tamarin, unfortunately, has one of the most prominent mustaches in the animal world. While it is black or brown, its mustache is white and longer than its face, curling toward the edges.

14. Celestial Eye Goldfish

group of celestial goldfish
group of celestial goldfish. Photo by Michelle Jo cc3.0

From an animal with long legs, we go to an animal with large eyes — the celestial eye goldfish. It is a fancy breed of goldfish with bulging eyes on the top of its head that are constantly looking up, and slender bodies with two tails. So every time you look at your aquarium, you can be sure it will be watching you. A little creepy, perhaps, but a goldfish is a goldfish.

13. Four-Toed Jerboa

Photo taken by Yok

When it isn’t hopping, the four-toed jerboa is as cuddly as they come. It is tiny, has soft fur, beadlike eyes and long, slender ears. It looks just like a miniature rabbit, in fact. Once it starts hopping, though, you’ll start to find it odd. After all, its hind legs are longer than its body, yet are very thin, making it seem like it’s on stilts. It also has a very long tail, which can grow twice the size of its body.

12. Cuban Solenodon

Hispaniolan Solenodon
Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus) by Seb az86556 cc3.0

A solenodon? You’ve probably never heard of this animal before. After all, it is very rare. The Cuban solenodon, in particular, was once thought to be extinct, and can now be found only in Cuba. It is a fascinating animal, though, as it is one of the few venomous mammals. It looks just like a shrew with a long snout and a long, scaly tail. Ignore the snout and it looks just like a large brown rat, the kind wizards keep as pets.

11. Baby Aardvark

Aardvark and juvenile
Aardvark mother and young (Aardvark and juvenile) by Scotto Bear cc2.0

The aardvark looks like a small anteater with a long snout, a long tail and long ears. It may look a little awkward but as a baby, it is just as cute as any other. Aardvarks are born with floppy ears and wrinkled skin. As they get older, their ears become more upright and the wrinkles disappear — talk about aging in reverse! Baby aardvarks are able to dig their own burrows by the time they are six months old, but stay with their mothers until they are two years old.

10. Sphynx Cat

Sphynx kitten
Sphynx kitten, 12 weeks, 2005. Photo credit: M.M.Minderhoud cc3.0

If there is a hairless dog, then there is also a hairless cat — the Sphynx. Although not truly hairless, the Sphynx has no visible coat, so you can see its wrinkly grey or pink skin. It also has large ears and eyes, which give it a startling appearance. Get to know it, however, and you’ll find that the Sphynx is lovable, since it is intelligent and affectionate, sometimes even coming to the door to greet its owners. Put a shirt on it and you can find it just as cuddly as any other cat!

Sphynx Cats are featured in this book:
25 Weirdest Animals in the World!

9. Chinese Crested Dog

Hairless Chinese Crested dog
Hairless Chinese Crested dog. Zucci High Virtue – Indy (2004-2011). Photo taken by Tommy Gildseth cc3.0

From an animal with a lot of unexpected fur, we go to an animal which unexpectedly has little fur. That’s the hairless Chinese crested dog, which is consistently voted to be the world’s ugliest dog. Indeed, the only thing uglier than a hairless Chinese crested dog is: a hairless Chinese crested dog with pimples, and boy, do they get big ones, because their skin is constantly exposed to dust and bacteria. With smooth skin and well-combed hair sweeping across its face, though, it can still be cute.

8. Yeti Crab

Kiwa hirsuta
Image credit: Wanida.w cc3.0

Most of the time, we associate “furry” with “cute”. Bet you never thought a crab could be furry, though. The yeti crab, which was just discovered in 2005, is just that. It is a light golden color, with silky hair covering its legs and large pincers, so much that only the tips are showing. The hair is believed to be more than decorative — it helps filter out the toxins from the water where the crab lives.

7. Proboscis Monkey

Proboscis Monkey in Borneo by David Dennis

The proboscis monkey has an even longer, more outrageous nose than the tapir, which can hang lower than its mouth, making it sometimes look like it doesn’t even have a mouth. Males particularly have large noses, which is believed to amplify the mating calls they make to females. Aside from their big noses, proboscis monkeys also have large bellies, which flop when they hit the water. Indeed, these ugly, cute animals like to swim. In fact, they swim so much, they have developed webbed feet.

Proboscis Monkey is featured in this book:
25 Apes and Monkeys

6. Tapir

Mountain Tapir
Mountain Tapir. Photo Credit: David Sifry cc2.0

Found in South America, Central America and Southeast Asia, tapirs look somewhat like a cross between a pig and an elephant or an anteater. They have rounded bodies like pigs and long snouts like anteaters, which they can move in all directions, like elephants. Another thing unusual about tapirs is their long toes — four on the front feet and three on the back, which help them walk across the mud. Tapirs come in various colors, including reddish brown, light brown, and black and white, but all young tapirs have coats with spots and stripes for camouflage. Cute!

Tapirs are featured in the following book:
25 Amazon Rainforest Animals

5. Pangolin

Pangolin, Manis javanica. Licensed under the GFDL by Piekfrosch.

The pangolin is covered in hard, overlapping scales, making it look somewhat like a dried artichoke. Anyone would look ugly covered in those. The pangolin, however, has a special trick — it can curl itself up into a tight ball when threatened so that only its tail is left sticking out to lash at predators. Who said Pokemons weren’t real?

Pangolins are featured in the following book:
25 Nocturnal Animals

4. Axolotl

Axolotl 155305369

All babies are cute and axolotls stay babies forever. Well, sort of. The axolotl is the only amphibian that becomes an adult without taking an adult form. Instead, it stays in the water for the rest of its life and retains its gills so it looks just like a large tadpole, a large tadpole with healing superpowers, that is. Indeed, axolotls can regenerate various parts of their bodies, even parts of their brains, and they readily accept transplants from other creatures, growing these organs to full size and functionality.

Axolotls are featured in the following books:
25 Endangered Animals
25 Weirdest Animals in the World!

3. Tarsier

Bohol Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier (Carlito syrichta), one of the smallest primates. This one is about 5 inches long with a tail longer than its body. Photo taken in Bohol, Philippines. By mtoz cc2.0

Imagine shining your flashlight on a tree and having two large glowing eyes stare back at you. Creepy, isn’t it? Indeed, the tarsier’s eyes are as large as its brain and are fixed in its skull. It also has long fingers with which it clings to tree branches while waiting for food. Forget about the eyes and the fingers, though — and the long, thin tail — and you have a cuddly teddy bear, one that can easily fit in your arms or even in your hands.

Tarsiers are featured in the following book:
25 Nocturnal Animals

2. Dugong

Exposição Jardins Marinhos by ASCOM Prefeitura de Votuporanga cc2.0

The dugong is also called the sea cow, not only because it’s fat but because it grazes on underwater grasses using its downturned snout and horseshoe-shaped upper lip. For its large body, it has very small eyes and no external ears. It also has large front fins but no hind ones, instead having a tail like a dolphin’s, which is why it is believed to have inspired the legend of the mermaid. Alright, so maybe it’s far from the slim, stunning mermaid we know from books, but dugongs still are cute.

Dugongs are featured in the following book:
25 Whales, Dolphins and other Sea Mammals

1. Star-Nosed Mole

Star-nosed mole
Star-nosed mole gordonramsaysubmissions cc2.0

One look at the star-nosed mole and you’ll wonder, “What’s that on its face?” After all, the twenty-two tentacles around its snout are this creature’s most prominent feature. In spite of its name, the tentacles do not act like a nose or an extra hand but in fact, function more as the mole’s eyes. Its real eyes, after all, are so poorly developed it’s almost blind. The tentacles are very sensitive and within just 8 milliseconds of touching something, the star-nosed mole can tell whether or not it is edible.

Star-Nosed Moles are featured in this following book:
25 Weirdest Animals in the World!

What do you know?

Think you remember what you’ve read? Try out the Ugly But Cute Animals Quiz!


Did we get it right or wrong?

Is this the right order? What do you think? Scroll down to the comments and let us know what order these ugly creatures should be in – or if we’ve missed something hideous!

25 Weirdest Animals in the World!


Click here to view the complete list of sources…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here