As Guy Boas put it in his hilarious poem, "The Vet," "To be a successful and competent vet / Needs a knowledge exceedingly wide! For each of the patients, he's likely to get / Possesses a different inside."
Mr. Boas was indeed onto something; there are literally hundreds of thousands of species on this planet, and almost nobody knows all of them. There are so many that naturalists had to develop whole systems for classifying, recognizing, and distinguishing them. This is called taxonomy, and it's the job of making sure all living things are clearly understood and placed within the tree of life.
Animals are only one branch of the great tree, and that branch splits again into many different sub-branches. Animals are ranked with those that are most like them genetically, those with whom they share a common ancestor, and those with whom they share specific characteristics, such as being warm-blooded or cold-blooded, bearing live young or laying eggs, reproducing sexually or not, and so on.
Among all of these neatly labeled creatures are some animals so weird and wonderful that you'd assume they hailed from mythology? But they're real, and we're here to test whether you can recognize them... from a single shot!
Yes, the glowing sea turtle truly glows! It does this by reflecting blue light, then re-emitting it in a different color. Would you like to see one? You'll need a scuba diving license, and a ticket to the Solomon Islands!
Did you know this scaly creature is one of the most hunted in the world? This could be because it one of the most unique and unusual animals in the world. It is the only mammal to be completely covered in scales, and its tongue can be over a foot long!
This creature is also known as the Mexican salamander, and is kept as a pet by some extreme aquarists. If you do take one in, be careful to have it in its own aquarium, as it will eat anything around it!
This scary-looking fish can be found in any ocean in the world, but it's likely you won't see it, since it lives 5,000 feet below the sea. Did you know it has chlorophyll in its eyes?
The Saiga antelope is critically endangered. Why? With the availability of off-road vehicles, poachers now have an easier time finding this rare animal.
'Electric' is the perfect way to describe this crayfish's color. It lives in the waters around Florida, and also can be kept as a pet in an aquarium!
Why the long face dugong? It could be scheming about how to get away from its predator, the shark, or thinking about what sea grass it's going to munch on for dinner!
This bony fish lives in freshwater only, and is unique in looks and in luck! This fish is considered to bring good luck. Catch one and see if you win the lottery!
This spider is definitely distinct from all other spiders with its two long spines protruding from its small body. The spines are thought to be used to look more intimidating to potential predators.
Don't mess with this crocodile; it loves to eat and can be up to 550 pounds! Its thin, long snout gives it the ability to be a sneaky predator because it can swing its head totally sideways to quickly catch another animal.
This small, flying critter looks like a very interesting cross between a butterfly, moth and hummingbird. It can be found in parts of North Africa and Southern Europe.
This creature is also known as the 'thorn bug,' probably due to the large cone-like thorn shape of its back. Did you notice how close together its eyes are?
This fish's distinct facial features really do make it look like it has an elephant trunk! It comes from the Niger River in western Africa, and the 'nose' is actually a part of its mouth.
This fuzzy little critter looks like a large, fluffy bumble bee! Did you know that tenrecs are only found in Madagascar?
Now that's a big nose! This frightening-looking shark is as fierce as it looks. It can push its jaw out of its mouth to surprise attack prey!
The NGT is found in estuaries in New Guinea and in some rivers near the Gulf of Papua. Its distinct black and yellow stripes also make it a popular aquarium pet.
These small, aquarium fish come in flamboyantly bright colors. They take in light, and then re-transmit it, giving them the glow effect.
These whales are elusive creatures, and humans do not know too much about them. This could be because they live almost 1,000 feet below sea level.
This unusual looking whale is known for the long, thin tusk protruding from its face. Did you know the tusk is actually a tooth?
Can you believe the voice of the bearded seal can be heard from 12 miles away? It's true! This type of seal likes to talk. Word must travel fast among this group!
How does this whale feel being called a melon head? Hard to say, but its head is truly in the shape of a large melon. Their big heads gives them room to fit more teeth than that of any other blackfish!
This remarkable creature is stunning in color and physique. Did you know they are used as a sushi topping?
This critter can be found in the waters of the Galapagos Islands. It is known for its bright red lips, that really stand out from its pale body. Who put lipstick on that little fish?
The peppered cory is a type of catfish that can be kept as a pet in aquariums and is found in the wild. Where in the wild can it be found? In the rivers and small bodies of water of Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.
This bird looks like it's ready to party with its bright, festive feathers coming out from its head. Don't worry, they stay safe from predators by living in tree branches that hang over the water, so other animals can't get to them.
This tiny bat has a leaf-like nose and likes to rest in leaves. It was discovered over 100 years ago, in 1892.
This little piggy crawls around the ocean floor and eats leftovers, just like a regular pig. Their outer body is almost transparent, and they can be found in any ocean.
This cute little armadillo is the smallest of all armadillos. It weighs just a pound and is actually pink. It also goes by the name 'Pichiciego.'
Whatever you do, do not disturb one of these unusual creatures. When disturbed, it rages into a devil-like manic!
This little creature, also called the thorny devil, can be found in Australia. It is super-spiky and its body color matches its desert surroundings.
This water mammal is going extinct, which is surprising since it was discovered not long ago, in 1958.
Did you know this whale can swim up to 31 miles per hour? It is one of the fastest cetaceans!
This strange-looking pig has horns coming out of its mouth and between its eyes. It can be spotted in the Indonesian islands, specifically in swamps and rainforests.
This stocky, crane-like, prehistoric bird is known for being a vicious killer. What's the reason behind this bird looking so unique? Probably because it has evolved over centuries to be able to survive in its isolated habitat in Africa.
This rodent has distinct physical features, with its huge ears, long, skinny tail and kangaroo feet. Where can you find these cuties? You'll have to search in hot deserts in Northern Africa and Asia to find one.
Pacus are omnivorous fish that live in South American waters. Their uniqueness comes from their human-looking teeth!
This little fish has the same coloring as a panda, but is much, much smaller. It gets to be 2-3 inches long, while the panda bear can be up to 6 feet long. They do both live in China though!
The sun fish is also called the mola, and is a super heavy fish. Can you believe it can weigh up to 2,200 pounds? That's a lot of fish!
Also known as the anta, this creature is related to the Malayan tapir, Mountain tapir, and rhinoceros. It is a good swimmer, and lives near water.
Did you know that this unusual creature eats meat? It's a carnivore that uses its tongue to catch its prey.
The Venezuelan poodle moth is true to its name; it looks like a fuzzy insect! Did you know it was just discovered in 2009?
The Bathynomus giganteus, or the giant isopod, is the largest of all isopods. It is a sort of vacuum for the bottom of the sea floor, as it is a scavenger that eats whatever falls down. Bodies of whales, fish and any other specimens are what it munches and crunches on!
This is a very unique looking creature with its thin, long neck, skinny front legs and muscular, powerful back body. It lives in the eastern part of Africa, specifically in dry areas.
The Moonlight Gourami truly glows like a full moon with its pale, iridescent body. It grows to be 5 inches long.
These tiny fish grow to be just 4 centimeters long, and are known for their bright, flashy colors. Their life span gets cut in half when they live in an aquarium versus the wild.
The name of this fish describes it exactly, as it has one shade of color ... bright blue! Its face and nose even look like a parrot. A few of them have been found that are up to almost 4 feet long!
The okapi would be an interesting sight to see in the Ituri Forest where they hide from humans! This animal looks like a mix between a zebra and a giraffe, with its black and white striped legs and long neck.
This fishy can be up to half a foot long, and has a puffy white belly. Its back is a vibrant green with black dots.
This pretty fish can grow to be 6 inches, and comes from the Amazon river basin. Don't be fooled by its name. This fish is no angel. It will feast on any shrimp or meat you feed it!