With millions of species of animals, the planet Earth has incredibly diverse natural world. Some animals like the tiny black ant and cats are particularly common while others are extremely rare. Rarity could be due to different reasons.
Some species are on the verge of extinction because they have been hunted down and/or because their natural habitat has been destroyed by human activity. Others have only recently been discovered or described. Let’s check out the rarest animals on our planet.
1. Amur Leopard
The latest data shows that there are around 70 Amur leopards left in the world. They live in the Russian far east in a province called Primorsky Krai which is close to the Chinese border.
These big, dangerous, and absolutely stunning cats are the only ones of their kind living in a climate with low temperature and snowfall. It is a sad fact that they have been poached for centuries and that their habitat has been greatly reduced due to agricultural and industrial development.
2. Sumatran Rhinoceros
This species is critically endangered and very close to extinction so we may be the last generation to see it alive. Previously, it was spread throughout Southeast Asia, but now it can be found only in a few national parks on Sumatra and in Malaysia including the Kerinci Seblat National Park and Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
The Sumatran rhinoceros is the smallest of its kind. It has two horns with the front nasal one being longer and sharper. They defend their territory through fighting, which can be fierce at times.
3. Western Lowland Gorilla
This one of the subspecies of Western gorilla lives in Central Africa and is classified as critically endangered primarily due to the shrinking size of its natural habitat. This is the smallest gorilla species, but it is still extremely strong.
There are major differences between the physical features of males and females. Males have grey hair on the back and rump with the greying increasing as they become older. This is the reason why they are often referred to as silverbacks.
This animal is the most endangered cetacean in the world with only 100 left in 2014. It has traditionally been one of the rarest species of porpoise. It has been found only in the northern section of the Gulf of California.
They are easily distinguished from other porpoises by the black rings around their eyes and the black line which goes from their nose to the dorsal fin. They look as if they wear makeup and this makes them particularly adorable.
5. The Little Dodo Bird
Formally known as tooth-billed pigeon, this bird is found only in Samoa and is currently critically endangered. It is also the national bird of the country.
It is referred to as The Little Dodo Bird because it is a close relative of the famous Dodo Bird which has been extinct for over four centuries due to hunting.
The tooth-billed pigeon is actually a gorgeous medium-sized bird with distinctive beak, grey head and neck with blue and green nuances and wings and tail in red.
6. Bamboo Lemur
This cute mid-sized primate also known as gentle lemur is found only in the rainforests of Madagascar. It feeds on bamboo and this is where it has got its name from. One interesting thing is that it is still not known how this animal is able to process the cyanide found in bamboo without any consequences for its health and wellbeing.
There are about only 100 individuals left, unfortunately. The short muzzle and round and hairy ears make these primates quite adorable.
7. Leatherback Sea Turtle
This is the biggest of all turtles on Earth right now. It is also takes the fourth spot in the list of the heaviest reptilians while the first three are taken by crocs. The average length of adults is between 6.0 and 7.2 feet while they weigh from 550 to 1,540 pounds on average.
Their flippers can be as long as 8.9 feet. Another unique thing about these reptiles is that they are able to keep their body temperature high.
8. Elephant Shrew
These small creatures, found primarily in the southern part of Africa, have very distinctive nose which looks a lot like the trunk of an elephant. This is how they got their name in English.
One interesting fact is that these animals actually do not go into the same class as other shrews which are quite similar to them, but into a separate one which is actually linked to elephants. With an average size of just 5.9 inches, the elephant shrews are very small, but quite fast at the same time.
9. Chinese Giant Salamander
This animal is a true giant indeed. It is not only the biggest salamander on Earth. It is the biggest of all amphibian species. It can be as much as 5.9 feet long and weigh way over 60 pounds. Some distinctive features of the species include flat head, wide mouth, small eyes, wrinkly skin and speckled or mottled pattern.
As its name suggests, this animal is found in China and more specifically in the south-west and southern part of the country. It is now critically endangered.
10. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
This is one of the biggest woodpeckers in the world. It is around 20 inches long while its wings can span to some 30 inches. It lives in the southeastern part of the United States, but is spotted very rarely.
Right now, it is quite close to extinction. This bird is black in color, but has distinctive white markings which are unique for it. Male adults have an easily recognizable red crest.
11. Indian Purple Frog
As its name hints, this unique frog lives only in India and more specifically in the Western Ghats. It received its formal description only in 2003, but is already classified as endangered.
The round bloated body, small head, peculiar snout and very pronounced purple color all make this frog quite easy to recognize on pictures. You will be lucky if you get the chance to meet it up close and personal.