Weird and wonderful animals that defy laws of nature – from cyclops shark to ‘penis pig’
Snakes with feet, albino kangaroos and rabbits the size of dogs – these weird and wonderful creatures really must be seen to be believed.
Just this week, a vet came across “one of the oddest things” they’d ever seen, as a cow looked back at them with no less than three eyes.
Malan Hughes came across the unusual calf while testing cattle for tuberculosis at a farm in Gwynedd, Wales.
“Vets tend to see all sorts of things – cyclops lambs and animals born with two heads – but I have never seen anything like this before,” Malan said.
“From the outside the extra eye looks fine. It has eyelids and eyelashes, and it is moist too, as if some kind of lubricant is being secreted.”
But where does the all-seeing cow rank among the world’s strangest animals? Here are some of the most bizarre creatures Mother Nature has to offer.
Snake with a foot
It’s enough of a surprise to wake up to see a snake climbing your bedroom wall at night – but grandmother Dean Qiongxiu was even more shocked to find this one had an extra leg.
The 66-year-old spotted the reptile in 2009 clinging to the wall with its talons and was so scared she grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death before preserving its body in a bottle of alcohol.
The snake, which was 16 inches long and as thick as a little finger, was then sent to be studied at the Life Sciences Department at China’s West Normal University in Nanchang, where experts were baffled by what caused the mutation.
This albino kangaroo was homed at Vogelpark in Marlow, Germany – and sticks out for his unusual white fur.
The rare animal, named Albert, was born with a genetic mutation in 2011 and would have faced a fight to survive in the wild as the species’ traditional grey fur helps them to blend into the landscape.
In 2013, another young albino kangaroo was spotted at Namadgi National Park near Canberra in Australia, but rangers kept her location a secret, fearing she could be targeted by hunters.
Cat with wings
You’ve heard of a cat flap – but maybe not quite like this.
This flighty feline cause the attention of Chinese locals after they spotted “wings” growing from its back during a spell of warm weather – bamboozling vets who noticed they even contained bones.
A local cat owner told local media: “At first they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings.”
Geneticists attribute the growth to a skin condition, but reports of cats with wings date back to the late 1800s, with some also featuring super-elasticated skin.
‘Penis’ pig with human face
China’s grim air pollution problems have been blamed for a string of deformities over the years – none more so than this poor piglet.
The young creature, discovered in 2014, appeared to have both a human face, while locals also noticed a phallus-shaped growth protruding from its forehead.
The phenomenon isn’t limited to China though, with a Scottish farmer coming across a creature with similar deformities the following year.
“When I went in this morning I seen it lying there and I immediately thought ‘I’ve seen that in the paper,” he said.
“I wanted people to see that these things happen in Scotland too.”
This one-eyed albino shark gave fishermen a fright after they trawled it up off the coast of Mexico.
The alien-like creature was found inside the belly of a pregnant dusky shark in 2001.
It was believed to have a congenital condition called cyclopia, which occurs in several animal species, including humans.
However, the condition has never been found in adult sharks, as it would be unlikely they would survive in the wild.
World’s largest killer croc
Sometimes size matters – just ask Lolong, at one point the world’s largest captive crocodile.
The terrifying six-metre beast was hunted for three weeks in the Philippines in 2011 after reportedly killing a local, but his astonishing size turned his into a tourist attraction.
The giant reptile, which weighed more than 1,000kg, was kept at an eco-park and formally declared the world’s largest croc in captivity by Guinness World Records.
Lolong eventually died in 2013 after keeling over with a bloated stomach, before being declared dead several hours later.
Rabbit the size of a dog
Not all big beasts have to be terrifying though, as this enormous Flemish Giant rabbit proves.
Three-year-old Bugsy was pictured at Llys Nini Animal Centre in Swansea as workers tried to find the bunny a new home.
Tipping the scales at more than half a stone, the adorable pet is the size of a small dog.
Flemish Giants regularly grow to huge sizes and are known as the ‘King of Rabbits’, but are nonetheless domesticated and very family friendly. Just be sure to stock up on carrots.