Creepy Creatures

The weather is biting and the nights are drawing in, but if that’s not enough to make you shiver then maybe you will be unnerved by some of the spooky species hiding within our EDGE database!

With their high evolutionary distinctiveness, EDGE species have evolved some truly spooky characteristics for everyday life. Here are some of our freaky favourites…

Chinese Giant Salamander

These guys look like they would fit into any Halloween party. They can be bright orange in colour and a staggering 1.8 metres in length. If that’s not enough to grab your attention then maybe their feeding habits will suit. Sneaking out at night these impressive amphibians use a large strong bite to feed on anything from insects and fish to rotting flesh and their own skin! Giant Salamanders have even been found to exhibit cannibalistic behaviour.

Hellbender

Okay it has a name to suit, but what else? Again this species is freakishly large, reaching 74cm in length and furthermore it displays the gruesome behaviour of eating the eggs and larvae of its own species. To top it off, this slippery specimen produces a noxious, nasty slime to deter many of its would be predators.

Common Midwife toad (bizarrely this species is actually a frog!)

If you imagine a witch’s toad, this species is probably something close to that thought. Individuals commonly have spotted skin and long spindly toes, not to mention a body covered in large warts. Most gruesome of all, this species is known to produce a stinky and highly potent toxin capable of killing many would-be predators. And yes, these secretions erupt from the animals large warts.

Demonic poison toad

This aptly named species has an appearance to match with its dark red marbled skin. Belonging to the world’s most poisonous family of frogs, the toxins present within these animals are potent enough to prove fatal to a human being.

Darwin’s Frog

This species displays a behaviour that is not so much creepy, just plain weird. Once offspring have hatched, the father of the species gulps them up into his mouth (up to 30 individuals) and swallows them into his oversized vocal sack. Here the young develop for around 50 days before emerging as froglets. Even weirder than this is the Surinam toad, an animal that gives birth to its offspring from the skin of its back. Creepy! Watch our video below to see the Darwin’s frog tadpoles writhing inside the neck of their father!

Pygmy Hippo

We hear pygmy and think cute. Not so you might say when discussing the pygmy hippo. Despite their pygmy status, individuals may still weigh in at a quarter of a tonne and posses large, tusk like incisors. Most alarming of all though, is the animals’ ability to secrete a thick oily substance known as ‘blood sweat’. Delivered from special pores, the role of this gunky pink substance is less scary as it simply acts to protect the hippo’s skin in various conditions

Bulmer’s fruit bat

 

Bulmer’s Fruit Bat hanging upside down

No spooky list would be complete without a bat, so we bring you the Bulmer’s Fruit Bat, the world’s largest cave dwelling bat.  With the characteristic behaviour of hanging upside down, large eyes and clawed feet, this bat has a pretty daunting appearance. Add to that its ability to both hover and fly backwards and most children will soon be hiding under their covers.

So there you have it, a list of some of EDGE’s most spooky species, with traits ranging from vomiting out offspring to cannibalism. At EDGE we prioritise species with high evolutionary distinctiveness so it’s hardly surprising that our species are so charismatic (not always in a scary way). We are not the only ones to think so. In an upcoming BBC documentary called Attenborough’s Ark, the man and legend himself, Sir David Attenborough, will discuss why 7 of the 10 species he would save from extinction are featured in our EDGE lists.

 

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