There are a lot of adorable creatures crawling, swimming, and soaring around every corner of the globe – but there are also quite a few rare, creepy-looking species lurking in the shadows.
Here are some animals whose eerie appearances may give you nightmares.
1. Murder hornets are just about the scariest thing anyone who is afraid of bugs could imagine.
Also known as the “Asian giant hornet” and “hornets from hell,” these killer insects are native to East Asia and Japan, but they are starting to be spotted in the US.
According to The New York Times, murder hornets decapitate bees with their razor-sharp mandibles, and they can take out a whole hive in a matter of hours.
Apart from killing other insects, they also reportedly kill up to 50 people a year in Japan from allergic reactions to their venom – however, their stings are not always lethal for humans.
2. You wouldn’t want to run into an aye-aye in the dark.
Called the “world’s most demonic lemur” by some, aye-ayes aren’t quite as scary as they look.
According to National Geographic, aye-ayes are nocturnal creatures that live in the rain forests of Madagascar. They’re actually primates, which means they’re related to chimpanzees and humans.
Their bodies are only about 14 to 17 inches long, but their tails can grow up to 2 feet. One of aye-ayes’ most notable features is their long middle fingers that help them scoop larvae out of trees.
These creatures are endangered, partially because many people native to Madagascar see them as a bad omen. Because of this, the government has had to instate a law to protect aye-ayes from hunters.
3. Hungry goblin sharks extend their jaws to meet their prey.
Found primarily off the coast of Japan, these chomping creatures are named after their resemblance to goblins that are found in Japanese folklore.
They’re mostly known for their jaws, which they can extend a few extra inches in order to catch food, according to National Geographic.
Goblin sharks also have fang-like teeth, grow to be around 12 feet long, and can weigh up to 460 pounds.
Fortunately, they are not known to be dangerous to humans – but scientists know very little about the behavioral patterns of these sharks, which can make them even more terrifying.
4. Golden-crowned flying foxes are one of the largest known bat species on earth.
Golden-crowned flying foxes are massive bats with fox-like faces and a wingspan that can extend up to about 5 1/2 feet.
Found in the Philippines, the endangered golden-crowned flying foxes aren’t known to be a threat to humans, especially since they maintain a diet consisting primarily of figs and other fruits.
5. You probably don’t want to find a rhinoceros cockroach in your home or in the wild.
Afraid of normal cockroaches? Well, what if they could live for up to a decade and could grow to be about 3 inches long?
Rhinoceros cockroaches, also called giant burrowing cockroaches, are native to Australia. Since they mostly burrow underground, they don’t have wings like many other species of cockroaches.
They aren’t commonly found in homes – plus they move slowly and aren’t known to be dangerous to humans – but these beefy bugs are still a bit creepy-looking.
6. Once you’ve seen the blubbery, cartoon-ish mug of a blobfish, you can never unsee it.
Dubbed the “world’s ugliest animal” by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, which focuses on raising awareness and spreading education about not-so-pretty animals around the globe, blobfish have quite a haunting, unique face.
Blobfish live at ocean depths up to 9,200 feet underwater, but not much is known about them. Because of how deep in the water these creatures reside, scientists have not been able to extensively retrieve samples and study them.
7. Shoebill storks look like a not-so-friendly cartoon character.
Also called whale-headed storks, shoebills live in the swamps of Africa and look like creatures out of a fantasy novel.
These big birds have been around for over a few centuries and typically stand between 3 1/2 to 5 feet.
One of their most notable features is their clog-shaped bills, which have a hooked curve on the end and sharp edges that can help them to spear their prey.
There are only about 5,000 shoebill storks left in the world, making them a critically endangered species.
8. The lobster moth caterpillar sounds like a science experiment gone wrong.
This creepy-crawly may seem dangerous, but its scorpion-like stance and features are actually defense mechanisms to help ward of predators.
When that doesn’t work, the creatures are known to shoot formic acid, which is most commonly found in ant venom, to protect themselves from the predators who weren’t scared away.
After spending a bit of time in a cacoon, these creatures turn into fuzzy moths that are common throughout parts of England and Wales.
9. The star-nosed mole looks like a creature straight out of a horror flick.
Looking at a star-nosed mole head-on can be quite alarming, but the star-shaped tentacles coming out of the animal’s face are actually important for its sense of touch.
According to PBS Nature, the North American animal is basically blind, so its heightened sense of touch helps it move around and eat.
The fleshy tentacles are covered in three varieties of receptors that can help star-nosed moles touch up to 12 objects per second, detect the microscopic texture of things, and tune into the electrical fields given off by other aquatic animals as they move through water.
10. Budgett’s frogs have been compared to an infamous slasher villain.
The Budgett’s frog is also called the Freddy Krueger frog, a nod to the famously disfigured villain from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series.
The frog is certainly a bit unsettling to look at, but its piercing, defensive scream perhaps makes it even more horrific.
Named after the man who discovered the species in 1899, Budgett’s frogs are also aggressive carnivores and these creatures are known to be cannibalistic as tadpoles and as adults.