One of the reasons why I love travelling is because I get to continuously experience all sorts of things for the first time. It’s like when you’re a young child experiencing a new flavour of food for the first time or even a first snowfall. New experiences are magical. Travelling sparks that magic.
One of my favourite experiences to have when travelling is encountering an animal I never knew existed, or have only seen in pictures. It always blows me away to know that there’s so much life on this planet that I still don’t know anything about. Spotting animals you’ve never seen before isn’t as rare of an occurrence then you may think. In fact, it happens to me on nearly every trip. When we visited the Amazon a wild tapir ran out of the jungle towards me without any fear. I had no idea what it was or what it’s intentions were. He ended up being friendly and enjoyed the company of humans. In some cases, a habitat will give birth to an animal only found in one place on earth.
Sometimes you can spot these foreign species without much effort, while others you may have to really go deep in the bush to see. These beautiful and unique creatures may even be endangered, so anything you can do to encourage support of natural habitats during your visit may be very useful to help the survival of the species.
Here are 6 awesome animals you won’t find anywhere else in the world:
Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Islands
These gentle giants can weigh up to 300 kilograms, are over 4-feet in length and have a lifespan of over 100-years. They may even have helped Charles Darwin to come up with his theory of evolution. While this is one of the most iconic species in the world, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise was almost hunted to extinction during the nineteenth century. Today, if you’re lucky enough to visit the Galapagos Islands, you may get a chance to spot one of these creatures.
The Thorny Devil Lizard, Australia
The Thorny Devil Lizard, also known as the Thorny Dragon, is quite unique looking as it’s covered in large thorn like spikes. These spikes are used to deter predators and also create a channel that catches and transports water to the animal’s mouth. The species may only be around 8 inches in length but look quite fearsome up close. These animals are found in scrubland and deserts in Central and Western Australia. Although they look similar to the North American Horned Lizard, there’s no direct relation between the two.
Golden Jellyfish, Palau
This species has a very small habitat as it’s only found in Jellyfish Lake, which is a marine lake located on the island of Palau. The lake is 460 meters in length, 160 meters in width and is part of a network of lakes. However, studies have shown that this species has been isolated for at least 12,000 years. A particular type of plankton that is found in the lake causes the distinctive colour of the Golden Jellyfish. Even though the jellyfish live in a small habitat, there’s a short migration that happens every day.
Often called the bleeding heart monkey because of the distinctive red patch of skin that shows on the chest of the species, this animal is only found in the Ethiopian Highlands. A large mane, particularly for the males of the species, contrasts the hairless face of the animal. It is a species that has a strong family and extended family group, meaning they are often spotted with several animals together.
This boldly coloured black and white species of lemur is only to be found in Madagascar and is one of the largest in the world! It will often weigh up to 21 pounds fully grown and can be up to 3.5 feet in length from head to toe. The Indri largely eats foliage and other vegetation and are most distinctive for their songs, which can be heard from miles away and can be complex, lasting up to three minutes at a time.
The Bolivian River Dolphin, Bolivia
This species of river dolphin has been separated from the other species in the Amazon basin for centuries, allowing it to develop in a different way. They are only found upriver of the waterfalls of the Madeira River and spotting the animal may take some time. It’s unique features and significance led to the species being declared a national treasure by the Bolivian president Evo Morales.
What is the most unique creature you’ve ever spotted on your travels?
Siya Zarrabi began his travel lifestyle at the age of 16, embarking on a four month solo trip to Paraguay. Since then, he has filled passports with stamps of foreign borders.