Many creatures are lesser known in this world, and often the reason is there aren’t many of them. Does your country have any endangered animals? Check out the list below before you jump our list of “Top 10 Unsolved Ancient Mysteries of the World“.
Sometimes there is so long between sightings of a species that they’re believed to be extinct, and that’s actually been the case with some animals that have since been found alive and well. Maybe dinosaurs are really not extinct after all. Here are some of the often weird and wonderful looking animals once thought to be extinct.
1. The Solenodon
You’d have had a much better chance of spotting one of these furry animals across South America hundreds of years ago, but in recent years they’re rare creatures found in their native Cuba. Discovered in the 1800s, they were believed to have died out until one was found within the last two decades.
The solenodon has a long snout for sniffing out food, sleeps in burrows during the day and communicates in grunts. This mammal gets about by climbing and running, and can inject venom as a snake does.
2. The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect
This insect was thought to have been killed off by rats until it was rediscovered in the early 2000s, according to the Australian zoo that plays a big part in ensuring its survival. It says there are only as many as 30 of them left, so is trying to captively breed to them to be re-introduced to Lord Howe once rats are eradicated there.
The stick insect is flightless, and because it’s unusually large among the insect population, it’s earned the name ‘land lobster.’
3. The New Holland Mouse
Now only seen in some Australian states, it’s thought the New Holland Mouse population now numbers less than 10,000. It wasn’t seen for more than a century before being found near Sydney in the 1960s.
Living in burrows with others of its kind, its grey-brown fur is a similar color to other mice, but a proportionately larger tail differentiates it. It lives among woodlands, forests, and dunes.
4. The Terror Skink
A native of the Isle of Pines, a tiny island of New Caledonia, the terror skink wasn’t sighted from the late 1800s until 1993 and again in the early 2000s. At about half a meter, it’s one of the globe’s largest reptile predators, and has long and curved teeth, suggesting that it may eat other reptiles and birds.
Once rediscovered, it’s said to have been studied and filmed by a team from the French National Museum of Natural History.
5. The Takahe
This colorful New Zealand native bird remains on the endangered list since being sighted in the country’s South Island in 1948. The Department of Conservation there says there is a mountainous area the birds are now able to survive because it’s without the cat, dog, and ferret predators.
With blue, teal and black feathers, and bright red feet and beak, the birds once lived throughout New Zealand’s South Island, but the species was thought to have died out by the early 20th century.
6. The Bermuda Petrel
The Bermuda petrel has a fantastic survival story – it was believed extinct for around 300 years until, according to a US university article, one was identified after it struck a lighthouse in 1935. Researchers were said to be optimistic about the petrel’s chances of survival in 2013, with 105 breeding pairs existing.
As a pelagic seabird, it spends most of its time out over the open sea. It has brown, grey and white feathers and long wings.
7. The Coelacanth
This very creepy looking fish was seen off the coast of South Africa in the 1930s, even though it was thought to have died out millions of years earlier. The American Museum of Natural History tells us that these fish live in salt water and can reach a length of two meters. Apparently, they also have an organ near their head that no other vertebrate has, which may be used to detect predators.
According to the Smithsonian Institute, there were once about 90 species of this fish found around the world, but now there are only two species.
8. The Giant Palouse Earthworm
This giant worm was said to be found in large numbers before 1900 but was only re-recorded as alive in 1988, according to the US threatened species register. Now only found in the states of Idaho (home of the Palouse Prairie) and Washington, this creature is known to be able to burrow to three meters deep in grasslands of its habitat.
As its name suggests, it grows much longer than the common earthworm, and unlike others, it is very pale in color. The worm’s habitat is said to have been subject to the destruction around 1900 because of agricultural developments.
9. The Philippine Naked-backed Fruit Bat
This mammal was the first in the Philippines be declared extinct, the UN tells us, however, it was discovered again in 2001 and remains listed as critically endangered. Like other bats, it roosts in caves in the daytime and is a very skilled flier.
However, it’s distinguished from other bats by its size – it measures around 21cm across and weighs as much as 140g. It gets its name from the absence of fur on its back, as its wings meet at the midline.
10. The Gracilidris Ant Genus
Feared extinct as much as 20 million years ago, the Gracilidris, a type of dolichoderine ant, was found again in Brazil in 2006 and has also been found in Argentina and Paraguay. The ants are known to nest in small soil colonies and are nocturnal.
The reason it’s said to have been believed extinct is just one fossil was recorded in amber, but it was among many different ants populations also discovered in recent years.