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The maned wolf, or Chrysocyon brachyurus, is a member of the canid family, which includes dogs wolves, and foxes. Like the flying squirrel, the Sunda flying lemur, or Galeopterus variegatus, has developed a unique way to move among the trees of its native environment—using folds of skin that stretch between its limbs, it glides from branch to branch. The skin membrane, called a patagium, is barely a millimeter thick and covers a surface area nearly six times the size of the rest of their body when fully spread. Antelopes look pretty cool no matter what they’re doing, but the gerenuk manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the antelope species—literally. It’s no real surprise that gerenuks have evolved to take advantage of such a completely different food source—there are 91 species of antelope in the world, and most of them live in Africa with the gerenuk, and with that kind of competition, someone needs to branch out into a different diet.
The Irrawaddy dolphin, or Orarella brevirostris, is a species of dolphin that lives primarily along the coastlines and estuaries of Southeast Asia, particularly the Bay of Bengal, off the eastern coastline of India. This is an incredible example of nature adapting to human influence, and there is no other animal in the world (in the wild) that interacts this closely with their human counterparts.
The Southern red muntjac, also known as the Indian muntjac, or Muntiacus muntjac, is a small deer native to South Asia. They also differ from other deer species in other ways—like the tufted deer, muntjacs also have short canine fangs that they use during mating season.
Birds often feature large, ornate bunches of feathers which they use during mating rituals. However, while most bird species only have one sex that displays vibrant colors (usually the male), both sexes of Amazonian Royal Flycatcher display large feathered plumes on top of their heads. But that’s not the only unusual thing about these ants—when their colony is threatened, they will swarm out thousands at a time and the ants will actually hook into each other to create massive clusters, which makes it nearly impossible for any predator to target an individual ant. So far, we still don’t know much about the salamander, and more expeditions are being planned to explore the unique biosphere of the Ecuadorian rainforest.


Andrew is a freelance writer and the owner of the sexy, sexy HandleyNation Content Service. To learn about climate change and the species that are affected, visit our climate change pages. No matter what adverse conditions may threaten the survival of a creature, individual species will eventually adapt to better survive in their environment—it’s either that, or die. With its reddish fur and erect ears, the maned wolf looks a lot like your typical red fox, with one glaring exception—it has long, delicate legs that would look more at home on an African gazelle than any kind of wolf. Their ears are also adapted to the grasslands, allowing the maned wolf to pick up the ever-so-slight rustling sound as rodents—a staple of their diet—scurry through the grass.
From birth to death, Sunda flying lemurs live their entire lives in the rainforest canopies throughout Southeast Asia. It’s also efficient—Sunda flying lemurs can glide over 320 feet (100 m) in one jump, and they pull it off without dropping more than 33 feet (10 m) during the flight. Also known as the Waller’s gazelle, gerenuks (Litocranius walleri) have enormously elongated necks and thin, spindly legs, which provide them with a unique feeding opportunity. Unfortunately, while their long, thin legs are perfect for giving them an extra boost to reach acacia leaves, they’re also incredibly fragile, and there have been several cases of gerenuks snapping their leg bones while running across the savannah.
Closely related to orca whales, Irrawaddy dolphins have adapted not through some physical trait, but rather through a rather unique behavior.
They’re timid, herbivorous, and maybe only pose a threat when they kick out in fear before bouncing off into the woods. We’ve featured treehoppers in the past, and there really is no limit to the variety of ways these incredible insects evolve to adapt in even the harshest of environments. This species of treehopper was first discovered in 1788 by Caspar Stroll, an entomologist from Germany, and can be found in the rainforests of Central America. However, unlike tuft deer, muntjacs have larger antlers that grow in an incredibly unique shape on the tops of their heads.
The fish-hook ant, or Polyrhachis bihamata, lives in colonies of millions of ants inside hollowed out logs on the forest floor. Found in the rainforests of Ecuador, this salamander has one truly incredible adaptation—it has no lungs.
When he's not writing he's usually hiking or rock climbing, or just enjoying the fresh North Carolina air. Every animal on this planet has had to grow and change over the course of millennia to become what it is today.
Their feet and limbs are well adapted for climbing, but are nearly useless for ground speed, meaning that falling to the ground is an almost certain recipe for death.


The name is misleading because the Sunda flying lemur is neither a lemur nor does it actually fly.
Rather than graze from grass on the ground like most antelopes, gerenuks stand upright on their hind legs to feed almost exclusively on the leaves and shoots of the acacia trees which dot the African savannas. It just goes to show how specialization in one area can leave other aspects of life inherently lacking. Over the years, they have developed something of a partnership with local fisherman—they will drive schools of fish towards the fishermen’s nets, and in exchange they have their pick of the helpless fish before the nets are hauled in. As if this deer wasn’t already bizarre, they have also been seen feeding on carrion—dead animals—which is an extremely rare observation in the deer world, to say the least. However, a lesser known—yet equally impressive—example is the Amazonian Royal Flycatcher, Latin name Onychorhynchus coronatus coronatus.
Curiously, Amazonian Royal Flycatchers only spread their feathered crest during mating season—and while being handled by humans.
What’s so unusual about them is the double fish hook protrusions that grow from their backs.
It’s actually a type of animal called a colugo, and this one accounts for half of all the known colugos in the world.
When the deer sense danger, they will make a sound that resembles a short, harsh bark (like a dog), alerting other deer in the herd to flee.
Relatively small, Amazonian Royal Flycatchers are about six and a half inches (16.5 cm) long and, as the name suggests, are found primarily in the Amazon Jungle of South America.
As would be expected, these are defensive mechanisms—they’re sharp enough to serve as a powerful predator deterrent. These ten rare animals are fantastic examples of the inherent adaptability that is present in all creatures, even if the end result is something completely unexpected.
Named for the small tuft of black fur which usually grows along the crest of their heads, their most striking feature is nevertheless the large vampire fangs that grow out of their mouths.
That may not be good news for a solitary ant, but it serves the colony as a whole very well.



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