In the amazing world of animals, many creatures are so reclusive or number so few that human eyes rarely see them. If not by accidentally stumbling upon these rarely viewed animals, humans would not even know they exist.
This reclusive species of primate was thought to be extinct for more than 60 years. Native to the Sri Lanka rainforest, this elusive creature looks something like a cross between a monkey, possum, and sloth. Thought to have been extinct due to the loss of its habitat to tea plantations, the Horton Plains Slender Loris was only glimpsed four times between 1937 and 2002. In fact, the only photos available of this fascinating creature were taken just recently after more than one thousand hours spent in the rainforest searching for it.
Named for its six pairs of gills, which look like the frills on a dress, the Frilled Shark inhabits the depths of the ocean and is rarely seen by humans. It has a ruffled throat and a lizard like head accompanying a body resembling an eel. Measuring approximately six feet when full grown, the Frilled Shark has been thought to be responsible for some of our popular sea serpent myths. It has been nicknamed the living fossil, being a prehistoric species that has not evolved much over millions of years.
Solenodons are venomous mammals that have retained many of the same characteristics from prehistoric times and have hardly evolved. They can be found in Hispaniola, Cuba and Haiti. They resemble a very large shrew, complete with the almost hairless tail and long snout that they use to ferret out their meal of insects, worms and even carrion. Their saliva is venomous and flows from their salivary glands through their lower incisors. It is believed that the predation of the Mongoose has contributed to the rarity of the Solendon.
Echidnas, also called spiny anteaters may resemble the anteaters we all are familiar with; however, they are a very different species and are the only mammal besides the platypus that lays eggs. Their diet consists of insects, termites and ants. They can be found in Australia and New Guinea. The female lays a leathery egg and places it into her pouch, where it hatches. She has no nipples, only milk patches that the young, called a puggle, use for nourishment.
Endemic to Madagascar and the largest carnivore there, the Fossa resembles a cross between a cat and a mongoose. In fact, it is the largest species of Mongoose and can grow up to six feet long from nose to the tip of the tail. The Fossa has retractable claws like a cat, and uses them effectively when hunting its prey, such as mice or lemur. This creature is equally at home among the tree branches as it is on the ground and is solitary in nature.
The Iberian Lynx is one of the most endangered species in the world of 36 cat species and is almost extinct, due to prey loss, habitat destruction and being hit by cars or trapped by man. Originally discovered in Spain and Portugal, its habitat shrank to encompass only the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula. Subsisting on mostly scrub vegetation and rabbits, the lynx population severely declined when disease swept through the rabbit population in the 1950’s.
These are a few of the species of animals rarely seen by humans. Some are critically endangered and almost extinct. If we wish to see these elusive, mysterious creatures we must practice conservation techniques, or all that will be left are photographs of some truly amazing animals.