Nature has been very generous in terms of creating an impeccable variety in species of plants and animals on the earth. But the changes in the climate of the earth as well as the uncaring behavior of human beings have caused some of them to become rare and endangered. Such animals fall under the category of EDGE, the Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered Species of animals. Perhaps, they are the last surviving amongst their families, which makes it all the more important to protect them and know more about them.
Here is a list of top 10 evolutionary unique animals in the world:
10. Pygmy Hippopotamus
As the name suggests, the pygmy hippopotamus is a much smaller relative of the hippo. The natural habitat of this animal which loves to stay in isolation, lies in the swampy rain forests of the West African region. It can be found in cultivated regions too but prefers to stay away from company, people other hippos. The territories of these animals are marked by their droppings. They are nocturnal in nature, coming out to feed in the dark and staying in its territory during the day. It also spends a good deal of time in water to keep its skin moist. Mating may even take place in water.
9. Bactrian Camels
Another distinctive animal species is the Bactrian camel, which is found in China and Magnolia. The two humps on its back makes the animal different from an ordinary camel. The animal is well adapted to tough climatic conditions as its coat tends to get thickened during winter season for getting extra insulation, while it can keep cool in summer by shedding the fur on its skin. The wild ones can even survive on salt water slush.
8. Attenborough’s Long beaked Echidna
The next name on the list of evolutionary unique animals in the world is that of the Attenborough’s Long beaked Echidna, a native of New Guinea which has been named after Sir Richard Attenborough. Till recently, the animal was thought to be extinct but some sightings by local population have proved otherwise. The males are larger than the females and they meet only at the time of mating. Eggs are laid by females eight days after they mate and young ones stay in a pouch on the mother’s body till they develop the protective spines.
7. Slender Loris
Slender Loris is a small animal which lives in the tropical rain forest regions of Sri Lanka and South India. The animal is nocturnal and feeds on small insects, which makes it prefer to live in thorny vegetation as they can find food and escape predators easily. It is one of the endangered animals being offered protection by the laws of the government. The average lifespan of the animal is 15 years though they are killed by the locals, who believe that they have some magical and medicinal properties.
6. Yangtze River Dolphin
Next on this list is the Yangtze River Dolphin, which is also known as Baiji. The mature male member of the species reaches a length of 2.3 m and can swim at a maximum speed of 60 km per hour. It is believed to be as old as 25 million years and lived in Pacific Ocean originally, from where it made its way into the Yangtze River some 20 million years ago. Today, it is regarded as a critically endangered species.
5. Bumblebee Bat
One of the smallest mammals in the world is the bumblebee bat, which is of the size of a bumblebee and hence gets its name. It lives in the upper chambers of limestone hills as it survives in hot weather. The natural habitat of these bats is in southeast Burma and Thailand. Its coat is grey or reddish brown in color and it has a prominent snout, along with webbed skin between its hind legs.
4. Hirola Antelope
The Hirola antelope is another rare and endangered species of animals, with just 400 of its members surviving on the earth. They are mostly found in and around Kenya and Somalia. The animal is also known as the four eyed antelope because of its strange appearance, which is attributed to the presence of dark preorbital glands that get enlarged on excitement.
3. Hispaniolan Solenodon
Also called Agouta or Haitian Solenodo, the Hispaniolan Solenodon is an animal unique to the Hispaniola Island, which is a part of both Haiti and Dominican Republic. The animal’s existence was not even known till 1833. The animal resembles a large sized shrew and is reddish brown in color. There are just two places where the surviving members of the species are found, the La Visite National Park IN Haiti and the Jaragua and Del Este National Parks in Dominican Republic.
2. Golden Rumped Elephant Shrew
Featuring next on the list of top 10 evolutionary unique animals in the world is the Golden Rumped Elephant Shrew, which is the largest amongst animal shrew and reaches the size of a rabbit. It has distinctive golden fur on its hind and feeds on small insects. The only place in the world where this animal can be found is at the Arabuko Sokoke National Park, which is located north of Mombasa in Kenya. Unprecedented hunting by predators and humans for food has led to the animal becoming rare and endangered.
1. Long Eared Jerboa
One of the rarest of the rare amongst the animal species on the earth is the long eared Jerboa, a rodent which resembles a mouse and has large ears, a long tail and long hind legs to help it jump high. It belongs to the Euchoreutes genus and is nocturnal in nature. The natural habitat of a long eared Jerboa is located around Palearctic ecozone, in the regions around Mongolia.
At present all these animals are regarded as endangered species and efforts are being made around the world to protect these animals from becoming completely extinct. At the same time, people should realize how important these are to the ecosystem and make efforts from their side too.