Ugly Animals: 20 Ugliest Animals In The World, With Pictures

Ugly Animals - 20 Ugliest Animals In The World, With Pictures

We love animals, especially the ones that look cute. From domestic pets to wildlife, animals that won the genetic lottery seem to get the lion’s share of attention, love, and admiration.

Beauty is everything for these animals and their enthusiasts. On the other end of the spectrum are animals you may not fancy looking at.

These creatures fall in the category of the world’s ugliest animals, and while we do say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, ugly animals lack what would make them pleasant to the eyes.

All hope is not lost, however, as they still have qualities that make them stand out.

Ugly animals include the warthog, yeti crab, blobfish, and axolotl. What unites them is their physical nature, but other than that, they have their uniqueness. 

Read on for a full curated list, pictures, and more detail.

The Ugliest Animals In The World 

1. Warthog

Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus)
  • Scientific Name: Phacochoerus africanus
  • Where Found: Africa 
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

The first animal on our list is fully known as the common warthog, and it is a member of the Suidae or pig family.

It often inhabits the grassland, savannah, and woodlands of Sub-saharan Africa. You can easily identify this animal with the two tusks protruding from the mouth and moving upwards. 

The Warthog is considered the ugliest member of the pig family, with a head that has warty-like elements all over it.

While the warthog Pumbaa in Lion King looks admirable, that is not an accurate description of the animal. 

These animals live in groups called sounders and are not known to be territorial. Males only fight or get aggressive during mating season, but other than that, they flee more.

They feed on insects, fungi, eggs, and even carrion, making them omnivorous.

Best places to see the Warthog:

  • Sub-saharan Africa 

2. Blobfish

Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) outside water is an ugly fish
(c) James Joel
  • Scientific Name: Psychlorutes marcidus
  • Where Found: New Zealand 
  • Conservation Status: Not extinct

Not only is the blobfish the ugliest fish in the world, but the blobfish is also considered the ugliest animal on earth, and not in a derogatory manner.

Also known as the smooth-head blobfish, it can be found in deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia, Tasmania, and the waters of New Zealand.

People often think of it as slime rather than actual fish because of its looks.

Blobfish live in the deep, going down to 600 and 1200m beneath the surface. It lacks muscles, which contributes to its looks.

The lack of muscles isn’t a disadvantage, however. The lack of muscles helps it grab its meal, which comprises mainly of deep-ocean crustaceans. 

In 2013, the blobfish was voted the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a position that earned it the title of ugliest animal in the world.1

Best places to see the bluefish:

  • Deep waters of Australia;
  • Tasmania;
  • New Zealand 

3. Yeti crab

Yeti crab (Kiwa hirsuta)
(c) Andrew Thurber, Oregon State University
  • Scientific Name: Kiwa hirsuta 
  • Where Found: South Pacific Ocean 
  • Conservation Status: Unknown

The yeti crab was first discovered in March 2005 by a group of scientists at the California Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Notable names include Robert Vrijenhoek and Michel Segonzac. Its scientific name Kiwa is from a Polynesian god of the same name. The discoverers also gave it English names.

The yeti is considered unappealing because of the large amount of hair on its skin, but the feature is necessary for it to survive in its habitat.

It lives in the deep, dark parts of the ocean, going down to 2,200 meters. Eyes are not needed there, so the yeti is blind. In place of the eyes, it has a leathery membrane.

The hairs look fluffy, but in reality, they are made of bristles. These bristles help the yeti navigate the deep oceans as they pick up sensory information. They also purify the water around the yeti. 

Best places to see the yeti crab:

  • South Pacific Ocean 

4. Axolotl

Close Up Brown Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma mexicanum
  • Where Found: Mexico City
  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The axolotl is a salamander amphibian closely related to the tiger salamander, and one of its special qualities is the ability to reach adulthood without going through a process of metamorphosis.

They also do not get terrestrial but rather remain aquatic. This falls under neoteny.2

Like others on the list, the axolotl is both strange and ugly. It has a wide head, the eyes are without lids, and the limbs look underdeveloped.

The colors are also strange due to the pigmentation genes the axolotl has. These genes make it become leucistic, a golden albino, a normal albino, and a xanthic color (grey color with black eyes).

The axolotl has a relatively long lifespan, with some individuals getting up to 25 years. Males and females are very common. The only noticeable difference is the cloaca. Males have a more pronounced one. 

Best places to see the axolotl:

  • Lake Xochimilco, Mexico City 

5. Indian Purple Frog

Indian Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
(c) Karthickbala
  • Scientific Name: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis
  • Where Found:  India 
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

The Indian purple frog is also called the pignose frog or the purple frog, and it is a rare amphibian that can only be found in India.

It can hardly be seen because it lives underground and because of its endangered status.

The only time these creatures stay above ground is during mating season. If you do come across one, you may not like the look.

The Indian purple frog doesn’t look like a standard frog. With its bloated skin and round form, it seems even less of an animal and more like a bad eggplant.

Its small head and pointed snout add to the overall unusual looks of the Indian purple frog. 

The appearance doesn’t stop people from considering it a recipe along its range, but that’s usually during its tadpole stage. 

Best places to see the Indian purple frog:

  • Western Ghats, India. 

6. Monkfish

Freshly Caught Monkfish (Lophius)
  • Scientific Name: Lophius
  • Where Found: Atlantic and Indian Oceans 
  • Conservation Status: Not extinct

The monkfish refers to creatures in the Lophius genus, and they also go by other names like frogfish, fishing frog, and sea devils.

The monkfish inhabits the Indian and Atlantic oceans, going as deep as 3,000 meters. A very unique feature of the monkfish is an organ that shows light, which it also uses to find a mate and trap prey. 

A combination of different physical traits makes the monkfish a good candidate for this list. It has a big, flat head that’s also depressed.

Added to this are a big mouth and a jaw filled with long teeth. The jaw and teeth are hunting weapons that it uses to swallow prey.

A fun fact about the monkfish is that the male merges with the female during mating. 

Best places to see the monkfish: 

  • Newfoundland
  • North Carolina 

7. Japanese Spider Crab

Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira kaempferi)
  • Scientific Name: Macrocheira kaempferi
  • Where Found: Japan
  • Conservation Status: Not evaluated

The Japanese spider crab is a marine crab that lives in Japan, and among arthropods, it has the longest legs.

While it has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN, there have been concerns as the population seems to be declining due to overfishing and the destruction of the habitat. 

Crabs are not known to be cute, but the Japanese spider crab is ugly even by crab standards. Its long legs, orange and white colors, and rough looks give it a ferocious appearance.

However, the Japanese spider crab is known to be gentler in behavior than its looks suggest. It is a part of the Japanese recipe and can even be found in some fisheries.

Best places to see the Japanese water crab: 

  • Pacific side of Japan 

8. Dumbo Octopus

Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis)
(c) NOAA Okeanos Explorer
  • Scientific Name: Grimpoteuthis
  • Where Found: Worldwide 
  • Conservation Status: Not extinct

The dumbo octopus refers to a group of octopuses that falls under the genus Grimpoteuthis, and its name is inspired by an old Disney film of the same title. There are 17 species of the dumbo octopus.

Unlike the aforementioned animals, some people might consider the dumbo octopus as cute.

However, the unusual elephant look isn’t pleasant to a majority. It is rarely seen, however, because of how deep in the ocean it stays.

This could also be why it has poor eyesight. The dumbo octopus navigates its environment using other senses. 

This creature is usually colored red, brown, or even pink. 

Best places to see the dumbo octopus:

  • The depth of the Indian Ocean 

9. Star-nosed Mole

Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata)
  • Scientific Name: Condylura cristata 
  • Where Found: North America 
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

The star-nosed mole can only be found in the northern parts of North America, where it inhabits moist areas.

It can specifically be found in Canada and the northeastern areas of America. It is known to have a lot of sense receptors—getting up to 25,000—all in-touch organs known as Elmer’s organs.3

The star-nosed mole looks monstrous and scary, what with its tentacles that stand in place of muzzles.

We’re not sure if it knows how it looks, but it does move fast, like it doesn’t want to be noticed.

The human eye will find it difficult to track it down. It also eats fast. It can live on land as much as water. 

Best places to see the star-nosed mole: 

  • Canada and the northeastern United States 

10. Naked Mole Rat

  • Scientific Name: Heterocephalus glaber
  • Where Found: Africa 
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern 

The naked mole rat looks naked, just as its name implies. Its skin may not bother some people, but to many others, it is unattractive.

The nakedness is due to an absence of hair, leaving only pink and yellow skin. The naked mole rat is also called the sand puppy, and it belongs to the genus Heterocephalus. 

This creature shares many similarities with other mole rats, including the ability to live underground and poor eyesight.

Of course, it doesn’t rely on the latter as it has other traits it needs to survive in its environment. These include the large protruding teeth, lips, and jaws.

Best places to see the naked mole-rat:

  • East Africa, places like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. 
  • San Diego zoo Animals & Plants 

11. Aye-aye

Rare Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) - long-fingered Lemur
  • Scientific Name: Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Where Found: Madagascar 
  • Conservation Status: Endangered 

The aye-aye is a lemur that is a native of Madagascar and is considered the largest nocturnal primate. Its major features are the rodent-like teeth and the thin middle fingers.

It looks disheveled and a bit scary to the casual observer, mainly because of its orange eyes. The thin middle fingers are long, which just adds to the unusual nature of the aye aye.

The aye aye’s teeth and middle finger are important, though. This primate uses the three other fingers to tap a tree trunk in search of prey.

Once it finds suitable prey, it uses its teeth to cut through the wood. The final step it takes is to stick in the middle finger to get the insects. 

Best places to see the aye-aye:

  • The island of Madagascar 

12. Shoebill

  • Scientific Name: Balaeniceps rex
  • Where Found: Africa 
  • Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The shoebill is also known as the whalebill, the shoe-billed stork, and the whale-headed stork. It often inhabits East Africa, especially in places like Zambia and South Sudan.

Its name comes from the shape of the bill, that’s like a shoe. Adults are usually grey, while the younger ones come in brown.

The shoebill doesn’t look ugly to some people, but others find it hard to fancy a grey bird. What’s more, the shoebill is a big bird, more than what one would expect.

It also has its eyes placed at the front of the head rather than the sides, adding to its strangeness. 

A crazy fact about the shoebill concerns its childbirth pattern. The first child takes more priority, sometimes to the exclusion of the younger one, who might even be at risk of being eaten by the elder. 

13. Blue Glaucus

  • Scientific Name: Glaucus atlanticus 
  • Where Found: Worldwide 
  • Conservation Status: Not extinct

The blue glaucus is striking in its appearance and can be regarded as either admirable or repugnant, depending on the observer.

Because of the latter, we include it on our list. The blue glaucus also goes by other names like the blue sea dragon, the blue ocean slug, the blue dragon, and the dragon slug.

This creature has a flat, tapered body with six appendages.  It is usually found in tropical or subtropical areas and will swim to the surface because it stores gulped air in its system. It often feeds on cnidarians. 

14. Sea Pigs

  • Scientific Name: Scotoplanes
  • Where Found: Atlantic, Pacific, Indian 
  • Conservation Status: Not evaluated 

The sea pig is also sometimes called the sea cow, and it refers to a group of species that fall under the Scotoplanes genus.

Sea pigs live under the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. They live as deep as 5,000 meters. Because of their environment, not much is known about them, making them a big mystery. 

What we do know is that their looks can leave you with goosebumps and not the good kind.

Sea pigs are considered one of the ugliest animals in the world, though they are so tiny and far away that you might never see them. 

Another piece of information we have on sea pigs is their social lifestyle. They live in large groups, some numbering up to thousands while others may be set at a hundred.

They also have a protective mechanism to deflect predators. The sea pigs use a chemical substance called holothurin, which is poisonous to other animals.

Best places to see the sea pig:

  • Underneath oceans 

15. Sea Lamprey

  • Scientific Name: Petromyzon marinus 
  • Where Found: Northern Hemisphere 
  • Conservation Status: Near Threatened

The sea lamprey is also sometimes called the “vampire fish”, and it is a parasitic lamprey that is native to the Northern Hemisphere.

It does look like an eel vampire and is a good inspiration for a horror movie. The sea lamprey has a scary appearance, earning its place on our list. 

Its outstanding physical traits are the body without paired fins, a jawless, round mouth, with sharp teeth all, arranged in a circle.

While it looks like a snake and lives in aquatic environments like a fish, the lamprey is neither a snake nor a fish. It is rather a cyclostome.

As we pointed out above, lampreys are parasites. They attach themselves to fish, which spells bad news for the host. This creature can end up infecting its host.

Best places to see the sea lamprey:

  • Atlantic ocean
  • Mediterranean sea
  • Great lakes
  • Black sea 

16. Kakapo

  • Scientific Name: Strigops habroptilus
  • Where Found: New Zealand 
  • Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The kakapo is also known as an owl parrot because of its resemblance to the owl. It is a parrot species that belongs to the family Strigopoidea and can be found only in New Zealand.

It immediately differentiates from other parrot species by being flightless and nocturnal. Then there’s the look.

While other parrots are considered attractive, the same can’t be said of our fauna friend. For starters, it is larger than others of its kind.

Its looks also seem like the result of breeding an owl with a parrot. What it lacks in looks, it makes up in some other traits.

One such trait is the sweet smell it emits. The kakapo smells like flowers and honey, so all hopes of attractiveness aren’t lost for this bird. It is also a gentle creature, which sometimes leaves it defenseless against predators. 

The kakapo is critically endangered due to human activities. There’s an estimate of about 200 left. 

Best places to see the kakapo:

  • New Zealand 

17. Proboscis Monkey

  • Scientific Name: Nasalis larvatus
  • Where Found: Indonesia 
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

The proboscis monkey is endemic to Borneo in Indonesia, where you can find it in mangrove forests and coastal areas.

It is an old-world monkey, and similar to others of its kind, it lives on trees. Its defining feature is a long nose, which earned it the alternative name long-nosed monkey. 

Monkeys are not known for their beauty, so it isn’t a surprise to have the proboscis on this list. That said, it is more unusual than the standard monkey, starting from the size.

The proboscis monkey is very large, and it has a reddish-brown skin color that’s unique to it. Males have longer noses than females, and it might help in the mating process.

Best places to see the proboscis monkey:

  • Borneo, Indonesia 

18. Horseshoe Bat

  • Scientific Name: Rhinolophus
  • Where Found: Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania 
  • Conservation Status: Not extinct 

The horseshoe bat falls under the family Rhinolophidae and is classified as part of the existing genus Rhinolophus.

There was a second genus under the family, but it has since gone extinct. The horseshoe bat has a wide range, going from Africa to Oceania. It often inhabits buildings, caves, foliage, and tree hollows. 

It gets its name from the nose, which is shaped like a horseshoe. This gives it a strange look, even more than what you’d expect from a bat.

Similar to others of its kind, the horseshoe bat relies a lot on sound to communicate. Their looks notwithstanding, the horseshoe bat is useful to humans as food and for healing purposes. 

Best places to see the horseshoe bat:

  • Tropical and temperate regions from Asia to Oceania. 

19. Marabou Stork

  • Scientific Name: Leptoptilos crumeiner
  • Where Found: Africa 
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Marabou stork is a member of the Ciconiidae family, and it inhabits the African continent.

A common nickname it bears is the “undertaker bird” because of its thin white legs and the way its wings and back look like a cloak. 

The Marabou stork is often associated with evil because of its looks, and its size contributes to the overall nervousness people have about it.

The head and neck are similar to those of a vulture, and it has very long beaks. 

This bird is a scavenger, another attribute it shares with the vulture. It feeds on carrion, eggs, baby crocodiles, and even other birds. 

Best places to see the Marabou stork:

  • Jungles in Africa

Also, check out this curated list of animals that live in jungles.

20. Titicaca Frog

  • Scientific Name: Telmatobius culeus
  • Where Found: Lake Titicaca basin 
  • Conservation Status: Endangered

The Titicaca frog is fully known as the Titicaca water frog, and it is a medium to large species in the Telmatobiidae family.

Its name points to the fact that it lives fully in an aquatic environment, and it can only be found in the Lake Titicaca basin. 

The Titicaca may be the last on our list, but it is by no means the least ugly. Its flat head, round nose, and large eyes all contribute to making it look odd.

The Titicaca also has a lot of skin, a trait that earned it the nickname Titicaca scrotum frog. A final attribute is its size. 

Unfortunately, the Titicaca frog is endangered due to a couple of factors, like pollution and human consumption. 

Best places to see the Titicaca frog:

  • Lake Titicaca Basin 


There are cute animals, just as there are ugly animals, but the latter isn’t less important as a whole.

We’ve compiled 20 of the ugliest animals in the world, ranging from the more common to the endangered.

Of course, we’ll assert again that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so some of these animals may turn out to be your favorites!

References & Notes

Facts Sources:
  1. Blobfish voted world’s ugliest animal. CBC News, 2013.
  2. Shaffer B.H. 2013. Neoteny. Brenner’s Encyclopedia of Genetics (Second Edition).
  3. Catania C. K. 1996. Ultrastructure of the Eimer’s organ of the star-nosed mole. The Journal of comparative neurology.

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