Did you know that 18 percent of travellers travel to experience nature? Real wildlife experiences come with seeing animals in their natural habitat. Therefore, the cruise portal Cruiseaway created a list of the top 9 unique animals in the world that will make you want to pack your bags and get travelling.
1. The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko
The camouflage master: The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko has the unique ability to evade or camouflage itself from its predators. Its tail, shaped like a leaf, can help it evade capture from one of its many predators. While enjoying its normal habitat, the whole body can mimic the look of a dead leaf resting in the undergrowth. Endemic to the island of Madagascar, the geckos live in the tropical rainforests located in the northern and central regions of the country. The Ranomafana National Park is a good place to try to spot this true master of its surroundings
2. The Blue Whale
The largest animal ever to exist: A fully grown Blue Whale weighs up to 180 tonnes and the biggest ever recorded was 33.5m long! Weighing in at this much, means there is an appetite to match. Their diet consists of mostly Krill: up to 4 tonnes per day to be exact. These wonderful animals can live up to 50 years, which makes them one of the longest living sea mammals in the world. A very good chance to see them is to travel to Iceland in the summer season.
3. The Emperor Penguin
The giant among penguins: Widely used in wildlife programs, film and cartoons, the Emperor Penguin has always been a popular bucket list animal. Their height, of up to 115 cm, means they’re the tallest of the penguin family. Breeding throughout the Antarctica region, these penguins huddle together to keep warm from the freezing -60 degrees Antarctic weather. With up to 2000 breeding couples, the Falkland Islands are one of the best places to see them in the Antarctic region.
4. The Sloth
The drowsy tree-dweller: Famous for being slow and awkward on the ground this 55cm height animal prefers the canopy of its native forest habitat. It moves slowly, only up to 35m per day, while traveling from branch to branch using its giant claw for grip. An animal made popular in recent years by its appearance in films and TV shows, it’s an animal you won’t have to run after to see.
Sloths are found the in the rainforests of Central and South America. One of the best locations to see these animals is in Costa Rica.
5. Marine Iguana
The sea lizard: The sea and a lizard surely shouldn’t mix, however, in the Galapagos Islands they do. Feeding on algae in the sea, these lizards can dive for up to an hour, at depths of 25m. Being cold-blooded, they spend most of their morning sunbathing on the rocks surrounding the ocean. Once they have stored enough heat, they venture into the cold waters to start to feed. If you see a Marine Iguana sneezing, fear not. This is done to remove the excessive salt they ingest when eating.
6. Sunda flying lemur
The Sunda Flying Lemur is not what it seems: It is not a Lemur, and cannot fly, however, it uses its unique ‘wings’ to glide from tree to tree. It can soar up to 100 meters but only loses 10 meters in height. This nocturnal animal eats a variety of plants, flowers, and fruits. Its biggest threat in the wild, is not from natural predators, but from deforestation of its natural habitat, the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. however, is becoming increasingly common in plantations and urban areas as its natural habitat is eroded. When in Singapore, visit the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and its large population of Sunda Flying Lemur.
7. The Caribbean Manatee
The underwater master: These unique invertebrates, with no hind legs and algae resistant skin, can be up to 4.5 meters’ long and weight up to 600 kg! In contrast to the appearance, they are extremely active underwater: This can involve even swimming upside down and doing flips. They only live in areas with little, or no predators, so enjoy their day’s feeding on over 60 different plant species. As the name suggests, this species of manatee is only found in Caribbean waters. Normally, they live closer to the coast, so there’s quite some chance to see them while snorkelling the Caribbean Sea.
8. Great White Shark
Perhaps the most notorious animal on Earth: Made infamous by ‘Jaws’, these intimidating 4.5-meter-long animals can weight up to 200kg. Their sheer size, and speed, makes them the true apex predator of the sea. With no real predators themselves, except humans and Orcas, they dominate their surrounding like no other predatory fish. Do you really want to see a Great White Shark? Then best travel to South Africa. The most popular Great White trips in the world start from the small town of Gansbaai, near Cape Town.
9. Komodo Dragon
The largest lizard in the world: Growing up to three meters long and weighing in at 160 kg, it’s one animal not to be messed with. With its infectious saliva and its carnivore diet, it has no natural enemies except its own kind. It is definitely not being a picky eater, it enjoys many different reptiles, insects, and large mammals. A deer, or even the odd water buffalo are on the plate for this large reptile. To spot these animals from a different time best visit the island that it gives it name: Komodo Island. They’re widespread on the island and live throughout the tropical rainforests, beaches, and mountains. A guided tour to Komodo National Park will bring you as close to these amazing animals as you can get.