Scientists estimate that there could be up to a trillion species on Earth. Some of these animals are creepy, some are dicks, and others are fantastic. Many are also majorly in danger because of humans and climate change, which is less fantastic.
Here is a small selection of fantastic beasts and where to find them:
The echidna is a fantastic beast. Found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, the echidna basically looks the same as it did in prehistoric times. What is even more fantastic is that female echidnas lay eggs — making it one of the only three mammals species that do so. They swim, climb trees, and have stubby little legs that they use to dig. They also don’t have teeth and their babies are called puggles. Fantastic!
Hyraxes are the closest living relative to elephants, which makes them pretty fantastic. A mammal native to Africa, they also are closely related to manatees and dugongs. The incisor teeth of hyraxes grow out just like tiny tusks, which is pretty fantastic. When their urine crystalizes, it looks like white patches on rocks. They also have really sweaty feet, which helps them grip onto rock surfaces. Fantastic!
The Blue Glaucus
Technically called a Glaucus atlanticus, this fantastic creature is a small, blue slug. They spend most of their life floating upside-down in either the Pacific, Atlantic, or Indian Oceans. They are able to chill so hard because they swallow air bubbles that then sit in their belly. They eat blue bottle jellyfish and are venomous to the touch — not fantastic for humans.
The blobfish is also a fantastic beast and you can find it in deep water off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. With a big nose and jelly-like flesh, blobfish usually grow to about 12 inches long and don’t have skeletons. They also are famous as memes. Fantastic!
The Proboscis Monkey
The proboscis monkey is a fantastic beast with a fantastic nose. This jungle Pinocchio is only ever found on the riversides and coasts of Borneo, the tropical south Pacific isle divided between Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It’s by the waterside that these large-nosed swimmers — they’re considered the best among the primates — forage for fruit and leaves and attempt to avoid predatory crocodiles and pythons. Sometimes, they’re called orang belanda, which is Indonesian for “Dutchman” — the native islanders’ inside joke that their colonizers had big noses and even bigger bellies. Fantastic!