15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped

At Cracked, we're no strangers to the weird and terrifying creations Mother Nature's animal development team comes up with. We consider it our scientific duty to keep the world informed about the continuing freak show that is the animal (and sometimes plant and fungus) kingdom.

Sometimes the results of evolution look like Mother Nature sat down with Salvador Dali and sketched out whatever Hunter S. Thompson was screaming about, things like ...

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The Snub-Nosed Monkey

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedThomas Geissmann

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Quick: What looks like someone mixed a skull monster with a clown and gave it hair? If you said La Toya Jackson ... well, OK, we'll give you that.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty
Not all of the monsters in the world come from the deep sea.

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But thanks to photographs of the snub-nosed monkeys, we now have evidence that evolution occasionally looks like botched plastic surgery.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped一鸣 朱
"Why doesn't anyone respect me?"

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Snub-nosed monkeys, native to China, are what happens when God runs out of ideas. Their eyes are sunken in, their noses are skeletal and their mouths are what we imagine a doughnut's butt looks like. The monkeys can live in groups of up to 600, mostly dudes, forming some of the most gigantic, ridiculous-looking monkey colonies on earth. They are known for their colorful fur, and for the fact that they look like a species that got into mom's makeup drawer and went to town.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedFacts and Details
Ridiculous ....

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedAnimal Info
This one looks like that girl in the yearbook who only wore lipstick for school photos but always wore a sweater with horses on it.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedPrimate Info
And this one looks like AH! Holy shit!

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On second thought, we'll quit picking on the painted terror monkey.

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Gulper Eel

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedAlexei Orlov

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If you think of the deep sea as some sort of earth-bound gallery of horrors ... well, this will do nothing to change that opinion.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedThe Independent
Above: Nightmares.

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Gulper eels live as far down as 10,000 feet below the surface, where they terrify even larger fish, because gulper eels can swallow them whole. They lack many parts that normal fish enjoy, like many major bones, a swim bladder, scales and possibly whatever fish have in place of souls, sacrificing all those things for the ability to consume anything that swims by them. They also have a bioluminescent organ on their tails to attract prey, making them nature's version of an anglerfish mixed with an umbrella dipped in fear sprinkles.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedBruce Robison, National Geographic

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Ten thousand feet of water might be an acceptable buffer, but there's no harm in moving to Denver to put another 5,000 feet between you and them.

13
Nudibranch

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty

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Hey, nature, we have a request -- could you create something that looks like Van Gogh painted a feather duster made out of slugs?

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedJens Petersen, Chriswon Sungkono
Thank you, that'll do.

Nudibranchs, also called sea slugs, are some of the most brightly colored, bizarre-looking creatures ever to spawn from the ocean. Unlike the eel, they don't live where the sun never reaches, and they aren't armed with tentacles or giant teeth. As far as sea creatures go, they are downright pleasant, and it's a wonder Pixar hasn't tried to make a touching, weep-inducing movie about them yet.

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Except they are hermaphodites. But don't worry -- they aren't able to fertilize themselves.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedNick Hobgood
Yeah, good luck selling The Mighty Hermaphroditey, Disney.

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On the other hand, looking at nudibranchs is about as close as you can get to doing powerful hallucinogens without murdering yourself.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedNick Hobgood

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12
Glasswing Butterfly

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty

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Speaking of nature's whimsical fairy creatures, this is a real butterfly from Central America:

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedDavid Tiller
He's got his own built-in bubble wand!

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Glasswing butterflies look even more delicate than regular butterflies, lacking the scales that usually give their wings color, resulting in insects that look like they were handcrafted by tiny artistic fingers.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGrant and Caroline
"You think you hate hail ...".

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Proving that nature always has an awful-card hidden up her sleeve, these fairylike bundles of shimmer are poisonous as caterpillars because they exclusively eat poisonous plants. But don't worry, once they metamorphose into butterflies, they are pure sparkles. Except the males, who are also poisonous, because they eat murder nectar.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedH. Crisp
Grab four of these guys and you've got the makings of a butterfly cathedral.

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11
Scorpionfly

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedFritz Geller-Grimm

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While we're on the subject of insects, we recently told you about scorpionflies and their dickish cross-dressing shenanigans during breeding season. They, too, have transparent wings, and in this photograph taken of a live scorpionfly under a microscope we see that they OH FUCK!

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedBy Wim van Egmond
AAAHHHH!!!

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So when you mix a fly, a dragon and a scorpion, you get a Stan Winston creature effect that is terrifying, but completely harmless.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedRichard Bartz
As long as you consider shitting yourself "harmless."

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Ankole-Watusi Cattle

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshoppedz2amiller

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Texas may boast about their longhorn steer, and we're inclined to agree that the Lone Star State has some impressive cows with impressive horns. On the other hand, the only things those cows have to contend with are lonely cowboys and an industrial mincer at the end of their days. Now, put good ole' American steer in a land filled with ebola and lions, and the stakes get higher.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped
That's the smile of a boy who will never, ever be fucked with again.

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In Africa, Ankole-Watusi cows need to carry a pair of Conan's swords on their heads just to make sure they don't wind up as hyena food. Their horns can be anywhere from 8 to 12 feet between the tips and are the result of several different breeds of cattle being mixed across Africa.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty
And a couple of pikes thrown in for good measure.

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They are considered "medium" in size as far as cattle are concerned, probably by a bull with smaller horns and a bigger truck.

9
Giant Softshell Turtle

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedAnnette Olsson, IUCN

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Let's play a game. We describe an animal and you picture it in your head, then we show you what it looks like and you shriek in horror, OK? OK, here we go. It's a reptilian predator, it only has to breathe twice every 24 hours and it's 6 feet across, sucking in any animal that comes too close. What are you picturing? An alligator? Maybe some giant hideous snake?

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedAnnette Olsson, IUCN
Surprise.

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How about a cow patty squished and formed into a turtle? Cantor's giant softshell turtles live in Asia and Indonesia, where they spend 95 percent of their lives lying in the mud with just their faces sticking out, eating whatever unfortunate fish happens by. It's like a giant alligator/snapping turtle.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedAnnette Olsson, IUCN
Only really retarded looking.

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8
Miniature Horses

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedBy Jim Cole, AP

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Imagine a world where My Little Pony is real, where tiny, adorable horses can be kept in the house like dogs. But that's a fantasy world, nothing in real life could --

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedJose Reynaldo da Fonseca
We're only a few tubes of dye and glitter short of making My Little Pony a reality.

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Holy shit. It's only a matter of time before they start breeding those with pink fur and ice cream cone tattoos on their ass. Miniature horses aren't just bred to make little girls squeal with delight; they also serve as companion animals (translated: little horsey dogs) and even service animals, helping out disabled people who find golden retrievers boring and don't mind road apples in their kitchen.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedPortland Afoot
"Oh, yeah. They're all definitely jealous."

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7
Dumbo Octopus

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedBBC Nature

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Finally, something from the abyss that does not make us want to fire nukes into the deep blue, "just in case." Dumbo octopi are the deepest-living octopus known, showing that after miles of vertical water and untold horrors, deep sea creatures start turning into Disney cartoons.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedDiscovery Channel15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped

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Thank God, because we were beginning to believe nothing but fright could live in the deep dark ... oh, there it is.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedNational Geographic
His favorite foods include small fish, shrimp and your face.

As with all things that appear sweet, hiding under the cuddly exterior is a vampire squid.

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Stalk-Eyed Fly

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedRob Knell

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Stalk-eyed flies are what happens when logic takes a back seat to boners.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedHauke Koch
Imagine if only men like Ron Jeremy got to reproduce. On second thought, don't.

Because females are more likely to mate with dudes with long stalks, the male eye stalks keep getting longer and longer. And sex is the only reason, by the way -- the stalks are not beneficial tools against predators and are in fact detrimental to the fly's ability to fly, because its eyes are located so far away from its body.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedRob Knell
It's the only bug built to clothesline its fellow insects.

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It's evolutionarily idiotic. It would be like if male humans found a way to make their dicks bigger, but every additional inch makes the guy slower, and fatter, and generally more terrible. Like greasier, and just useless, evolutionarily speaking.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty
Oh. Oooooh.

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5
Long-Necked Turtle

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedIsbalon

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On the subject of retardedly long body parts, these things look like you could pick them up in a dollar store. Instead of toys that look like Stretch Armstrong mixed with a Transformer, in this case, it looks like someone threaded an eel through a turtle.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedTomR
It's like a dick joke mated with a sea monster.

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Their necks are so long that they are unable to pull their heads inside their shells like every other turtle on earth, which, yes, is the only good thing about being a turtle. They are forced to fold their giant freak necks alongside their bodies, the turtle equivalent of standing next to a guy wearing armor when something bad happens. On the other hand, they have skunk superpowers and can ooze horrible-smelling musk if agitated. So we guess it's more like standing next to a guy wearing armor who farts nerve gas.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshoppedjjiron
And the rest of their personal hygiene leaves something to be desired.

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4
Frogfish

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty

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When humans mix up two animals names to name another animal, the results are usually disappointing: dragonflies are uglier than regular flies and nowhere near as cool as dragons, spider crabs can't spin webs and aren't delicious and the sharktopus isn't even a thing. So it's pretty surprising to see that frogfish are actually more interesting than the sum of their namesakes' parts.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedJens Petersen

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Frogfish are shallow-water anglerfish that swapped hideousness for leg fins and kick-ass fashion. They are so varied in appearance that sometimes two of the same species appear to be completely different types, because fashion fish would not be caught dead at the reef social wearing the same outfit as another frogfish.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedGetty15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedStephen Childs
"Oh shit! We both came dressed as the rest of the ocean."

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If you think we're exaggerating, run a Google image search on "frogfish." Just make sure you wear sunglasses.

3
Rhino Mice

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedKimCarpenter NJ

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Sadly, rhino mice do not have tiny nose horns that they use to shank Tonka trucks. Rather, they're mutated mice afflicted with a range of skin and nail disorders and glandular problems. Their condition leaves them looking like a mouse bred with a raisin. Or if Master Splinter had a baby with Krang. Here's a picture of either two rhino mice from a scientific study or Edward James Olmos hanging out with Keith Richards.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedJournal of Investigative Dermatology

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Just one more: Rhino mice look like God said, "Sure, mice are OK, but what if I made them out of scrotum?"

2
Marsupial Mole

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedBartus.malec

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Wait, you didn't think we would make a list of freak-ass animals and not include one exclusive to Australia, did you? Filling our Australia quota is the marsupial mole. They spend almost all of their time digging though the dirt, to the point that they no longer have ears and their eyes are reduced to lenses that serve no purpose. They also dig no permanent tunnels, allowing them to fill in behind them as they dig.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped

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They resemble a mink-covered sock with claws, showing that nature went back to the same dealer she was seeing when she designed the platypus. We'd make a joke about this remarkable photograph of a marsupial mole eating a centipede, but we don't even know for sure that's what we're looking at. That could just as well be its butt. Does it poop or eat lobsters?

1
Assassin Spiders

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedJ. Miller

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Along with "shotgun battleaxe" and "tyrannosaurus lion," "assassin spider" is one of the most kick-ass and terrifying combination of nouns on earth. The reality is appropriately freaky looking, and it's called "assassin" because it feeds exclusively on other spiders. Also it looks like a haunted staircase made of spiders.

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedJ. Miller

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No, you aren't seeing things -- that spider has jaws as long as its freaking neck. Oh, right, and it has a neck. That is a completely bizarre ancillary body part, much like having an extra eyebrow, but it apparently helps the little bastards murder other arachnids, and it successfully elevates them to the level of "more disturbing-looking than usual for a spider." And here is a piece of amber showing that they have been terrorizing other spiders since about 40 million years ago:

15 Animals You Won't Believe Aren't PhotoshoppedBerkeley, Assassin Spiders

They live in Madagascar and Australia, which should come as a surprise to absolutely no one who has ever heard of either place.

David is a sometime editor and full time webmaster and contributor over at WordPlague.

For more things that look fake but aren't, check out 18 Old-Timey Photos You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped and 15 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped.

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