When it comes to the more bizarre oddities in life it’s hard to top these weirdly wonderful creature creations found in nature right now.

Nature has a thing about survival of the fittest. In that spirit some species of animals (whether they live in water, on land or in the sky) have gone to extremes to make sure they have whatever bonus edge they can get over their neighbors in the wild.

Some, like the okapi that are found in Congo rainforests, look like they’ve been spray tagged by thugs. With it’s striped black and white zebra-like legs and a coat of fur that appears to glisten with a purple hue, this relative of the giraffe does its best to avoid natural predators like panthers but has had limited success avoiding man. Hunting and an ever-shrinking territory being eaten up by mining and logging operations now have the okapi on the endangered species list with fewer than 4,500 left in the wild.

Then we have the eastern North America-based star-nosed mole, an animal that looks like its octopus-like head is from another planet. Of the 39 known species of moles, this is the only one that calls a swamp home. Its namesake nose allows this mole to efficiently hunt its insect prey (usually worms) while on land but also enables it to smell…underwater. Bubbles blown from its nose are inhaled quickly, which the mole then smells to detect scents in the water. It might be a little freaky to look at, but this marsh-loving mole’s impressive scent capabilities are still a fascinating study in progress for scientists who don’t mind dealing with a creature that has tentacles on its face.

Story by Jay Moon