The Top 10 Coolest Animals in the World

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: September 17, 2023
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Key Points

  • The okapi is actually related to the giraffe. It is native to only one region in the world: the Ituri Rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • From the forests of Madagascar comes the fossa. It is cat-like in appearance but has qualities similar to a mongoose. Female fossa develop female reproductive organs at an age of 1-2 years, instead of being born with them.
  • The Pacu fish, a member of the piranha family, is as large as a small child at 3 feet long and 65 pounds. Some people keep them as pets, and in spite of their intimidating teeth, people claim they are quite friendly.

What makes an animal cool? Is it their appearance, their walk, their attitude? According to the dictionary, ‘cool’ means fashionably attractive or impressive. We think the following animals have tons of impressive traits that make them super cool!

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These are the 10 coolest animals in the world:

Infographic of the 10 Coolest Animals in the World
The blobfish, described as the ugliest fish on Earth, can also be considered the coolest animal.

#10. Okapi

Coolest Animals: Okapi

The okapi has a very long tongue that is used to wash their eyelids, clean out their ears, and swat insects away.

©seth miles/Shutterstock.com

You might think this creature is a relative to the zebra with its striping. But okapi is a cousin to the giraffe. As an herbivore, the okapi mostly diets on grass, leaves, and other plants. You’ll find them in Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo.

Among the okapi’s predators are leopards and humans. The okapi has a cool natural defense. Their large ears can detect the slightest disturbance in the environment, warning them of danger. To hide, they only have to turn away, as the brown and white markings on their hind quarters make for great camouflage in the forest.

#9. Fossa

Coolest Animals: The Fossa

Fossas have semi-retractable claws that allow them to climb down trees headfirst.

©belizar/Shutterstock.com

Found in the forest habitats of Madagascar, the fossa has the physical characteristics of a cat with the strong tail of a monkey. These carnivores are more Mongoose than feline though. They hunt day and night with more than half their food consisting of lemurs.

Fossas can grow up to six feet in length and are fierce predators with semi-retractable claws. Instead of jumping down from a tree like a cat, the fossa can climb down headfirst, which is unusual. Fossas don’t have babies until they are four years old, making them one of the oldest animals to reach gestation age. They also have scent glands that release a terrible smell when they are frightened.

#8. Maned Wolf

Coolest Animals: The Maned Wolf

Maned wolves do not howl like other wolves but bark loudly.

©Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

This lanky critter is more dog than anything and has no relation to either fox or wolf. It calls home the grasslands of central-west, south, and southeastern Brazil. The maned wolf’s a loner and splits its dining between plants and meats.

Maned wolves are monogamous creatures, and a couple will mate from November to April and share a den to raise their pups, which are protected by the male. Otherwise, the male and female live separately, but share marked territory.

The maned wolf uses skunky-smelling feces and urine to mark its territory. And it works. Not many animals or humans will stay in the vicinity long. Surprisingly, this wolf doesn’t howl, another trait that separates it from the family. Instead, similar to dogs, the creature emits loud or roaring barks. They use the sounds to scare other wolves and to let mates know where they are.

#7. “Blue Dragon”

Coolest Animals: The "Blue Dragon"

Blue dragons can store their venomous prey’s stinging cells in their bodies to later use against predators.

©iStock.com/S.Rohrlach

The blue dragon, or Glaucus atlanticus, floats upside down in the water, using its blue side to blend in unseen. If you spy it, you see what looks like a small dragon. These cool animals feed on the Portuguese man o’ war, a species it’s actually related to. The blue dragon will curl into a ball to protect itself, but also delivers an effective sting when provoked.

Blue dragons like to mate, travel, and eat in groups. They also have both male and female organs and lay their eggs on floating driftwood or inside the carcass of prey.

Considered a sea slug, the blue dragon is a relatively new find. Initially, the Indian and Pacific Oceans were thought to be their only homes, but researchers have now found them in Taiwan, South Padre Island in Texas, and South Africa‘s Cape Town.

#6. Japanese Spider Crab

Coolest Animals: Japanese Spider Crab

Japanese Spider Crab has the largest leg span of any arthropod.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

This crustacean makes the list for its incredibly cool legs. This spider crab, from claw to claw, has been sighted in sizes of up to 18 feet! The only sea creature heavier than the Japanese spider crab is the American lobster. The Japanese spider crab’s a delicacy in its region but not easy to catch.

These creatures have extremely long legs, making them fast and hard to capture. At their largest, they stand two to three feet off the ground, sometimes taller! And their legs never stop growing throughout their lifespan. They tend to keep to shallow, colder water. Oddly enough, they don’t swim!

#5. Slow Loris

Coolest Animals: Slow Loris

Slow lorises are rare among mammals for being venomous and have two tongues.

©hkhtt hj/Shutterstock.com

If a slow loris gives you the eye, your heart will melt. But we don’t recommend giving them a hug, they are rare venomous mammals and have very long, sharp teeth. The venom is so strong that even another slow loris will die if bitten. They’re also capable of being completely silent to prevent discovery.

The slow loris has two tongues. The jagged tongue is for cleaning teeth. The long tongue is for sucking nectar out of flowers. These cool animals start having offspring at only 9 months old and commonly have twins. The slow loris like to sleep all day with their head tucked between their legs.

#4. Angora Rabbit

Coolest Animals: Angora Rabbit

Angora rabbits are bred for their sought-after fur.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

The hairiest breed of rabbit, the angora is famous for being one of the most touchable creatures in the world. Fluffy and cute, they originate in Turkey but spread across Europe before being imported to the United States. The angora rabbit sheds its fur three or four times a year. As angora is a highly sought-after fabric, we wonder if owners wait around with brooms.

Angora is as much as seven times comfier and warmer than sheep wool. Unfortunately, that’s a challenge for owners who have to manage high temps around angora rabbits. They’re pretty hardy, but do thrive better in cooler regions.

#3. Pacu Fish

Coolest Animals: Pacu Fish

The pacu has square, straight teeth that eerily resemble those of humans.

©Artex67/Shutterstock.com

Catch a pacu, open its mouth, and guess what you’ll see? A mouth full of what looks like human teeth and a tongue. A member of the piranha family, it’s a larger sea creature and resides in South American waters and in the rivers of the Amazon. The pacu does not eat meat though — it prefers to use its blunt molars to crack nuts and seeds.

Owners of the pacu fish findit has a laid-back temperament. Like a canine, the fish has the capacity to nuzzle comfortably with its owner. The pacu fish can get up to 42 inches long and can weigh as much as 97 pounds! They also have a long lifespan, reaching 20 years old in the wild and 30 years old in captivity. The oldest known pacu was 43 years old.

#2. Axolotl

Coolest Animals: Axolotl

Axolotls have a lifespan of 10 years and are capable of regenerating parts of their bodies.

©Spok83/Shutterstock.com

The axolotl could be a Pokémon or even the new character in a Pixar hit. Spotted in lakes around Mexico, this member of the salamander family is amphibious but strictly lives its adult life in the water. Unfortunately, they’re an endangered species, falling prey to predators and the urbanization of their ecosystems.

What’s extremely cool about these animals is their ability to reproduce and regenerate. Well, it’s not unusual for many species of amphibians, but axolotls go into territory no amphibian has, laying up to 1,000 eggs at a single spawning. Since they reach maturity and start laying eggs at only 6 months old, and then live for another 10 years, that is a lot of baby axolotl! Then comes the ability to regenerate limbs, spines, jaws, and even parts of the brain! Scientists are still studying these cool creatures trying to figure out how they do it.

#1. Blobfish

blobfish

Blobfish

, known for their unique “ugly” appearance, are an endangered species.

©World-Wide-Photography/Shutterstock.com

The blobfish has been described as the ugliest fish on Earth, but we don’t think they are ugly, we think they are impressive! The blobfish has dark eyes on opposite sides of its face, a big nose, and a gelatinous body that is slightly less dense than water. This design allows the blobfish to float around with its mouth open lazily eating whatever fish happens to swim inside.

Living in the deepest waters of Tasmania, Australia, and New Zealand, the water pressure holds their body into the typical bony fish shape, and it is only above water that they look like a blob.

They have strong familial instincts. The female can lay thousands of eggs and either parent will sit on the hatchlings to protect them from predators. Unlike other fish, blobfish don’t have a swim bladder. They carry an air sac that lets them adjust their buoyancy and adapt to the extreme pressure of deep ocean water.

Bonus: 3 More Cool Animals

We’ve extended our list of cool animals to include three more outliers that you may not have encountered in your animal knowledge quest – including one cool cat!

Pink Fairy Armadillo

Funny Animal Names

Like other armadillos, pink fairy armadillos have a shell but it is not totally attached to their bodies.

©Photo by David J. Stang / Creative Commons – License

Move over platypus! The pink fairy armadillo is just as strange but much more cool with its glam pink shell, mod white fur, and punk-clawed feet. These tiny armadillos like to keep to themselves – buried in the sandy plains and dry grasslands of central Argentina. Small enough to fit in your hand – pink fairy armadillos can dive underground as fast as sand fleas can shoot under the wet sand at the beach! They love the nightlife and tend to emerge only occasionally, under the moonlight for a feast of ants.

Raccoon Dog

raccoon dog on snowy hill

This masked animal is, not surprisingly, commonly mistaken for a raccoon.

©iStock.com/sduben

The common raccoon dog looks like an overgrown raccoon but is actually related to foxes. Native to East Asia, this cool animal refuses to be labeled. It’s unlike anything else – a canine that hibernates in the winter and climbs trees like a cat. Raccoon dogs have invaded Europe – causing trouble for native species and ecosystems. Like other foxes, these cool canines don’t bark like dogs – they utter strange, melancholy whines of despair.

Fishing Cat

Fishing Cats prefer to hunt at night.

©Jacklee / Creative Commons

This cool cat may look like your average oversized tabby – but it is anything but. Native to Asia, this tiny wild cat survives like no other feline dares (except, maybe, the super cool jaguar in South America)- it can dive into the water to snag a fish dinner. If you’ve ever tried to bathe your cat – you know that most felines would rather not get wet. Not the fishing cat! They intentionally set up camp around water and make fish their main course instead of the occasional treat. Whenever they are in the mood for poultry -fishing cats have been seen diving underneath swimming fowl to catch them from below. If they don’t feel like getting their faces wet – they dangle their paws near the surface of the water to attract unsuspecting fish that they snatch out of the water with lightening speed.

Summary of the Top 10 Coolest Animals in the World

Let’s review some totally awesome animals that made our top 10 list for coolest on Earth:

RankAnimal Name
1Blobfish
2Axolotl
3Pacu Fish
4Angora Rabbit
5Slow Loris
6Japanese Spider Crab
7“Blue Dragon”
8Maned Wolf
9Fossa
10Okapi

The Top Animals to See in the Wild

Our Earth is covered with many amazing animals, so why not try to see some in the wild? Take a trip to see any of these wonderful creatures:

  • The Lone Hunter: Bengal Tiger — One of the most wondrous and iconic animals to walk the Earth, Bengal tigers are majestic and rare. Human residents of jungle villages that share space with large cats wear face masks on the back of their heads because tigers prefer to attack from behind. If the felines think a person is looking directly at them, they typically find another target.
  • The Gentle Giant: Mountain Gorilla — Big yet gentle, fierce yet compassionate, the mountain gorilla is an interesting contrast of extremes. These big lumbering giants reside deep within the cloud forests of central Africa. Mountain gorillas are one of humanity’s closest living relatives.
  • The Singer of the Sea: Humpback Whale — The sight of the humpback whale swimming or breaching the water is one of the most impressive spectacles in all of nature. Both sexes can produce sounds, but only males produce the haunting and beautiful whale songs for which they’re known. Lasting between five and 35 minutes at a time, these highly complex songs vary between groups and appear to change slightly every year.
  • The Person of the Forest: Orangutan — The orangutan is one of the largest primates in the world and is the only member of the great ape family that is found outside of Africa. They are solitary and they spend almost all of their lives high in the trees. Orangutans are very intelligent and will mind map where their food source is for the year, as well as make tools out of sticks to use when needed. They share 97% of their DNA with humans!
  • The King of the Jungle: Lion — The lion is one of the largest, strongest, and most powerful felines in the world. They roam the African continent and are incredibly sociable animals that live together in family groups called pride. They are often called kings of the jungle for their territorial nature and no natural predators.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Pete Burana/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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