The 10 Ugliest Animals On Earth

Written by Abby Parks
Updated: September 27, 2023
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Key Points:

  • In the depths of the ocean around the Antipodes lives a fish only a mother could love–the grimacing blobfish. This misshapen oddity has “googly” eyes, a large, flat nose, and a permanent scowl that appears almost human-like.
  • Not only does the warthog have one of the oddest shaped heads of any animal in existence, but its body is covered in warts, making it a serious contender for the ugliest animal in the world!
  • While its shell looks interesting in a spindly, rough sort of way, the poor matamata turtle has one of the ugliest heads you’ll ever find on an animal. It’s strange, rounded feet with protruding nails aren’t much better.
This is our list of the ugliest animals on the planet!

Ugliest animal in the world? Well, beauty is subjective. What’s attractive in one culture could be gross in another. But alas, there are some species that don’t rank in any society. To that end, here’s our list of the 10 ugliest animals on Earth.

#10 Naked Mole-Rat

A naked mole rat eating near plant roots.

Naked mole rats

live underground and are more closely related to guinea pigs, porcupines, and chinchillas.

©Neil Bromhall/

Naked mole-rats are ugly animals–from their wrinkled skin to their odd facial features to their ugly animal feet. They are blind rodents that live in underground colonies. But their names are a misnomer because the subterranean dwellers are neither moles nor rats. Instead, they’re most closely related to guinea pigs, porcupines, and chinchillas.

To be fair, naked mole-rats aren’t even fully nude. Individuals don about 100 hairs over their bodies that serve as navigation whiskers. And though they may not be the most pulchritudinous specimens in Mother Nature’s menagerie, they live longer than any other rodent and are nearly immune to cancer.

#9 Blobfish

Three blobfish lying on a metal surface.

The blobfish has topped the Ugly Animal Preservation Society’s ranking of ugliest animals in existence since 2013.

©lacking author information / public domain – License

Blog fish are ugly fish out of water. With their slimy bodies and unbalanced features, blobfishes define what humans consider ugly. The deep-sea fish live around the Antipodes, and scientists first classified them in 1926. However, since they dwell in remote regions, blobfishes weren’t known to the public. That all changed in 2003 when several were caught in an expedition.

Since 2013, the blobfish has topped the Ugly Animals Preservation Society’s ranking of ugliest animals in existence.

Click here to learn more about the blobfish, which barely moves.

#8 Monkfish

A monkfish with its mouth open against a white background.

Monkfish have large, flat heads, wide mouths, and little bodies. These features help camouflage the monkfish in their deepwater habitats.

©Picture Partners/

Monkfish are ultra-ugly animals. Known as the “poor man’s lobster” and sometimes called “sea-devils,” monkfish have large, flat heads, wide mouths, and comparatively little bodies. Their eyes are small and beady, and individuals exude a generally slimy vibe that’s less than attractive.

But monkfish probably couldn’t care less about our aesthetic sensibilities. After all, their unique looks keep them well camouflaged in deepwater dwellings — and being alive is more important than being pretty!

Click here to learn more about monkfish, which reside around the Atlantic Ocean’s coasts.

#7 Hyena

A hyena standing near large rocks and a pond.

Hyenas have patchy fur and disturbing barks, making them unattractive to most.

©Vladimir Wrangel/

“Jokers” of the African savannah, hyenas are scraggly carnivores with a distinct bark that heightens their creepiness. Hyenas are notoriously rag-tag, and their patchy hair adds to their disheveled aura. But you can’t accuse hyenas of being wasteful. Like a survivalist hunter who shuns waste, hyenas devour every inch of their prey.

Click here to learn more about hyenas, which are more closely related to cats than dogs.

#6 Warthog

A warthog standing in the grass.

A warthog is covered in fleshy bumps which act as built-in armor during combat with predators.


There’s no denying that warthogs are ugly animals. Sure, their odd-shaped heads and large snouts aren’t exactly attractive. However, what lands warthogs on our ugly animal list is the fleshy “warts” that cover their bodies. But the bumps aren’t actually warts. Instead, they’re built-in armor that protects the wild pigs during combat.

Click here to learn more about warthogs, which have two sets of tusks.

#5 Aye-Aye

A close-up of an Aye Aye with its mouth open.

Aye Ayes are tiny primates with long, bony fingers, sharp fangs, and huge ears.

©Eugen Haag/

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And undoubtedly, some people “ooh and aww” over aye-ayes. But to us, the tiny primates look like unfortunate gremlins. And their bug-eyed faces aren’t solely to blame. They also have long, bony fingers like the Wicked Witch of the West, long fangs, and huge ears.

It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. It is characterized by its unusual method of finding food: it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood using its forward-slanting incisors to create a small hole into which it inserts its narrow middle finger to pull the grubs out. This foraging method is called percussive foraging, and takes up 5–41% of foraging time.

Click here to learn more about aye-ayes, which can only be found in Madagascar.

#4 Matamata Turtle

An aerial view of a matamata turtle against a black background.

The matamata turtle has a long, wart-filled neck, a spiky shell, and a flat head that’s accented with an unfortunate nose.


While most turtles are cute, Matamata turtles are downright ugly animals. In Spanish, its name means “Kill! Kill!” And if you stumbled upon a matamata turtle, that may be your immediate reaction. After all, the species is uncomfortably odd looking! Its long, wart-filled neck protrudes from an unattractive shell, culminating in a flat head that’s accented with an unfortunate nose. It also owns four clawed, oddly shaped ugly animal feet.

But as is the case with so many ugly animals, the matamata’s off-putting exterior makes it one of the most vicious predators in its habitat. Not only do they blend in perfectly with their swampy surroundings, but their long necks allow for a generous snapping range that’s ideal for hunting.

#3 Fruit Flies

A close-up of a fruit fly perched on a plant.

Fruit flies have large, red eyes and little hairs covering their bodies when viewed under a microscope.


Fruit flies are exceptionally ugly animals. To the naked eye, fruit flies are just faceless, swarming dots. But underneath the microscope, their displeasing visages are amplified. Big red eyes dominate their faces, and bedraggled hair whiskers are scattered across their crowns. The combination equals one thing: ugly!

Click here to learn more about flies, of which there are about 240,000 species!

#2 Vultures

A vulture perched on a rock .

Vultures have long, wrinkly heads and occasionally have appendages hanging from their necks.

©Carmine Arienzo/

The whole vulture package is unpleasant. Let’s face it, vultures are ugly animals. Not only do the large birds spend their days picking over rotting meat, but they smell, and their faces seem to exude evil. Their heads are long and wrinkly, and many have grotesque appendages and waddles hanging from their necks. Dainty, pretty hummingbirds they are not!

While their looks are bad enough in real life, vultures are often characterized in animated cartoons and movies, and their exaggerated features make them even more grotesque. For example, check out the pair of evil black vultures in Disney’s 1937 movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Their bulging yellow eyes and red-tipped beaks take “ugly” to new heights!

Click here to learn more about vultures, which have long been associated with battlefields.

#1 Bedlington Terriers

A Bedlington terrier standing in the grass with its tongue out.

Bedlington terriers are thought to be one of the ugliest dog breeds.

©Tikhomirov Sergey/

Bedlington Terriers are one of the ugliest animals and one of the ugliest dog breeds. It’s tough to find an ugly dog breed, but Bedlington Terriers fit the bill. The mid-sized canines are loyal and love to frolic, but they don’t rank high on looks. For starters, their bodies have a strained profile. Secondly, their snouts are long and narrow. Occasionally, with the right grooming, a Bedlington Terrier can look regal. But let’s face it, even when it comes to human royalty, regal rarely amounts to good-looking.

Click here to learn more about Bedlington Terriers, which are brilliant dogs.

Bonus: 4 Extremely Ugly Insects

Other than fruit flies, we avoided insects in our top 10 list. However, insects are technically animals, and one could argue they far surpass the animals we covered in terms of grotesqueness. So here are four of the ugliest insects we’ve ever seen!

Brazilian Tree Hopper

Brazilian Treehopper

The Brazilian Treehopper has what appears to be a “helmet” of balls on its head.

©1,970 × 1,478 pixels, file size: 1.91 MB, MIME type: image/jpeg – License

Depending on the angle, the strange appendage atop the Brazilian Treehopper looks like a fuzzy helicopter propeller. These oddities can be found in more places than you’d imagine–Africa, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia.

Giant Hissing Cockroach

Types of Cockroach - Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Hissing cockroaches can’t be called “pretty” by any stretch of the imagination!

©Keith Muzzioli/

This animal, native to Madagascar, is the stuff nightmares are made of! You may stumble on this ugly, hissing creature in a rotting log. And it’s got a super-hero-like ability to climb smooth surfaces like glass. Terrifying!

Egyptian Flower Mantis

Egyptian flower mantis, thistle mantis, Arab mantis

That’s one praying mantis you don’t want to run into in a dark alley.

©Yuvalif / Public Domain – License

 Inhabiting parts of the Mediterranean, Asia, the Middle East, and the Canary Islands, the Egyptian flower mantis is downright scary. Nuff said.

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

©Katja Schulz / CC BY 2.0 – License

If you’re familiar with the story of the ugly ducking who grows to become a beautiful swan, then the same applies to this very unattractive caterpillar. In its larva stage, the pipeline swallowtail caterpillar looks rubbery, spikey, and unappealing. Yet, it emerges from its cocoon as the beautiful pipevine swallowtail butterfly, whose wings are a gorgeous shade of blue with orange spots on the ends, reminiscent of its previous fully orange body.

Butterfly Close-Up

The beautiful pipevine swallowtail butterfly!


Summary of the 10 Ugliest Animals on Earth

Let’s take one last look at these animals that didn’t make the cut in the “looks” department:

1Bedlington TerriersStained profiles and long and narrow snouts
2VulturesLong, wrinkly heads and grotesque appendages and hanging waddles
3Fruit FliesBig red eyes and bedraggled hair whiskers across their crowns
4Matamata TurtleWart-filled neck, unattractive shell, flat head, ugly nose, and odd feet
5Aye-AyeBug-eyed faces, long, bony fingers, long fangs, and huge ears
6WarthogOdd-shaped heads, large snouts, and bumpy armor
7HyenaScraggly, patchy, rag-tag carnivores with a creepy bark
8MonkfishLarge, flat heads, wide mouths, little bodies, and beady eyes
9BlobfishSlimy bodies and unbalanced features that resemble an old man
10Naked Mole-RatWrinkled skin, odd facial features, and ugly feet

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Eugen Haag/

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About the Author

Abby Parks has authored a fiction novel, theatrical plays, short stories, poems, and song lyrics. She's recorded two albums of her original songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She has managed a website for folk music and written articles on singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other things music-oriented. She's also a radio DJ for a folk music show. As well as having been a pet parent to rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats, Abby loves seeking sightings of animals in the wild and has witnessed some more exotic ones such as Puffins in the Farne Islands, Southern Pudu on the island of Chiloe (Chile), Penguins in the wild, and countless wild animals in the Rocky Mountains (Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Elk, Marmots, Beavers).

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