The 10 Ugliest Animals On Earth

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: June 20, 2022
Image Credit Eugen Haag/Shutterstock.com
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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 it’s body is covered in warts, making it a serious contender for the ugliest animal!
  • 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.

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

Naked mole-rats 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.

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/Shutterstock.com

#9 Blobfish

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 Animal Preservation Society’s ranking of ugliest animals in existence.

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

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

#8 Monkfish

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.

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/Shutterstock.com

#7 Hyena

“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.

A hyena standing near large rocks and a pond.
Hyenas have patchy fur and a disturbing bark, making them unattractive to most.

Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

#6 Warthog

Sure, their odd-shaped heads and large snouts aren’t exactly attractive. However, what lands warthogs on our ugliest animals 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.

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

nwdph/Shutterstock.com

#5 Aye-Aye

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.

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

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/Shutterstock.com

#4 Matamata Turtle

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.

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.

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.

COULANGES/Shutterstock.com

#3 Fruit Flies

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!

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.

Factory_Easy/Shutterstock.com

#2 Vultures

The whole vulture package is unpleasant. 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.

A vulture perched on a rock .
Vultures have long, wrinkly heads and occasionally have appendages hanging from their necks.

Carmine Arienzo/Shutterstock.com

#1 Bedlington Terriers

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.

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/Shutterstock.com

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:

RankAnimal
1Bedlington Terriers
2Vultures
3Fruit Flies
4Matamata Turtle
5Aye-Aye
6Warthog
7Hyena
8Monkfish
9Blobfish
10Naked Mole-Rat

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AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.