Weird reptiles. The +10 strangest in the world.

On this page we show you the weirdest reptiles in the world. Most of them are characterized by amazing physical features. Below you will be able to see each of these strange reptiles in more detail.

List of weird reptiles

Thorny devil

diablo espinoso
thorny devil

The thorny devil, mountain devil or moloch (moloch horridus) is a species of lizard whose most distinctive feature is the scaly spines it has all over its body.

These weird reptiles are insectivorous, feeding only on ants.

The thorny devil inhabits central and western Australia. These lizards live in desert, semi-desert and sparsely vegetated areas, preferring high temperatures. Although this species is so striking and curious, it is not endangered. Their main threat are predators such as snakes or some birds of prey.

Spiny bush viper

víbora de los arbustos espinosos, atheris hispida
thorn bush viper, atheris hispida

The spiny bush viper, or rough-scaled bush viper (Atheris hispida), is a viper known for the pointed scales that give it a bristly appearance.

The spiny bush viper feeds primarily on amphibians, rodents and lizards; and occasionally on slugs, birds, snails and other snakes.

This viper is endemic to Central Africa. It is distributed mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, southwestern Uganda, western Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. It is a nocturnal, arboreal snake that inhabits evergreen forests, mountains, rainforests and swamps. It is one of the weirdest reptiles and is very difficult to spot, so its conservation status has not been evaluated. Although those living in forests are especially vulnerable, due to the fact that the timber industry is destroying much of their habitat.

Matamata turtle

tortuga matamata
matamata tortoise

The matamata turtle (Chelus fimbriata) is a turtle characterized by a huge and strange head and a long and wide neck.

It is a carnivorous animal that generally feeds on fish, snails and crustaceans.

This turtle lives mainly in the Amazon rainforest and can be found in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Peru, Brazil, and the island of Trinidad. These weird reptiles inhabit fresh, calm and shallow waters, such as streams and swamps. Its main threat is humans, as it is an animal that is captured and sold as an exotic pet because of its appearance. However, it is considered a species of least concern.

Armadillo lizard

lagarto armadillo
armadillo lizard

The armadillo lizard (Ouroborus cataphractus) is a species of lizard whose body is covered with strong scales like armor.

They are among the weirdest reptiles in the world and have a mainly insectivorous diet, feeding mainly on termites and to a lesser extent on beetles and scorpions.

This species is endemic to the Succulent Karoo, a desert region found in South Africa. The armadillo lizard inhabits desert or semi-desert areas, mountain slopes and rocky outcrops. Until the end of the last century it was a vulnerable species due to capture for commercialization as a pet. Since then, however, this activity has become illegal, and since 1996 it has been considered a species of lesser concern.

Spider-tailed horned viper

serpiente de cola de araña, víbora de cola de araña
spider-tailed snake, spider-tailed viper. Photo by Omid Mozaffari.

The spider-tailed horned viper, or spider-tailed snake (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides), is a viper that uses its spider-like tail to hunt.

These weird reptiles are carnivorous and generally feed on birds, although they also consume lizards, lizards, and other insectivorous animals. To hunt, it takes advantage of its ability to camouflage itself in its environment and uses its peculiar tail as a lure, wagging it to attract animals that feed on spiders, especially birds.

It is endemic to western Iran. The spider-tailed horned viper inhabits arid and mountainous areas. It lives near rocky crevices, in steep areas, where it hides thanks to the color of its skin. Its discovery is relatively recent and there are still unknown characteristics and behaviors. Due to the lack of data its conservation status has not yet been evaluated, but it is known to be a very rare and difficult to find animal.

Green basilisk

basilisco verde
green basilisk

The green basilisk or plumed basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons) is one of the four basilisks that exist, it differs from the others by the double crest on its head.

The green basilisk is an omnivorous reptile and eats a wide variety of foods, including insects, fruits, leaves, flowers, snails, rodents, small reptiles and fish.

This curious lizard can be found from southern Mexico to Ecuador. These weird reptiles inhabit tropical forests near water sources. When a predator approaches , it dives into the water and runs over it using its hind legs, then sinks because it loses speed and continues to swim away.

The population of this species is very large, so it is considered a species of least concern. Its greatest threat, as is almost always the case, is habitat loss due to human activity.

Brookesia micra

brookesia micra
brookesia micra

The brookesia micra or micro chameleon is, with a maximum size of only 29 millimeters, the smallest reptile in the world.

Despite their fly-like size, male specimens are even smaller.

The brookesia micra is an insectivorous reptile, and feeds on some species of flies (such as the white fly or fruit fly) that are smaller than it (measuring between 1 and 5 millimeters).

It is a species endemic to Nosy Hara Island, which is located in the north of Madagascar. These weird reptiles inhabit tropical forests. The small size of this species as well as the other species of the genus brookesia, is due to an evolutionary process called insular dwarfism. It occurs in small and closed environments, such as islands, and the animals that live there tend to decrease their size to adapt to the scarcity of resources. It is a species that is considered almost endangered, its greatest danger is the loss of habitat due to logging.

Spiderman lizard

lagarto spiderman
spiderman lizard

The spiderman lizard or mwanza flat-headed rock agama (Agama mwanzae) is a lizard that has a blue and red colored body, resembling Spiderman, the popular Marvel superhero.

The spiderman lizard is an omnivorous animal, but feeds mainly on insects such as crickets, worms, ants and beetles.

This species can be found in East Africa, in Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya specifically. These weird reptiles inhabit savannahs and semi-desert areas. The population of agama mwanzae is very numerous, and is therefore considered a species of least concern.

Flying snake

serpiente voladora con bandas
flying snake

The banded flying snake (Chrysopelea pelias) is a species of snake that is capable of gliding a distance of up to 100 meters.

The banded flying snake is carnivorous and feeds on lizards, rodents, frogs and some small birds.

This species is found in most of Southeast Asia, specifically in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. It is one of the weirdest reptiles in the world and inhabits tropical and subtropical rainforests. It rarely comes down to the ground, so to move it jumps from one tree to another using its gliding ability (like the other species of the genus Chrysopelea). Its gliding technique is one of the best of all animals. This flying snake is one of the rarest of its genus, however it is not yet endangered so it is considered a species of least concern.

Mary River turtle

tortuga punk
punk turtle

The Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus) is a turtle that attracts attention because of its peculiar green crest.

It has an elongated and smooth shell. A curiosity of this species is that it is able to breathe through its cloaca. It has a long neck, but its head is small. It is characterized by the algae that grow on its head as a crest. It has large eyes and nostrils, a wide mouth and striking tubercles under its chin. The color of the Mary River turtle can be gray, brown, black or even reddish.

These strange reptiles feed on both plant matter (algae) and animals (fish, bivalves, crustaceans, insects and even small reptiles), so they are omnivorous animals.

It is a turtle endemic to the Mary River, in the southeastern state of Queensland, Australia. The punk turtle inhabits rapids, very fluid and shallow sections of the river. This species is endangered.

Marine iguana

iguana marina
marine iguana

The marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus), also known as the Galapagos iguana, is the only species of lizard that depends on the marine environment.

These lizards are black or dark gray in color and have membranes between their toes that help them swim. They are omnivorous animals, although they generally feed on algae.

These weird reptiles inhabit the rocky coasts, beaches and mangroves of the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador). In recent years, the Galapagos iguana has experienced a decline in its population and is therefore considered a vulnerable species.

Pig-nosed turtle

tortuga nariz de cerdo
pig-nosed turtle

The pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) is a strange turtle that stands out for the shape of its nose.

In addition to its striking nose (like that of a pig), this river turtle is striking for having flipper-like legs (like those of sea turtles). It feeds on fruits and leaves, but also on insects and crustaceans, so it is an omnivorous animal.

These strange turtles inhabit lakes, lagoons, swamps and slow sections of rivers in the south of the island of New Guinea and northern Australia. The pig-nosed turtle is endangered due to the deterioration of its natural habitat and its capture for sale as food or as a pet.

Malagasy leaf-nosed snake

serpiente nariz de hoja
leaf-nosed snake

The Malagasy leaf-nosed Snake (Langaha madagascariensis) is a species of snake that attracts attention because of the shape of its head.

Its name comes from the long, pointed appendage it has as a nose. This allows it to camouflage itself better among the branches. So this carnivorous animal hangs on one, waiting for a reptile or small amphibian to appear.

It is a reptile that lives in the dry tropical forests of the island of Madagascar. This strange snake is considered a species of least concern, but its population is in decline due to forest degradation caused by human activity.

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