Forget about exploring outer space to find strange, out-of-this-world creatures. Scientists are finding them right here on planet Earth. One such creature is called by a name that may have a person thinking of Barbarossa, the infamous Turkish pirate of the fifteenth century, also known as Red Beard. However, the babirusa definitely inspires much more terror if encountered face to face. This is a wild boar that has molars that grow clear through the top of its skull. These tusks can grow long enough to curve back and reenter the skull, killing the poor, creepy, little thing. Native to Indonesia, scary depictions of these animals can be seen reflected in native artwork.

If that one doesn’t give you the creeps, consider happening upon the Great Potoo when out in the wilderness alone. Rather than produce pleasant birdsong, this feathered minion of the demonic dominion growls as it stares you down with large, black eyes.

Not scared of a two foot tall growling bird? How about a blood sucking fish in the Amazon River? That would be the candiru. Don’t be fooled by this pint-sized little swimmer. Also called the vampire fish or toothpick fish, because of its size and shape, the candiru has another terrifying moniker:  urethra fish. That’s because legends claim it infects the human body by swimming up the urethra.

Most women who sport fancy purses and accessories adorned with Marabou feathers don’t realize the frightening reality of the source of those fashion statement feathers. The Marabou is a stork that also goes by the nickname “undertaker bird”. With a ghastly, croaky cry emitted from a bald head that looks as if it’s been run over by a truck, these enormous birds will definitely send shivers down your spine. And, once parents become aware that these birds have been known to actually kill small children that have wandered too close to them, fashionista moms everywhere may revolt and do a thorough closet cleaning.

And what about crabs? Ever thought a crab might have you running for cover? If not that’s probably because you have never heard of the coconut crab. This little sucker is actually not so little. It is the largest land arthropod in existence today. It’s claw are strong enough to crack open coconuts and they’ve also been known to feast on kittens if given the opportunity. Eeek!

What would you get if you crossed a werewolf with a toad? You would probably get something like the hair frog, which locals also call horror frog. If threatened, this frog, which actually does sport patches of hair, will break its front legs on purpose then use the jagged stumps of bone as defensive weapons against predators. Can you imagine what a mugger would do if a person did such a thing?

Sharks, all sharks, are scary enough. The goblin shark, however, is a thing of nightmares. The entire jaw of this sea creature can extend downward and forward almost twelve inches when snatching up a meal. If you’ve seen the movie Alien then you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Creepy, absolutely creepy.

I think I’ll reschedule that nature hike I had planned. Staying home is sounding better and better.