11. Hawaii: Brahminy ʙʟɪɴᴅ snake
A very common, but rarely seen, species which spends much of its time burrowing in soil and leaf litter. They may be encountered when digging in soil, when turning over logs or rocks or after a heavy downpour when they are forced to the ground surface. This is one of the world’s smallest snakes, rarely exceeding 20 cm in length.
The body is dark brown to black throughout. The head is barely discernible from the body, and the tiny eyes appear as black dots. Virtually ʙʟɪɴᴅ this snake can, however, distinguish between light and dark. The tail is short and blunt and bears a short, sharp spine. The Brahminy ʙʟɪɴᴅ Snake feeds on small invertebrates, mainly ant larvae and pupae. The species is the only known parthenogenetic snake i.e. all specimens are female and reproduction is asᴇxual.
12. Idaho: Pygmy shrew
A small, insectivorous mammal, the pygmy shrew has tiny eyes and a large nose giving it keen sense of smell. Shrews live life in the fast lane, hectically snuffling through the undergrowth for their prey, which includes spiders and woodlice. Pygmy shrews can be found in most habitats. Active by day and night, they are very territorial and ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪve for their size and can sometimes be heard ꜰɪɢʜᴛing, their high-pitched squeaks particularly noticeable during the summer. Adults may only live for a year, just long enough to have one or two litters of around six young.
The pygmy shrew has tiny eyes, very small ears and a pointy face with a long nose. It is dark brown above and grey or silver below. It is smaller than the common shrew, and its tail is two-thirds the length of its body (common shrew tails are half the length of their bodies). It also has a smaller, narrower snout.
13. Illinois: Fishing spider
Fishing Spiders are typically found near bodies of water. They may also venture into nearby woods for terrestrial ʜᴜɴᴛing. Fishing Spiders are large and look ᴍᴇɴᴀᴄing. Their leg span can stretch to more than 75mm (3 inches), making some slightly bigger than the palm of an adult hand. Like nearly every spider in North America, it can bite and deliver ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ, but its ᴠᴇɴᴏᴍ is not considered ᴅ.ᴀ.ɴ.ɢ.ᴇ.ʀous unless you happen to be specifically ᴀʟʟᴇʀɢic to it.
14. Indiana: Hellbenders
Hellbenders are amphibians. More specifically, they belong to the group of amphibians called salamanders. Most salamanders you may have seen are tiny, maybe up to 5 or 6 inches long. Hellbenders are not the largest salamanders in the world, but they’re pretty close. The largest hellbender ever recorded was just over 29 inches long…nearly 2 1/2 feet! Their close relatives, salamanders in the genus Andrias, can reach lengths over 5 feet.
Hellbenders have a flat body and head, a large, very keeled tail, and tiny eyes. Many individuals have fleshy folds of skin along the sides of their body which help to take in oxygen from the water. The arms and legs are very large and muscular and each hand and foot has 5 fingers. Hellbenders can range in color from dull brown or gray to bright orange or red. They usually have some sort of darker spots or blotches on their bodies, but the belly is usually only one color. If you pick up a hellbender you will find out very quickly that they are extremely slimy! This makes them very difficult to catch and to handle, but the slime is not ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴous.
15. Iowa: Common conehead
Common Coneheads have faces that are pinched into a cone shape. The pointed heads of some species may even have a knob at the ‘nose’. Like other Katydids, Common Coneheads can jump, fly and sing. Most are green and mimic leaves. Antennae are much longer than its body. Powerful hindlegs are long, much longer than the front sets of legs. Females bear long sword-like ovipositors used for laying ғᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴢed eggs inside plant tissue. The curved ovipositor may be longer than the rest of the female’s body. For this reason, some species are called Sword-Bearer Coneheads.
16. Kansas: Western hognose snake
The western hognose snake comes in an array of colors phases, patterns and varieties. It is known for its trademark pointy nose that is used to borrowing and hiding in sand and loose gravel. They are known for their many defense mechanisms. Most unique is their ability to play ᴅᴇᴀᴅ if they sense ᴅ.ᴀ.ɴ.ɢ.ᴇ.ʀ or a ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛ. The hognose snake will turn on its back, open its mouth and stick out its tongue. They can even ʙʟᴇᴇᴅ from the mouth and release a foul smell to assist in the act. They prefer to live in sandy prairies, scrublands and floodplains.
Western hognose snakes are relatively small, reaching a maximum length of about 35 inches and weighing less than half a pound. They have an upturned snout. Their dorsal surface is light olive green with about darker green spots. Their ventral surface, however, is almost jet black.
17. Kentucky: Scorpion fly
The scorpion fly is a strange-looking insect that is found in gardens and hedgerows, and along woodland edges, particularly among Stinging nettles and bramble. It has a long, beak-like projection from its head that is uses to feed. It scavenges on ᴅᴇᴀᴅ insects and frequently steals the contents of spiders’ webs. It lives up to its name by sporting a scorpion-like tail, which the male uses in courtship displays. Adults usually mate at night, but mating can be a ᴅ.ᴀ.ɴ.ɢ.ᴇ.ʀous game for the male, who might easily be ᴋɪʟʟed by the female. So he presents her with a nuptial gift of a ᴅᴇᴀᴅ insect or a mass of saliva to placate her – the equivalent of a box of chocolates! The resulting eggs are laid in the soil and the emerging larvae live and pupate at the soil surface.
The scorpion fly has a black-and-yellow body, a reddish head with a long beak, dark patches on the wings, and a scorpion-like tail which does not sting (the male has two claspers at the end for mating).
18. Louisiana: Roseate spoonbill
The Roseate Spoonbill stands about 30 inches tall and has a heron-shaped body. The legs and eyes are red, and the feet and knees are blackish. The body is pink. During ʙʀᴇᴇᴅing their plumage can be a bright red or magenta color on their wing shoulders. Wing span is 3-4 feet. The tail is a tawny orange color.
The Roseate Spoonbill stands about 30 inches tall and has a heron-shaped body. The legs and eyes are red, and the feet and knees are blackish. The body is pink. During ʙʀᴇᴇᴅing their plumage can be a bright red or magenta color on their wing shoulders. Wing span is 3-4 feet. The tail is a tawny orange color. On the upper breast there is a prominent patch of stiff curly feathers in red surrounded by pink and buff (a yellowish-orange). The head is bare and varies in color from a pale green to a greenish gray. It has a black skin area around the ear and nape of the neck. They have a long spatula shaped bill, or banjo bill, about 6 inches in length. It narrows in the center and widens to about 2 inches at the tip. Immature birds have white plumage with varying tints of pink.
19. Maine: Tardigrade
Tardigrades, often called water bears or moss piglets, are near-microscopic animals with long, plump bodies and scrunched-up heads. They have eight legs, and hands with four to eight claws on each. While strangely cute, these tiny animals are almost inᴅᴇsᴛʀᴜᴄᴛible and can even survive in outer space.
Tardigrade is a phylum, a high-level scientific category of animal. (Humans belong in the Chordate phylum — animals with spinal cords.) There are over 1,000 known species within Tardigrade, according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
20. Maryland: Nutria
Nutria (Myocastor coypus) are relatively big rodents that grow to between 17 and 25 inches long (43 to 64 centimeters) from head to rump, which is about the same size as a raccoon. Their tail adds another 10 to 16 inches (25 to 41 cm) and the animals weigh between 15 and 22 pounds (7 to 10 kilograms). Although they’re about the size of a raccoon, nutria look more like a cross between a small beaver and a giant rat, with two large, orange front teeth and long, rounded tails.
Nutria are aquatic creatures and prefer freshwater to saltwater. They live in burrows connected by tunnels that they dig near rivers, canals, lakes or in wetlands.