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35 Of The World's Rarest Animals

All of the species on this list are critically endangered and will disappear entirely — unless drastic measures are taken to save them.

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3. Red-Crested Tree Rat

The red-crested tree rat lives in the forests of Colombia. It was thought to be extinct for many years — until volunteers at the El Dorado Nature Reserve were visited by the creature in 2011. The last recorded sighting was in 1898, when two of the critters were found and studied, and were the subsequent source of all information about the rat.

This little critter is about 18 inches long, which is about the same size as a guinea pig. It inhabits a relatively small area of the forest in Colombia, and much of this area has been cleared or disturbed.

4. Angel Shark (aka Squatina Squatina)

Historically, the angel shark range was from the Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas, but commercial fishing has diminished the population. It is now uncommon throughout most of its range with the exception of some areas of the southern Mediterranean and Canary Islands.

5. Boni Giant Sengi (Formerly Known as an Elephant Shrew)

This rare animal lives in the Boni-Dodori Forest in Kenya. The forest these giant sengi call home is being destroyed for development.

6. Javan Rhino

Ujung Kulon National Park / AP

This rhino used to be found throughout Southeast Asia, but there are about 40–60 individuals living in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java.

7. Plougshare Tortoise (aka Angonoka)

This is the most endangered tortoise in the world. The population is estimated to between 440–770, and they reside in the Baly Bay region in Madagascar.

8. Gooty Tarantula (aka Metallic Tarantula)

The spider's habitat is in Southeastern India and Sri Lanka. Habitat loss and degradation as a result of deforestation, firewood collection, and civil unrest have all contributed to the loss of this tarantula's population.

Watch this video and learn more about the remaining 23 Hainan gibbons:

View this video on YouTube

11. Cuban Greater Funnel-Eared Bat

There are fewer than 100 Cuban greater funnel-eared bats left in Cueva La Barca, Cuba. The bats have lost much of their habitat due to human destruction.

19. Spoon-Billed Sandpiper

Baz Scampion / AP

The spoon-billed sandpiper is a small wader that breeds in northeastern Russia. There are fewer than 1,000 mature individuals left in the wild.

20. Luristan Newt (aka Kaiser's Spotted Newt)

The luristan newt is a type of salamander and is endemic to the southern Zagros Mountains in Iran. The luristan newt is coveted in the pet trade — they were sold on a Ukraine website for $300 — and now only survives in captivity.

23. Greater Bamboo Lemur

There are only 100–160 individuals left in the southeastern and southcentral rainforests of Madagascar. The major threat to this animal is slash-and-burn agriculture, mining, and illegal logging.

26. Red River Giant Softshell Turtle

Na Son Nguyen / AP

This enormous weighs 440 pounds. Unfortunately, there are only four red river giant softshell turtles left, all of which live in captivity. The animal is considered sacred by many Vietnamese.

27. Dusky Gopher Frog

Gerald Herbert / AP

The entire population is estimated to be between 60–100 individuals living in two ponds in Mississippi. Unfortunately, the dusky gopher frog population has declined because of loss of wetlands and native longleaf pine habitat, the decline of gopher tortoises, invasive species, disease, drought conditions, and lack of natural and prescribed fire.

29. Madagascar Pochard

Michael Sohn / AP

This pochard duck stands on the head of a hippo at the zoo in Berlin. There are about 20 mature pochards left in the wild, who live in volcanic lakes north of Bealanana, Madagascar.

30. Hirola (aka Hunter's Hartebeest)

TIM WACHER / Getty Images

The hirola antelope found in arid grassy plains in a pocket on the border between Kenya and Somalia. There are between 500 and 1,200 of them left in the wild.

31. Sumatran Rhino


There are fewer than 250 mature Sumatran rhinos left in Malaysia and Indonesia. The Sumatran rhino is hunted for its horn, which is used in traditional medicines.

33. Franklin's Bumblebee

Eter Schroeder / AP

Franklin's bumblebee lives in Oregon and California. This bumblebee is threatened by disease from commercially bred bumblebees and habitat destruction.

34. Common sawfish


The common sawfish lives in the coastal tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Currently, the common sawfish is largely restricted to northern Australia.

Rob Griffith / AP

Sawfish have adapted to live in both salt and fresh water, while their long saw-like rostrum (nose) has evolved to expertly forage for food under the sandy ocean floor. Sawfish have been placed on the critically endangered list mainly due to a human impact to their environment and being entangled in fishing nets.

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