Once again Red Nose Day is almost upon us and around the UK people will be encouraged to ‘Do Something Funny For Money’ to raise funds for charitable projects in both the UK and Africa. Its not just us humans that can raise a laugh with a silly schnoz or two though, the animal kingdom is packed full of hilarious hooters and comical conks. Here are some of our favourites…
The largest indigenous mammal in Central America, Baird’s tapir is well known for its elongated, flexible upper lip that is extended into a proboscis, resembling a shorter version of an elephant’s trunk. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t quite have the ears to match!
Tennent’s leaf-nosed lizard
Tennent’s leaf-nosed lizard is one of five species endemic to Sri Lanka, commonly known as ‘horn-nosed lizards’ becuase of the elongated projections that the males possess at the tip of their snout. It is thought that these strange ‘horns’ may be important signals in territory defence or courtship – perhaps size really does matter?
Golden snub-nosed monkey
The nostrils of the golden snub-nosed monkey are wide and forward-facing, creating a bizarre look and certainly making this species a contender for the title of strangest nose. And if that wasn’t weird enough, these remarkable monkeys can produce a wide range of vocalisations without making any facial movements, just like a ventriloquist!
Great spotted kiwi
While its long slender bill may not appear that unusual at first glance, the kiwi is the only bird in the world with external nostrils on the tip of its beak, giving it a highly developed sense of smell. Foraging at dusk, kiwis literally follow their ‘noses’, as prey is found by tapping the ground with their beaks and sniffing the earth.
Long-nosed tree frog
The long-nosed tree frog was first discovered in 2008, and this strange looking amphibian is instantly recognisable by the long protrusion on its nose, which has given rise to its alternative name, the ‘Pinocchio frog’. Only the males have this long nose, which becomes inflated when calling.
Shield-nosed leaf-nosed bat
Leaf-nosed bats such as this shield-nosed leaf-nosed bat certainly have some of the most elaborate noses in the animal kingdom. While the exact function of the leaf is not know for certain, it is thought that is may help the bats with echolocation.
The snout of the golden-rumped elephant-shrew is long, pointed and flexible, and is used to forage for invertebrates among the leaf litter of the forest floor. Despite the name they are not actually closely related to shrews, and are more closely linked to elephants, hyraxes and golden moles, amongst others.
The Siberian sturgeon lives for up to 60 years and can reach weights of up to 210 kg. Like other sturgeon species, it has sensitive barbels which are positioned on the lower jaw and are used to locate prey, which is then sucked into the mouth. What a handsome fellow!
The king vulture occurs from Mexico to Argentina, and is easily distinguished from other vulture species by its colourful head. While the yellow fleshy wattle on its face may not technically count as a nose, we just couldn’t leave this weird looking bird out of our top ten.
It wouldn’t be Red Nose Day without a red nose or two, and thankfully we’ve found just that in the form of the white-nosed saki. In spite of its common name, the white-nosed saki actually has a red nose and upperlip in contrast to its shiny black fur, as well as a stylish centre parting!
Will you be taking part in any Red Nose day activities this year? Or perhaps you have a favourite strange-nosed species you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Claire Lewis, ARKive Researcher