10 quirky beautiful stories starring the natural world

Pink animals - Mexican walking fish
© Sergio Gutierrez Getino

Because sometimes natural science is stranger than fiction.

From wildly dancing spiders and disappearing lakes to immortal animals and giant mushrooms, here are some of Mother Nature's more impressive feats of strange and enthralling brilliance.

1. Pink animals that wow and woo

Included in this rose gallery is the most charming salamander in all of salamander world, Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) pictured above, also known as the Mexican walking fish – he secretly served as muse to the whole story.

Read more: 14 pink animals that wow and woo

2. The world’s most remarkable trees

We've got the oldest and tallest, the most sacred and more in our who's-who of arboreal heros. This was TreeHugger's most popular story of the year.

Read more: 10 of the world's most remarkable trees

3. The lake that's oddly going bye-bye

Oregeon Lost Lake draining through holeYouTube/Screen capture
In which Mother Nature puts on a magic hat and shows her tricky side.

Read more: Oregon's Lost Lake is disappearing through a strange hole

4. The largest living things on the planet

Included in this collection of all things HUGE, we've got a 30-foot long squid, replete with killer beak, sucker-dressed tentacles, and arms armed with razor claws. (But not to worry, these gentle giants are really just "sluggish, gelatinous drifters" at heart.) We've also got the world's heaviest bird, the tallest land mammal and the largest organism of all ... a beautiful "beast" that spreads out for almost four square miles.

Read more: 10 of the largest living things on the planet

5. Goats climbing in trees!

And you thought they just climbed mountains and clung to the sides of cliffs! Oh those silly goats.

Read more: 13 photos of goats climbing in trees

6. The first 21 days of a bee’s life in 60 seconds

Bee time lapseYouTube/Video screen capture
See this miraculous glimpse of a hive of bees’ first 21 days ... from egg to squiggling larvae to bona fide buzzing bees. It's incredible.

Read more: Watch the first 21 days of a bee’s life in 60 seconds

7. The adorable science behind the sea bunny

I'm not sure that the ocean plays home to anything cuter than the sea bunny. If Totoro had a pet, it would surely be one that looked like this sea slug!

Read more: The adorable science behind the “sea bunny”

8. Scientists discover new dancing peacock spiders: Skeletorus & Sparklemuffin

Basically, Michael Jackson meets Shakira and comes back to life as a spider species. These are the best.

Read more: Scientists discover new dancing peacock spiders: Skeletorus & Sparklemuffin

9. The strangest plants on Earth

From a shrew-eating flower to a perennial that demurs upon touch, these extraordinary members of the kingdom Plantae are some of the most unique in the world. The list starts with the lithops pictured here; smart little succulents that mimic stones to avoid becoming lunch for herbivores.

Read more: 7 of the strangest plants on Earth

10. The little animal that can potentially live forever

As it turns out, immortality is not just for Gods and Goddesses. #goals

Read more: This little animal can potentially live forever

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