CBC Kids | Play Games, Watch Video, Explore


10 animals that only exist in one place


There are some species of animals that only live in one tiny area of the planet. You could also say that these are endemic species, meaning that they don’t exist anywhere else in the world outside of their natural habitat (except maybe in zoos). Let’s take a look at 10 of these rare creatures!

Vancouver Island Marmot — Vancouver Island, Canada

marmot at a tree stump

Photo credit: BC Gov Photos on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

This large marmot is only found in the mountains of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Marmots are members of the squirrel family. They live in burrows, eat only plants and hibernate for about 210 days a year — that’s more than half of a year!

Tree Lobsters — Ball’s Pyramid, Australia

huge stick insect in a hand

Wikimidia/Granitethighs/CC BY 3.0

Not actually lobsters, these giant stick insects are considered to be the rarest insect in the world. Once thought to be extinct on Lord Howe Island off the coast of Australia, they were rediscovered on a nearby tiny islet called Ball’s Pyramid in 2001. There were only 24 of them left but now there are many more in zoos around the world.

Kangaroo Rat — Santa Cruz, California, USA

mouse with a really long tail

Photo credit: PeroMHC on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

This bouncy, long-tailed rat can only be found in the sandhills of Santa Cruz, California. This species is important in the area’s ecosystem because they help plants grow without even knowing it! They bury plant seeds to eat later but sometimes forget about the seeds, so the plants grow instead!

Marine Iguana — Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

iguana swimming underwater

Photo credit: Valerie Hukalo on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The Galápagos Islands are the only place where you’ll find iguanas that swim. They have flattened tails to help them move through the water and dive deep to feed on algae. They can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour. The glands in their noses causes them to sneeze out the salt they take in from the ocean water and algae!

Gelada — Ethiopia

two furry monkeys sitting on a mountain

Photo credit: shaylib on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

These pink-chested monkeys live in the highlands of the African country of Ethiopia. Unlike other monkeys that hang out in trees, geladas spend most of their time on the ground eating grass, seeds, roots and sometimes insects.

Brookesia micra — Nosy Hara, Madagascar

salamander blending into the rocks

Photo credit: Simply Viola ( Busy +off-on ) on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

The world’s tiniest chameleon was discovered in 2012 on an island off the coast of Madagascar called Nosy Hara. They can grow to be 29mm which is small enough to fit on the tip of your finger!

Inaccessible Island rail — Inaccessible Island

someone holding a tiny flightless bird

Photo credit: brian.gratwicke on VisualHunt / CC BY

Off the coast of South Africa, in the south Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find an island that is very hard to get to. You can only get to it by boat and it takes about a week to get there. On this island is where you’ll find this very small brown and black bird called the Inaccessible Island rail. These birds are the smallest flightless birds in the world!

Thorny devil — Australia

a thorny lizard

Photo credit: SouthernAnts on Visual hunt / CC BY

This cool looking lizard can only be found in the Australian outback. What makes this lizard so interesting is that it can drink water through its skin — the thorny devil is able to use tubes, like straws, between its scales to help move the water to its mouth!

Wilson’s bird of paradise — Raja Ampat, Indonesia

a bird of paradise with a curly tail

Wikimedia/Serhanoksay/CC BY 3.0

This beautiful bird is only found on two islands in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia — Waigeo and Batanta. Its bright colours and cool tail feathers make this a very unique bird of paradise!

Texas blind salamander — Edwards Aquifer, Texas, USA

an albino looking alamander with no eye

Wikimedia/Serhanoksay/CC BY 3.0

As its name suggests, this type of salamander can’t see. They don’t have eyes or any skin colour. They live in total darkness deep in underground cave waters in Texas. They are good hunters because they can sense nearby prey through vibrations in the water around them!