The World's Strangest Animals
Getty Images/National Geographic Creative
What it is: The closest thing the planet has to a unicorn (albeit a swimming one), this medium-sized, speckled whale has a long, spiraling horn—technically a tooth—that can grow up to nine feet in length for males.
What’s strangest about it: Though no one knows exactly what the narwhal’s horn is for, it’s thought to play a part in mating rituals. Males have been spotted battling with their horns, as if fencing with swords (apparently to impress females); occasionally, narwhal skulls are found with other narwhals’ horns embedded in them.
Where to see it: In Arctic waters, especially off the eastern and western coasts of Greenland. The High Arctic Explorer and Spitsbergen & East Greenland cruises run by Mountain Travel Sobek (mtsobek.com) give narwhal fans the best chance of glimpsing the creatures, which swim in the icy clear water between floes and bergs.