The Top 5 Most Elusive Mammals on the Planet

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Mammals are versatile creatures. They live on all ends of the Earth, on the land and sea, and some even lay eggs. The most elusive animals on the planet gain their notoriety because of their solitary habits or by using what nature gave them to blend into their surroundings.

5 Ocelot

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With the appearance of a cuddly house cat (but twice the size) and patterned fur like a jaguar, the ocelot is dainty wildcat that you can find in the forests of Central and South America. The cat’s dappled fur helps it blend into the surroundings. The ocelot is a solitary cat that spends most of the day up in trees. It comes down from the canopy to hunt at night, making it hard to see in action without night vision equipment.

4 Badger

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If a badger and a bear got into a fight, there’s a good chance that the badger would win. The badger is the largest animal in the weasel family, and it has the ability to lock its jaw into place once it chomps down on a predator or prey. What makes the badger so elusive and difficult for scientists to study is the fact that they tend to hang out all day in their underground dens and only surface to hunt at night. Scientists can’t even use tracking collars to learn about the animal because they slip off their heads.

3 Kermode Bear

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Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest is among the largest temperate rain forests in the world at 25,000 square miles, according to National Geographic. It’s also home to the Kermode bear, or “spirit” bear. The Kermode bear is white, but it’s not a polar bear or an albino. It’s simply a type of North American black bear with white fur (that’s more a vanilla blonde than white). A recessive mutation in the bear’s genes causes its fur to be white, and a bear’s parents must both carry the mutation for the blond anomaly to occur. So, no one raises an eyebrow when two bears with black fur have a cub with white fur. While Kermode bears aren’t endangered and their population is quite healthy on some of the islands within the Great Bear Rainforest, their shy nature and white fur makes them difficult to spot.

2 Guinea Baboons

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Guinea baboons live in the savannah and forests of sub-Saharan Africa. While this Old World monkey sleeps in trees, it sucks at climbing them when it counts. Because of this, the monkey and its comrades spend most of the day foraging in their preferred habitat, dense forest floors. The baboon’s shaggy coat makes it blend in perfectly with the surrounding grasses and foliage, making it difficult to spot and study.

1 Siberian Tiger

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The Siberian tiger is the largest feline on Earth and one of the more difficult to find. They live in eastern Russia’s Primorye province, in birch-filled forests with tall grasses that make it simple for the stealthy tiger to blend into its surroundings. Some people have even seen the cats in some parts of China and North Korea. The harsh terrain and climate where the tigers live make it a sometimes inhospitable area for scientists to set up shop. Plus, Siberian tigers are solitary, predatory animals, so you won’t see them hunting in packs or hanging out in prides like lions.

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.

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