Have you ever stopped to think about the impact of hair or fur on the animal kingdom? From an evolutionary perspective, hair and fur offer many benefits to various species and can make a world of difference in terms of their survival. As fascinating as it is to observe animals sporting thick coats or luxurious manes, it’s equally interesting to consider those creatures who don’t have any hair at all. In this article, we will explore the unique characteristics of several bald animals and uncover the reasons behind their unusual appearances. Read on to discover what makes them so unique.
14 Bald animals
From domesticated cats to furry rodents, bald animals come in all shapes and sizes. Without a coat of fur to be seen, these intriguing creatures have adapted to their environment in unique ways.
1. Sphynx cat
- Scientific name: Felis catus
- Native habitat: The Sphynx cat is a breed of domesticated cats originating in Canada.
- Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
This hairless cat breed has existed since the 1960s when a single Canadian cat gave birth to two hairless kittens. The Sphynx cat’s distinctive lack of fur is due to a naturally occurring genetic mutation.
Though these cats have no fur, they’re not completely bald — their skin is covered in an almost invisible gray down that gives them the same knobbly appearance as a plucked chicken. They also have no whiskers or eyelashes.
Their colors range from black, white, and tawny to the more exotic-looking blue, cream, and lavender. Naturally, these cats suffer from colder temperatures and require more frequent bathing than their furred counterparts. But don’t let that put you off; Sphynx cats are incredibly interactive and playful, making them an ideal choice for families with children or those who want a loyal companion to keep them company in the home.
2. Naked mole rat
- Scientific name: Heterocephalus glaber
- Native habitat: Found in the arid regions of East Africa, naked mole rats inhabit underground tunnels built by their colony.
- Weight: 1 to 1.5 ounces
These small creatures are completely bald, with wrinkly pink skin covering their entire bodies and long, curved teeth protruding from their mouths. Naked mole rats live in colonies of up to 300 individuals, which allows them to bundle together to keep warm.
They are completely blind and deaf and have a very low metabolic rate, meaning they can survive in their habitat without eating much food. Other remarkable adaptations include their lack of pain sensitivity and natural resistance to cancer.
3. Chinese crested dog
- Scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris
- Native habitat: China
- Weight: 5 to 12 pounds
The Chinese Crested Dog is a breed of toy dog that is known for its silky furless coat. The hairlessness is caused by an incomplete dominant gene, meaning that some members of the breed may have patches of fur on their bodies. This breed comes in two varieties — the Hairless and the Powderpuff.
The Hairless variety has short hair on its head, legs, and tail, while the Powderpuff is covered by a soft, silky coat. Both varieties are delicate and must be groomed regularly to keep their skin healthy.
Despite their lack of fur, Chinese Crested Dogs are hardy animals that can tolerate both hot and mildly cold temperatures. They’re also active, playful, and loyal, making them ideal pets for people who live in smaller residences.
4. Skinny pig
- Scientific name: Cavia porcellus
- Native habitat: The Skinny Pig is a breed of domesticated guinea pig that was first developed in Canada.
- Weight: 1 to 2 pounds
The Skinny Pig is a unique guinea pig breed with a recessive gene that causes it to be almost completely hairless. It has a sparse covering of short, soft fur on its head, feet, and legs. They have mostly smooth skin with wrinkles only appearing around their neck and legs.
These guinea pigs are very active, curious, and social animals that need plenty of interactive playtime with their owners. They’re also easy to care for and require only daily brushing with a soft brush. They enjoy living in pairs, so it’s best to find a friend for your skinny pig to keep them company.
- Scientific name: Canis lupus familiaris
- Native habitat: Mexico
- Weight: 10 to 55 pounds
Also known as the Mexican hairless dog, Xoloitzcuintli is an ancient breed that has been around for over 3,000 years. These dogs come in two varieties — the hairless and the coated. The hairless Xoloitzcuintli is the more well-known variety and is famous for its bald appearance.
They have smooth, soft, and hairless skin, with only a few hairs present on their head, tail, and feet. On the other hand, the coated Xoloitzcuintli has a short, sleek coat that comes in various colors, including black, brindle, and red.
Both varieties are friendly and intelligent companions that make great family pets. They’re also easy to train and require minimal grooming, making them a low-maintenance pet choice.
- Scientific name: Babyrousa babyrussa
- Native habitat: Found in the Buru, Sula, Sulawesi, and Togian islands in Indonesia
- Weight: 132 to 220 pounds
The Babirusa is an endangered species of pig that has been found in the wild since ancient times. They have brown or grayish skin with very short, sparse fur that makes them appear bald. They are also known for their bizarre tusks, which can grow up to 17 inches long. These tusks are actually elongated upper canine teeth and curl back over their forehead, giving them a distinctive appearance. The Babirusa is an omnivore, and its diet consists of fruit, nuts, roots, small mammals, and invertebrates.
7. African elephant
- Scientific name: Loxodonta africana
- Native habitat: African Savannahs and Forests
- Weight: 4,700 to 13,000 pounds
The African elephant is the largest living land animal in the world. It has thick, wrinkly skin that can range from grayish brown to almost black in color. This skin serves as a protective layer against the sun, insects, and other elements of their habitat. They are also completely hairless except for a few hairs around the ears and tail.
African elephants have long trunks that can reach up to 7 feet in length and are used for communication, drinking water, gathering food, and bathing. These gentle giants are highly intelligent and social animals with strong family bonds. They live in large herds, usually led by the oldest female elephant.
8. Peruvian Inca orchid
- Scientific name: Canis lupus familaris
- Native habitat: Peru
- Weight: 8.5 to 17.5 pounds (small), 17.5 to 26.5 pounds (medium), 26.5 to 55 pounds (large)
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is uniquely characterized by its soft and pliable skin, which can come in various colors, including solid hues and mottled combinations with a pink background. These gorgeous creatures also have dark, round eyes known to squint in the sunlight due to oversensitivity. Their lips are wrinkled, and their thick, leathery ears may have wisps of hair.
Hair can also be found growing on the top of their head. They have an alert, intelligent disposition and make great watchdogs. They’re also loyal companions that enjoy spending time with their owners. With proper care and training, they can be loving and devoted pets for many years.
9. Bald uakaris
- Scientific name: Cacajao calvus
- Native habitat: South America
- Weight: 10 to 22 pounds
The bald uakari is a striking primate with its distinctive red face, shaggy coat that varies from reddish brown to orange, and barely visible sparse hair on its head. This endangered monkey lives in the Amazon rainforest along the banks of rivers.
It is an intelligent and curious animal. The bald uakari has a varied diet, including fruit, leaves, nuts, and insects. They have very short tails but can still move quickly through the trees. They are social animals that live in large groups of up to 50 individuals.
10. Sphynx or truly hairless rats
- Scientific name: Rattus norvegicus
- Native habitat: North America
- Weight: 2.5 to 4 ounces
The hairless rat is a unique variety of rodents bred and used specifically for laboratory research. They have large ears, round eyes, long tails, and a pointed snout. The hairless trait is caused by a genetic mutation that hinders the thymus glands from developing.
Interestingly, these little critters are born with fur but soon shed it due to a quirk in their immune system. This leaves them with smooth, pink skin with no whiskers or eyebrows.
Unfortunately, their compromised immune systems make them prone to various health issues and shorten their lifespan to about one year. Despite their delicate nature, they are known for being quite friendly and also make good pets for those who understand their needs.
- Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibious
- Native habitat: Sub-Saharan Africa
- Weight: 3,000 to 9,920 pounds
The hippopotamus is a large, semi-aquatic mammal native to Sub-Saharan Africa. They have round, barrel-shaped bodies and stocky legs. Their skin is grayish-brown in color and lacks hair, so they secrete a pinkish-red substance to protect their skin from the sun.
They have large heads with long, powerful jaws and huge teeth. Their eyes, ears, and nostrils are located on top of their head so they can remain submerged while keeping watch. They are herbivores but also eat aquatic vegetation, and they can stay submerged for up to five minutes at a time.
Hippopotamus are social animals that live in large groups led by the dominant male. They are known to be very territorial and can become aggressive if provoked.
- Scientific name: Odobenus rosmarus
- Native habitat: Arctic seas of the Northern Hemisphere
- Weight: 1,800 to 4,400 pounds
Walruses, which are semi-aquatic mammals, have evolved in such a way that their need for hair as an insulator has been vastly diminished. Instead of relying on fur for protection from the cold, walruses have layers of fat beneath their skin, known as blubber.
It is thick enough to keep them warm without any additional fur. Despite this, walruses have a thin layer of reddish-brown fur, giving them their characteristic cinnamon color. And apart from their famously long whiskers, they are almost entirely hairless.
- Scientific name: Delphinidae
- Native habitat: Worldwide in salt and freshwater habitats
- Weight: Varies widely depending on the species
Dolphins are beloved aquatic mammals known for their intelligence and playful demeanor. They have streamlined bodies with sleek skin and no fur or hair.
Instead of fur, they have a thick layer of blubber beneath the skin that helps to keep them warm and hydrated in their watery home. They have a prominent beak, which differs in shape and size depending on the species, as well as large eyes that are set close together.
They are known to be social animals that communicate with each other in a variety of ways, including vocalizations, body language, and echolocation.
14. White rhinoceros
- Scientific name: Ceratotherium simum
- Native habitat: Southern and Eastern parts of Africa
- Weight: 3,080 to 7,920 pounds
The white rhinoceros is one of five species of rhinoceros that remain on the planet. It is the largest species, with males weighing up to 7,000 pounds and measuring up to 13 feet in length. The white rhino has two horns, with the lower horn being larger. Its skin is also thicker than other rhino species and is largely hairless apart from a few bristles.
The white rhino is a grazer, preferring to feed on grasses and other low-growing vegetation. It’s a social animal that lives in small groups and is known to be quite docile. They are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to poaching and habitat loss.