Most Unique Eggs In The World

Let's explore the most unusual eggs in the world!

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In 2022, over 100 billion chicken eggs were produced in the U.S alone! It’s fair to say that eggs have become part and parcel of everyday life for most of us. However, there are some eggs out there that you probably didn’t even know existed! From mesmerizing marbles, to ominous orbs, and even a clutch resembling some sort of hellish honeycomb, let's learn about the most unique eggs in the world!

Caecilian Eggs

With their long, thin, slimy bodies, caecilians look like the cursed siblings of snakes. However, turns out that those guys are actually limbless amphibians. One thing they do have in common with snakes though, is the distinctive eggs they produce. Most caecilians are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live offspring.

However, around 25% of species are oviparous, or egg-laying. But the eggs they do lay are like nothing you’ve ever seen or known before! The eggs of a chikilidae; a species of caecilian found in India, look like ultra-rare marbles.

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They’re laid without a hard shell, with the embryo instead protected by a tertiary egg membrane, a bit like frogspawn! After 2 to 3 months, the mother finishes brooding her clutch, and the young hatch out of their eggs.

Normally, such an event would be joyous for mothers, but the same can't be said in the case of caecilians. The offspring stay close to their mother after hatching. Not for love and affection, but to feed on her flesh!

Caecilian feed on their mother

Harrowing as that process sounds, brooding mother’s skin cells are filled with fats, specifically developed to help her young grow big and strong! In one species, caecilian hatchlings that feasted on it's mother increased their mass by 86% in just 20 days!

Colorful Tinamou Eggs

As you already might know, Tinamous are plump, ground-dwelling birds that can be found in central and south America. Unlike most birds, which lay white or beige eggs, the tinamou lay their eggs in a wonderful variety of different colors, ranging from purple to pink, green to blue to brown!

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If that wasn’t cool enough, tinamou eggs are also iridescent, meaning they change color slightly, depending on the angle that you look at them. You might be thinking that any eggs that mesmerizing are just asking for predators to pick out an eye-catching meal.

Fortunately though, marauders of Tinamou eggs, such as: foxes, skunks and weasels tend to hunt at night. So, the cute colors aren’t detrimental to their chances of survival. Still, why not just lay some plain old beige eggs?

Well, researchers know the females of that species often share egg sites, so the site of a particularly eye-catching, colorful clutch may lead to more birds adding their own eggs to the pile.

Tinamous often share egg sites

Eventually, a male will incubate the populous pile of eggs. Although the clutch can still be attacked by predators, it’s believed that because so many eggs are incubated at once, hungry hunters struggle to chow down on every egg in a larger clutch, meaning at least some will survive.

Largest Eggs

Measuring a massive 6 inches long and weighing in at 3 pounds, the ostrich produces the largest egg of any living animal! But if you think that’s supersized, feast your eyes on the enormous egg of the Elephant Bird; a now-extinct creature that once roamed the jungles of Madagascar.

In all, their eggs measure in at a gargantuan 12 inches long, and weighed a staggering 18 pounds, making them twice the height and 6 times as heavy as ostrich eggs.

ostrich egg vs elephant bird egg

Their size is so unbelievable, that in 2018 curators at New York’s Buffalo Museum of Science discovered a real foot-long elephant bird egg that had actually been mislabeled as a model decades earlier. The question is, what could take down those beasty birds and their enormous eggs?

The predictable, answer is humans. Elephant birds were hunted to extinction in around 1200 AD, with their eggs proving to be a particularly preferable food source. Yet the phenomena surrounding those eggs doesn’t stop at their size.

Elephant birds were hunted to extinction by humans

It’s believed that there may be as few as 25 perfectly preserved elephant eggs in existence. Thanks to their rarity and supersize, those things sell for a pretty penny. In a 2013 London auction, an elephant bird egg sold for over $100,000! For some perspective, if you were looking to make that much cash with chicken eggs, you’d need to sell almost 300,000 of them!

Smallest Eggs

From the massive to the miniscule, our next most unique egg comes from the bee hummingbird, the world’s smallest living bird. So teeny-tiny that flier is, that they’re around the same size as a bumblebee, hence their name.

In all, they grow to be just over 2 inches long, while they weigh less than 0.1 ounces! For reference, that’s about as heavy as a dime! But if you thought adults were small, wait until you see their eggs!

For starters, their nest is only about 1 inch wide, while the egg itself has a diameter of just 0.33 inches, making it the same size as a coffee bean. Weighing in at just 0.03 ounces, that lil thing is about as heavy as one single raisin!

Allen's Hummingbird Nest

In fact, bee hummingbird eggs are so tiny, that it would take some 12,000 of them to fill up just one elephant bird egg! Those are the smallest bird eggs on the planet and that’s no eggs-aggeration!

Sea Urchin Eggs

If you thought bee hummingbird eggs were small, then buckle up, because you haven't seen anything yet! Across the world’s oceans, sea urchins, a globular hard shelled, spikey cousin of the starfish, mostly reproduce through a method known as broadcast spawning.

That involves the separate release of both eggs and sperm into a water column from females and males respectively, with fertilization occurring externally when the egg and sperm make contact. In all, female urchins may release as many as 2 million eggs into the sea, each!

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With so many eggs, you’d think that the oceans would be chock full of them. But that’s not the case. Sea urchin eggs are tiny, so tiny that on their own in their early stages, you can’t even see them!

Take the red sea urchin, for example. Their eggs are a mere 0.005 inches in diameter. Even more mind blowing are the eggs of the purple sea urchin, with a width of 0.003 inches, that’s so small, the naked human eye can’t spot them! There could be hundreds, thousands, even millions of them in this next image alone!

Fresh Sea Urchin

Just to give you an idea of how utterly microscopic those things are, the diameter of the purple sea urchin egg is over 100 times smaller than that of a bee hummingbird.

Pearly Orbs Covering Argentina Beaches

Sea urchins aren’t the only ocean critter to produce some pretty puzzling eggs. In 2021, visitors to the Mar del Plata beach in Argentina were greeted by the sinister site of thousands of strange squidgy orbs covering the shore.

Fortunately, it turns out that those are in fact the eggs of an earth-based animal; the Adelomelon brasiliana. The eggs of that species of sea snail have a firm, transparent shell, filled with a thick gelatinous liquid that helps protect the embryos until they hatch.

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But other than that, the sea snail parents don’t do much to support their kids. After mating, mama will just set her egg capsules free. Each capsule, that may hold more than a dozen embryos, will float on the ocean’s surface before hatching around 8 weeks later.

However, sometimes fierce waves fling the eggs up out of the ocean and onto the beach, where unhatched young make the perfect snack for American oystercatchers, who dine on that beach buffet.

Those that aren’t munched on have just a 3% chance of making it back to sea, with most drying out on the beach. To make matters worse, the dehydration of the eggs is said to cause a repugnant rotting smell! I think it’s fair to say that life is definitely not a beach for these eggs!

Shark Eggs

Turns out that rotting alien eggs aren’t the only thing that you need to watch out for when taking a leisurely stroll on the beach. If you ever stumble across our next unique and obscure egg, you might think that you’ve just discovered Poseidon’s corkscrew.

bullhead shark egg

But that spirally substance is actually the product of a sea-dwelling critter. Bullhead sharks, found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, are culpable for creating those terrific twirling eggs.

But why are they not egg shaped? To put it simply, after mama shark lays her spiral egg, she carries it around in her mouth. Thanks to its twisted design, the egg can be wedged between rocks in hard to reach places, preventing predators from snacking on it.

bullhead shark hiding eggs

Some bullhead shark eggs even have long curly tendrils stretching from their tip! Puzzling as it looks, that noodle of nature can attach to seaweed or the rocky seafloor, anchoring them in place in case wedging them between rocks fails. As we’ve learned though, sometimes those features can’t help bullhead shark eggs from becoming beachbound.

Ethereal Goosefish Eggs

Back in 2016, a fisherman by the name of Edward Mortell made a strange discovery at sea. There was a large, dark shroud floating on the water’s surface, moving with the waves. Turns out the curious cloud that Mortell spotted was actually a buoyant veil, containing goosefish eggs.

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The goosefish is a sea critter found in the deep, dark depths of the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Scary as those beasts appear, they more than make up for their loathsome looks through that exceptional egg creation!

Although the eggs may look like an ethereal sheet of bubble wrap, that 60-foot long buoyant veil of gelatinous goo, is actually home to 1 million goosefish eggs! It may look mesmerizing, but surely its risky to send 1 million of unhatched eggs to the water’s surface? After all, that’d make an angelic appetizer for any predators.

Fortunately for the young, the veil is made up of a toxic gelatinous material, putting off any hunters from taking a bite. Fair to say, goosefish moms make sure their bubble wrap babies are extra safe!

The goosefish egg is made of toxic gelatinous material

Common Murre Eggs

Flying high above goosefish veils, you might spot a Common Murre, a seabird distributed around the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During breeding season, those black and white birds lay eggs on rocky cliffs that overhang the sea.

If that doesn’t sound daredevilish enough, those fearless fowl don’t even create a nest for their eggs. Instead they just let them rest on a perilous perch, several hundred feet above the waves!

However, those bright birds have a terrific trick up their wing to help their young. Common murres don’t lay ordinary ovular eggs. Instead, they’re pyriform, meaning they’re pointed at one end, like a pear.

Uria aalge

Unlike normal eggs, pyriform ones are more stable on unsecure surfaces, making them much less likely to crash land into the sea. But that’s not the only fascinating feature about those egg. Common murre eggs come in a range of pretty patterns and colors, but that isn’t just for show.

Common murres breed in colonies at high concentrations, with 20 pairs per square foot. Due to the density of eggs in such a small space, the parents’ task of finding their own egg is akin to a god-tier puzzle! Luckily, they’re able to find their egg by observing its pattern and color, ensuring that no accidental chick-swapping occur!

Okarito Kiwi Eggs

For humans, carrying an average 7lb baby to term has to be one of the most back-breaking experiences ever and that’s before pushing it out. But as agonizing as that sounds, it pales in comparison to what Okarito Kiwi mamas go through.

Typically, those flightless birds, found in New Zealand, lay an egg weighing almost 1 pound, about the same as a soccer ball. But female Okarito kiwis only weigh about 4 ½ pounds themselves, meaning the egg’s weigh more than a staggering 20% of their body mass!

female Okarito kiwis weigh about 4 ½ pounds

Proportionally, that makes it the largest of any bird. The enormous egg plumps up pregnant females so much that their bulged bellies can drag along the ground. For some idea of just how great that feat is, ostriches lay eggs that weigh around 3 pounds. Yet, the big birds themselves weigh around 220 pounds, meaning the egg takes up just over 1% of the mother’s mass.

Fortunately for the defiant kiwi mamas, the struggle is for a good cause. The giant egg means that kiwi chicks have more room to fully develop, so when they hatch, they’re ready to run almost immediately!

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And it’s just as well, because kiwi moms don’t provide their chicks with protection or food. Unsurprisingly, a small, feeble, flightless chick wouldn’t last long in the wild if it couldn’t move, so it’s vital that when those chicks hatch, they’re ready to run!

Ayam Cemani Hatching Eggs

In the depths of Indonesia, there exists a creature that’s completely black: from its feathers, to its organs, and even its bones! You may think I’m describing some sort of mythological beast, but those are in fact the features of the Ayam Cemani, a rare breed of jet-black chicken.

Ayam Cemani Black Chicken

While it may look like those guys have been dipped head to tail in dark paint, the reason for their color is actually down to fibromelanosis. That genetic condition causes an excessive production of melanin; the pigment that gives color to skin, hair, eyes just about everything in the body!

As a result, that turns pretty much everything associated with the Ayam Cemani black. Well, not quite everything. Surprising as it may sound, the eggs of those birds are cream-colored. Still, many people often presume that those black birds produce dark eggs.

Yet, despite their standard looks, Ayam Cemani eggs still sell for a hefty fee. Fertile eggs can cost $160 per dozen, making them almost 40 times more expensive than your standard chicken eggs.

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So, why the sky-high price? Ayam Cemani are a rare breed of bird, with only around 3,500 existing around the world; making the chickens, and their eggs, more expensive. And while the Ayam Cemani doesn’t lay black eggs, there exists another bird that does.

Emus, the 6 ft flightless birds known best for their hilariously viral antics, produce huge, 5 inch long eggs which appear dark with a slight green tint. So, why the strange shade? After all, they don’t share the same jet-black pigmentation of Ayam Cemani.

Emu Egg

The curious color of their eggs is actually intended to benefit their clutch. The dark green eggs camouflage in with the dark green foliage in which they’re laid, keeping their unhatched young out of any predator’s maws. It’s pretty clear the difference between those two birds is black and white!

Apple Snail Eggs

From the inky to the illuminous, our next batch of animal eggs are sure to strain your eyes. Introducing the apple snail, a species of freshwater snail, native to South America. While the snails themselves don’t look too appetizing, the same can’t be said for their eggs!

At first glance they look like some sort of super succulent raspberries growing in some super strange positions, but they’re actually broods of apple snail eggs! Not a mistake you want to make.

800px-Golden apple snail laying eggs, Singapore
Jpatokal, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

But why would apple snails lay such obvious looking eggs in easy to reach places, like on plant stems, leaves and entire shorelines of nearby ponds? Unlike us, predators of apple snail eggs interpret the bright raspberry coloring as a warning.

Those snails have a sinister trick up their shell to ensure predators don’t dine on their young. Alongside the embryos, each egg carries a unique neurotoxin known as perivitellin-2, or PV2, a toxin that’s lethal to rodents, and not great for humans either. So, it's probably best to double-check your raspberries next time you spot some in the great outdoors!

Cane Toads

Anyone familiar with Cane Toads knows those aren’t animals that you want to get too familiar with! The skin-gland secretions of those awful amphibians contain bufotoxin; a toxic compound that’s so potent, that in the right dose it can kill animals that attempt to feed on those creatures.

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But those toads aren’t just poisonous as adults! They’re toxic as toadlets, tadpoles, and yes, even as eggs! Their eggs don’t look like any amphibious animal eggs you have known before.

That's because the females of that species will lay up to 35,000 of those toxic terrors in slimy, stringy, gelatinous chains twice a year! The shape of those egg chains allows them to wrap around vegetation in the water, anchoring them in place.

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But those strands are so long, they’ll often tangle together, creating huge clumps of egg strands that look like the worst noodles ever. The mothers then leave the spindly spawn to develop in static bodies of water, which isn’t great news for the surrounding marine life.

Who would want to suddenly be confronted by endless chains of those toxic terror beads? But it’s not just aquatic animals that have to watch out for the ill-effects of those eerie eggs. Even us humans aren’t immune to their toxic ways! Well, those of us dumb enough to try eating mysterious strings of eggs they find in the wild, that is!

Spotted Salamanders

Just like their creepy cane toad cousins, Spotted Salamanders, found in the U.S encase their spawn in a gooey gelatinous coating. But instead of long, thin, ropes of eggs, salamanders produce something that has to be seen to be believed. They lay some kidney-shaped masses, each containing up to 250 individual eggs.

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This might look like a regular clump of frogspawn, but gets much weirder. Algae present in the ponds those are laid in starts to grow inside the egg cases, raising the oxygen content of the egg capsules and removing waste products.

In turn, ammonia waste from the embryos creates a nitrogen-rich environment that boosts the algae’s metabolism. The strange, symbiotic relationship between egg and algae is so deep, that scientists recently discovered algae even lives inside the very cells of the salamander embryos.

algae lives inside the cells of the salamander embryos

Not only does that relationship help the salamander embryos grow, it also turns the eggs within the mass bright green! So, if you happen to stumble upon a swampland filled with those bizarre, bright green blobs, rest assured that you’re looking at salamander spawn, not evidence of extraterrestrial life!

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

On the topic of aliens, that brings us onto the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Those dark brown insects, found in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, may not look too crazy as adults, but the same can’t be said for their creepy clutch.

Those bugs will lay up to 28 eggs, usually on the underside of leaves where they’re protected from the prying eyes of predators above. At first, those circular light green eggs look like mini pearls.

But as they develop, the eggs become transparent. Then, around day 5, the larvae are ready to hatch from their eggs, looking like smiling emojis.

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Fortunately, the blood red eyes and cold black smile isn’t the actual face of the baby stink bugs. The two red dots are its eyes, but the black maw is the stink bugs’ egg cutter, which the larvae use to hatch out of the egg. Eventually, those beastly bugs escape from their casing, usually all at the same time, so they all emerge at once!

African Rock Python

Whether it’s their unquenchable appetite for large animals, or fearsome 15-foot length, Central African Rock Pythons aren’t critters you want to stumble across. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to locals in a Nigerian village, back in 2016.

However, that was no normal snake. That beastie was bulging at the sides. So much so that the villagers believed it’d chowed down on a calf or a person! Concerned, they decided they had to look for themselves.

But when they opened up the belly of that beast, they uncovered something far more disturbing. What they saw were dozens of gooey, veiny, alien-like balls practically spilling out of the supersized serpent.

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Turns out that the snake’s size wasn’t down to a massive meal; it was actually just pregnant, and chock full of eggs. Those mega mothers can lay up to 100 eggs, each measuring around 3 ½ inches long and 2 inches wide. If, the eggs are stored in 3 rows, they’d likely take up almost 10 feet of the mother’s entire body!

With females usually reaching around 15 feet long, that’d mean that around two-thirds of that snake’s body was filled up by those eerie eggs. Most types of snake eggs haven’t evolved to need incubating or brooding, like when a hen sits on top of their eggs to keep them warm.

It means the shells of snake eggs are relatively soft, so a clutch of the eggs will smush together in a pile if they’re all laid in the same place! While those are pretty cool to look at, the locals in Nigeria had other plans. They decided to harvest and eat the slimy balls, which are regarded as a rare delicacy in the region.

Indochinese Cobra

Around 70% of all snake species lay eggs, yet few are more peculiar than the Indochinese cobra; a serpent found in Southeast Asia. Females of that species lay around 16 ovular eggs, only a few inches in length, which hatch after about 2 months. They look normal enough, but the wonder around those things comes on hatching day.

Unfortunately for the snakelets, their parents don’t stick around for the special occasion. In fact, Indochinese cobra babies are completely independent as soon as they hatch. Seems pretty likely that they’d get snacked on by a predator, right? But luckily the hatchlings have it covered.

As soon as they hatch, those babies can straighten up right away. That move increases their size, warning any predators to back off! If that wasn’t intimidating enough, those bold babies also come armed with a toxic supply of fully developed venom, that’s stored through a small hole in their bottom fangs.

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Anyone caught by a hissing hatchling can expect stinging, burning pain, and necrosis around the wound. In fact, the bite can lead to paralysis, and can even be lethal to adult humans. Safe to say that those snakelets are prepared for life after hatching!

Wheel Bug Cylindrical Eggs

With their piercing beak, slender appendages, and creepy cog-shaped crest, Wheel Bugs are an insect that look like they crawled out of the dark pits of hell. Yet, spine-chilling as those bugs look as adults, they’re nothing compared to their own eggs.

Those critters, found in the U.S, lay between 40-200 sticky brown cylindrical eggs, each around 1/8 inch long, on twigs. At the tip of each egg is a tan rim, and within that, a small, fringed hole. Individually, those eggs look like licorice.

However, mama wheel bug lays her eggs in clumped hexagonal clusters, creating a jarring image that’s guaranteed to send trypophobia sufferers into a frenzy. The cluster is covered in a sticky adhesive secretion, and the strong hexagonal shape means the cluster can withstand even the worst weather conditions!

Wheel bug nymph

But the aesthetic horrors don’t end there! After about 3 months, the ominous orange wheel bug nymphs burst out of the tiny egg opening. But the newly hatched nymphs that emerge are more than twice the length of the egg casing, so they’ve been compressed in that tiny egg, slowly developing, until the pressure of their growing bodies literally forces them out of the opening.

I hope you were amazed at these unusual eggs! Thanks for reading.

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