What are the rarest things in nature?

Nature contains many rare and unique things, from animals and plants to natural formations and events. In the following article, we will explore some of the rarest natural occurrences and organisms on Earth.

Rarest Animals

Some of the rarest animals in the world have populations of less than 100 individuals. They face severe threats to their survival due to habitat loss, hunting, and climate change. Here are some of the rarest animal species on Earth:


The vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world. This small porpoise is found only in the northern part of the Gulf of California in Mexico. Vaquita populations have declined dramatically in recent decades due to accidental deaths in fishing nets. Current population estimates suggest there are only around 10 vaquitas left.

Javan Rhino

The Javan rhinoceros is one of the rarest large mammals on Earth. These rhinos once lived throughout southeast Asia but are now found only in one national park in Indonesia. Fewer than 80 Javan rhinos exist today.


The kakapo is a critically endangered parrot that is endemic to New Zealand. It is the world’s only flightless parrot. Due to habitat loss, introduced predators, and a low reproductive rate, the kakapo is down to only around 200 individuals.


Pangolins are rare mammals covered in protective scales made of keratin. They are the most trafficked mammals in the world, threatened by poaching for their scales and meat. All eight pangolin species are decreasing in number, but the Chinese and Sunda pangolins are now classified as critically endangered.

Angel Shark

Angel sharks are incredibly rare elasmobranchs found in scattered parts of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Several angel shark species are critically endangered. The Sawback Angel Shark has declined by 80% in the last 45 years and may have a global population of only 100-150 sharks.

Rarest Plants

Many of the world’s rarest plants have fewer than 100 individuals remaining in the wild. Habitat destruction is the primary threat facing endangered plant species today.

Rafflesia arnoldii

Rafflesia arnoldii is the world’s largest individual flower, belonging to a rare genus of parasitic flowering plants. They are found only in the rainforests of Indonesia. Deforestation has led to fewer than 100 Rafflesia arnoldii plants left.

Corpse Flower

Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the corpse flower, is an endangered plant species from the rainforests of Sumatra. There are thought to be less than 1,000 individuals left due to logging and agricultural expansion.


Juliopterus is a genus that contains only one known species, Juliopterus sp. It is a very rare fern found only near the top of two mountains in Ecuador. Fewer than 100 plants are known to exist.

Pitcairnia feliciana

This rare species of bromeliad is endemic to palm swamps in western Cuba. There are only around 100 Pitcairnia feliciana plants remaining due to wetland disturbance and competition from invasive species.

Welwitschia mirabilis

Welwitschia mirabilis is an unusual cone-bearing tree found only in the Namib Desert. This rare plant is estimated to have fewer than 100 individuals outside of protected areas. Its population is threatened by climate change and habitat disturbance.

Rarest Natural Events

In addition to rare species, there are some natural events and formations that very seldom occur on Earth.

Double Rainbows

Double rainbows form when sunlight reflects twice inside water droplets in the atmosphere. For a double rainbow to be visible, the two refractions have to be almost exactly the same angle. This rare event happens only about 1 in every 50,000 rainbows.

Yellow Northern Lights

Most auroras appear green, but yellow northern lights are possible on rare occasions. Oxygen atoms colliding with nitrogen molecules 80 miles above the Earth’s surface produce a yellow hue. But it requires a high density of solar particles for the yellow aurora to shine.

Negative Lightning

About 1% of lightning strikes are negative flashes, meaning the charge moves upward from the ground to the clouds. This rare form of lightning remains poorly understood by scientists.

Double Moonbows

Moonbows produced by moonlight reflecting off water droplets are rare on their own. A double moonbow with two parallel arcs is an incredibly rare phenomenon that relies on ideal conditions aligning.

Green Flash

When atmospheric conditions are perfect, a green spot or flash can sometimes be seen above the sun at sunset or sunrise. These elusive events may happen only a few times per year in lucky locations.

Rare Natural Places

A few unique natural sites and formations occur in only a single known location on Earth.

The Everglades

The Everglades is a one-of-a-kind subtropical wilderness containing mangrove forests, sawgrass marshes, and cypress swamps. This biodiverse wetland ecosystem is found only in southern Florida.

The Great Barrier Reef

The largest coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef contains over 2,900 individual reefs and spans more than 1,400 miles off the coast of Australia. Nowhere else has a coral structure of this scale.

The Amazon River

At over 4,000 miles long, the Amazon River has the largest drainage basin on Earth. Approximately 20% of the world’s fresh water flows through the mighty Amazon.

The Namib Desert

The Namib stretches across southwestern Africa along the Atlantic coastline. It is Earth’s oldest desert and home to some of the strangest adaptations among desert organisms.

The Grand Canyon

Carved by the Colorado River, this iconic natural wonder in Arizona is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. The layered rock walls of the Grand Canyon represent 2 billion years of geological history.

Rare Geological Formations

Several of the rarest rock formations and landforms arise from unique combinations of geology and chance.

The Giant’s Causeway

This shoreline in Northern Ireland contains around 40,000 interconnected basalt columns, created by ancient volcanic activity. There is no other site quite like it.

The Door to Hell

An accidental natural gas field collapse in Turkmenistan during 1971 created a 225-foot wide crater that has been burning continuously ever since. The fiery pit is one of a kind on Earth.

Chocolate Hills

Over 1,200 uniformly cone-shaped hills dot the landscape of Bohol, Philippines. Their grass-covered chocolate hue in the dry season is a rare geological phenomenon.

Spotted Lake

Spotted Lake in British Columbia contains dense deposits of various minerals that form colored spots across the lake in summer. It has extremely high concentrations of magnesium sulfate, calcium, and sodium sulfates.

The Eye of Africa

From space, the Richat Structure in Mauritania resembles a bull’s-eye formation. But this deeply eroded dome of layered sedimentary rock has no match on Earth.

Rarest Mammal Species

Species Population Location
Vaquita Less than 100 Gulf of California, Mexico
Javan Rhino Less than 80 Java, Indonesia
Kakapo Around 200 New Zealand
Sawback Angel Shark 100-150 Scattered regions of the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean

Rarest Plant Species

Species Population Location
Rafflesia arnoldii Less than 100 Rainforests of Indonesia
Corpse Flower Less than 1,000 Sumatra
Juliopterus Less than 100 Mountains of Ecuador
Pitcairnia feliciana Around 100 Cuba


Earth harbors many incredibly rare species, places and events as a result of evolutionary intricacy, isolation, and chance. The rarest natural wonders highlighted here urgently need protection as biodiversity vanishes at an alarming rate. Preserving threatened habitats and ecosystems will allow these unique rarities to persist for future generations to appreciate and study.

While nature has some common themes, the intricate details of evolution and Earth’s geological history have produced many one-of-a-kind phenomena. As human activities continue to drive species extinct and alter environments, the rarity of these natural treasures should inspire awe and motivate conservation efforts worldwide.

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