If the name star-nosed mole calls forth an image of a cute little mole with a cartoonish star on the end of its nose, you clearly breezed by the photo above without looking too closely. In fact, the “star” in question is less a star and more a many-tendriled protuberance that might gross you out.

Like most unusual features seen on nature’s creatures, this strange snout serves a specific purpose. And on this episode of The List Show, guest host Jaida Elcock will tell you all about it—along with intel about how other animals’ impressively ugly appearances help them survive.

Elcock, a graduate student studying shark movement ecology at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, is an equal-opportunity lover of animals—even those hideous enough to haunt your nightmares. And who knows? Once she explains what the aye-aye uses its frighteningly long finger for, why the barreleye fish’s eyes glow inside its transparent head, and other facts, you might find yourself growing fond of these unsightly animals, too.

Press play below to find out more. To keep up with Elcock’s latest endeavors, you can follow her on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram.

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