The Beauty of Ugly

In the animal world, as in our own, looks aren’t everything. In fact, some of the most aesthetically challenged creatures — from warthogs and proboscis monkeys to bull elephant seals — are also the most fascinating. A stunning variety of these ghastly yet glorious forms are explored in NATURE’s The Beauty of Ugly.

On the Web site for The Beauty of Ugly, you’ll get an in-depth look at some of these intriguing creatures. You’ll learn about the remarkable sensory abilities of the weird little star-nosed mole and the unusual social system of naked mole-rats and their imperious mole-rat queen, discover the threats faced by the Cape Griffon vulture, and get a fish-eye’s view of the needle-toothed viperfish and other deep-sea creatures, as photographed by a unique undersea camera called the Eye-in-the-Sea, designed by ocean researcher Dr. Edith Widder.

To order a copy of The Beauty of Ugly, please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for The Beauty of Ugly was originally posted online November 2007.

  • Bridget Bordelon

    I would like to take this time to thank PBS for producing some wonderful programs that helps teachers provide background knowledge for so many content-related activities. Making these lessons/programs available online allows me to bring information and ideas from around the world to a group of children who live in a very rural and economically depressed area. Your programs allow them to experience parts of the world that most, if not all, of them will never visit. Thanks for helping open their eyes to beauty of our world and the problems that face us each day.

  • brittany mcgee

    theres some ugly cretures on this web site

  • darla gravitt

    This web site is pretty cool if you ask me.But you can say that if you like insects.

  • brittany mcgee

    if u like insects lizards comet us

  • Mike Waldrep


  • Sidney Kinsaul

    It was as good as ir gets of the ugly ness of some of the creatures that we are unawre of on this planet.

  • Ritsuka

    Awesome!!!! I thought it was cool how you could replace egg whites with that slimy fish stuff XD

  • kathyv

    Didn’t really see anything I would consider ugly, mostly just fascinating! It’s wondrous what’s out there and how it’s adapted to survive in it’s habitat. Amazing!

  • fishhead

    Fish are a trip! I am watching it again!

  • Scott

    In one segment, a woman was talking about how a velvet ant’s fangs might deliver a painful bite. A velvet ant is actually a wingless wasp, and its sting is quite painful. Some real ants also have stingers, but I can’t remember ever seeing anything on television that mentions this. Thanks to this oversight, I’ve only recently learned that ants have stingers. I would’ve thought an educational show on PBS would do better. Ant stings seem to be a lot more dangerous than ant bites. Other than that, I thought it was a great show. Thanks.

  • Gerry

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • whalee

    it is VERY cool that you can use fish goo for a cool thing for well.. …fish goo,and also i think the eye in the sea and deep-sea fish were cool-whalee w

  • whalee

    i have seen naked mole rats at the atlanta zoo and zoo of the whales.

    -whalee w

  • Laura

    I loved the show! I plan to watch it again. I do think that the Goblin Shark (of Japan) should have been included.


    I missed this program twice. I hope it replays soon.

  • jada moultrie

    the beuty of ugly is really beutiful
    ha haha sike

    ~dawains wiifey~

  • Eric’s Gyrl :)

    All the animals r uglee. that aint cool yo!

  • Rebecca Bercawitch

    i think all the animals are cute! i love them! i love the mole the best!

  • Rebbeca Bercawitch

    it’s not thier problem that they are ugly!

  • nicki louie

    ugly is beautiful..
    sometimes we tend to say that the most important thing being a human is, We have a golden hearth!!

  • Lili

    I enjoyed the info the writer posted on this animal,it’s very awairing.


  • Mike


  • JIn

    that is an awesome series. Good job, pbs.

  • Craig Venezia

    I love this series so much I watched Feb 7th episode instead of the Super Bowl.

  • Jose concepcion Guido

    This page have shown me things that are amazing and i have understood that nothing in the nature is ugly because believe us or not they have incredible things that others don’t have.

  • Nathan Blain

    well no-duh they do. not very many ppl think that a dog is the same as a kangaroo or sumthin like that

  • Kristen Bieger

    The beauty of ugly, yup.

  • Mike Waldrep

    I hope tht everyone had a great weekend and a great Father’s Day!

  • happythinkingdude

    elephant seals and those wart hogs are really ugly but facinating. i really think that peoples should stop illegelly killing them! and those proboscis monkyies , thier noses look like squidwards nose. (off of spongebob square pants) those naked mole rats are worse than ugly though. but thier ways of life is facinating! anyhow think all these animals are cool!!! ewww, those squrpians are uglyer than a alian thats uglier than those wart hogs! those tape worms are ugly as a hairball that a cat coughed up! parret head fish or watever they are called are cool! but eww wolf ells are ugly but i hear they are really cool! viper fish are WAY ugly! any how i gtg

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    fantastic publish, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You must proceed your writing. I’m sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  • jilbab

    Only difference is, selling t-shirts isn’t illegal or frowned upon. I’m sure dog fighting is illegal in most parts and if not, should be.

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