When we think of animals, we most likely imagine a pack, or a group. Many animals prefer to stay in close confines with others of the same species as there is safety in numbers, and they can all watch out for each other.
However, there are some animal species that prefer to sleep and hunt by themselves, living a solitary life and only really coming together when it’s time to mate.
These animals are perfectly happy on their own, though some might be surprising.
Read on to find out more about the top 7 most solitary animals in the world:
1. Polar Bears
Scientifically known as Ursus Maritimus, polar bears are a particularly solitary animal that will only really tolerate the company of others if it’s time to mate, or they’re raising their young.
Other than that, polar bears prefer to hunt, eat, and sleep on their own.
When they’re young, polar bears will play together, honing their fighting and hunting skills in a safe way, but once they get only enough to go out on their own, they become very solitary.
That said, if there is a large carcass that needs eating – say that of a whale – then they will put up with the company of other polar bears or other animals, though they tend to keep their distance.
Did You Know: Because they depend on the ocean to provide their food, they are the only bear species to be classified as a marine mammal.
2. Snow Leopards
Staying in the cold climates for now, our second solitary animal is the elusive snow leopard. Though there are some big and small cats that prefer to stay in colonies or prides, snow leopards will very rarely interact with other cats.
During mating season and whilst they’re raising their cubs is about the only time that a snow leopard can be seen interacting with others of its species.
These creatures try to stay away from other animals as well, being crepuscular, which means that they are primarily active during dusk and dawn, rather than being nocturnal or diurnal.
It’s not even just other big cats that snow leopards stay away from. There has never been a recorded or verified account of a snow leopard attacking a human – even if they’re snuck up on whilst they’re eating, they’re far more likely to run away than to attack.
Did You Know: Their paws are like snowshoes. They are very wide so that they better distribute their weight whilst walking on the snow, and they are lined with extra fur on their paw pads.
A member of the deer family (but over 6 feet tall and usually more than 1,000 pounds, the moose is different from its deer cousins because it does not like to travel in herds.
Calves will only stay with their mothers until they’re about one year old, at which point they go off on their own.
Sometimes, during mating season, you’ll see two male moose (called bulls) fighting for dominance, however, for the rest of their lives they are completely solitary.
Did You Know: Male Moose loose and then regrow their antlers every year. Their antlers help them protect their eyes whilst fighting, and they can grow to be nearly 6 feet long from one end to the other.
One of the strangest animals in Australia (and that’s saying something) the platypus is a particularly solitary animal, only tolerating animals in the same body of water, and never interacting with anything else except for during mating seasons.
Though they look cuddly, platypuses don’t want or like to be interacted with.
Did You Know: Platypus eggs only take about 10 days to hatch, but the babies are only the size of lima beans and are completely helpless for nearly 4 months before they can swim on their own.
5. Solitary Sandpiper
You know something’s got to be particularly anti-social for it to be in their name. Though most shorebirds like to stick together in flocks, the solitary sandpiper likes its own company more than the company of others.
It even migrates on its own and can usually be found going solo around shaded ponds. A solitary sandpiper will generally nest high in trees, rather than on the ground like other sandpiper species.
Did You Know: Solitary Sandpipers will lay their eggs in the old nests of songbirds, like blackbirds or robins, rather than make their own.
6. Desert Tortoise
A trend you’ll have noticed with these other solitary animals is that they mostly tolerate the company of their own children.
Not the desert tortoise! These animals will lay their eggs in a hold in the ground and then bolt (can it be called bolting if they do it really slowly?).
Young tortoises are on their own from birth, and their odds against nature aren’t good – its said that only 2% of hatchlings actually make it to sexual maturity.
Did You Know: They can live to be over 80 years old.
7. Chuckwalla Lizard
Last but not least is the chuckwalla lizard. Found in rocky desert areas, this lizard has a distinctive pot-bellied appearance and a nasty attitude.
They are very territorial and the only time they can be seen interacting with one another (aside from mating season) is when they’re fighting over their land.
Male chuckwallas will live in their own territories that overlap with a few females so when mating season comes around, they know that they’re not too far away from the closest females.
Did You Know: When a chuckwalla senses danger, it will find a tight crevasse and then inflate its lungs so it blows up like a balloon, making it impossible for predators to remove them from their hiding place.