These Strange Colors Discovered in Nature Will Leave You Speechless

Aurora Borealis northern lights seen from the Lofoten Islands in Norway

Green, blue, and brown are colors we are used to seeing in nature. We expect plants to be green, the sky to be blue, and many animals to be neutral colors. While the world is full of uniquely colored animals and plants, people envision most things in nature as specific colors. Grass should be green, water should be blue, and dirt should be brown. However, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, nature surprises us with strange and unexpected colors. If you stumble upon one of these beautiful natural occurrences, it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Pink Lake

Bright pink lake in Australia

Lake water normally appears blue, but certain organisms can alter water’s appearance. Some lakes have a vibrant pink hue because the halophilic bacteria in the lake produce pigments to change how the water looks. While bright pink lakes may seem unnatural, the vibrant water is safe for humans to swim in as long as it’s not ingested.

The most popular pink lake is Lake Hillier in Western Australia. Although Australia is home to several pink lakes, these beautifully colored bodies of water occur all over the world, including in France, Spain, Mexico, Chile, and the United States.

Green Sand

Green sand beach in Hawaii

There are only four green sand beaches in the world: Papakolea Beach in Hawaii, Talofofo Beach in Guam, Punta Cormorant in Ecuador, and Hornindalsvatnet in Norway. The olive green coloring is caused by lava deposits that are rich in olivine, a beautiful green mineral.

Even if the volcano has been dormant for a long time, olivine takes longer to wash away than other minerals that come from eruptions. It’s similar to black sand beaches, which are caused by volcanic materials like basalt rocks, lava, and other dark-colored minerals.

Blue Lobster

Close-up of blue lobster

Most people picture lobsters as red or brown, but in rare cases, they can appear bright blue. This coloring only occurs once in every two million lobsters, and it’s caused by a genetic mutation that produces excessive amounts of protein in the crustacean’s body. Blue is the rarest color in nature, so if you come across a blue lobster, it’s a truly special experience.

Lobsters of unique colors like blue and yellow still turn red when cooked. However, because they’re so rare, people will often pay high prices for blue lobsters.

Pink Katydid

Pink and green katydid on pink background

Katydids are bright green grasshopper-like insects. However, in rare cases, they can appear in different hues, such as yellow, orange, and even pink. Some scientists believe that pink katydids are caused by a genetic mutation, while others suggest that it occurs to help them blend in with blooming flowers.

Recent research indicates that pink may be a dominant gene in katydids, but the recessive gene of green happens to be more common. When a pink and green katydid are bred together, the offspring are pink. Some of these katydids are bright pink from head to toe, while others have hints of pink in their green coloring.

Red Waterfall

Abstract representation of a red waterfall called Blood Falls

In Antarctica, there’s a blood-red waterfall. The five-story saltwater waterfall is located on the Taylor Glacier and is known as “Blood Falls.” At first glance, it appears as if a trail of blood is pouring out of the glacier.

The water comes from a lake located underneath the glacier’s ice. That lake is high in iron, which is what gives the waterfall a peculiar red tint when the water is exposed to oxygen. Despite the average air temperature reaching -17 degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit), there are ways to visit this unique destination if you can brave the cold.

Blue Banana

Blue java bananas on a tree

Bananas are known for their yellow hues (or green if they’re not ripe enough). However, there’s a specific type of banana known as the Blue Java banana, which is native to Southeast Asia and sometimes has light blue coloring. These fruits typically only look blue or blue-green when they’re not ripe, and they turn into a creamy yellow color when they’re ready to be eaten.

Blue Java bananas are a hybrid of two other banana species, which is why they look different from the bananas you’d find at the grocery store. Some people who have tried these bananas claim they have a slight custard flavor with a creamy texture.

Blue Lava

Blue lava from the Ijen volcano

Not only is blue a rare color in nature, but it’s also the last color you would probably expect lava to be. At the Ijen volcano in Indonesia, the lava is your typical red coloring during the day, but at night, it shines bright blue. It’s believed that this is the only place in the world where you can see electric blue lava.

Blue lava is caused by sulfur-rich gases, which create a blue color when the lava is exposed to oxygen. As beautiful as this volcano is, it’s still very dangerous. There are intense sulfur levels surrounding the volcano that can be toxic if inhaled. It’s safest to observe it from a distance.

Iridescent Cloud

Iridescent clouds in the sky

Iridescent clouds, also described as rainbow clouds, are rare and gorgeous. For this phenomenon to occur, the cloud must be thin and contain many consistent-sized water droplets and/or ice crystals. The rainbow coloring appears when the sun shines through the droplets.

These colors can appear in altocumulus, cirrocumulus, lenticular, and cirrus clouds. If you stumble upon one of these colorful clouds, make sure to snap a picture while you can.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Rainbow eucalyptus trees with multi-colored bark

Eucalyptus deglupta is a type of tree commonly called rainbow eucalyptus. It naturally has multi-colored bark that consists of green, red, orange, pink, and yellow colors. The bark is smooth, and as pieces of the bark peel off, new colors are revealed under each layer.

These rainbow-colored trees are native to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, and they grow 60-75 meters tall (197-246 feet). While the trees aren’t rare in their regions, they’re becoming vulnerable due to habitat destruction.

Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow mountain called Vinicunca

Like the colorful eucalyptus trees, there are also rainbow mountains in the world. Vinicunca, also known as Winikunka, Montaña de Colores (Mountain of Colors), and Montaña Arcoíris (Rainbow Mountain), is a vibrantly-colored mountain located in the Andes of Peru. Its highest point is 5,200 meters (17,100 feet).

The mountain has strips of various colors, including red, blue, green, and yellow. This color pattern occurred naturally over millions of years as various minerals and sediments, such as red clays and sediments rich in calcium carbonate, interacted with each other. It’s one of the most colorful natural wonders in the world.

Polka Dot Zebra

Rare young dark zebra with white spots

Zebras are known for their bold black and white stripes. Yet, in rare instances, these mammals can be born with black bodies and white spots instead. In 2019, one of these oddly-colored zebras named Tira was born at the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, causing scientists to research this unique animal.

Spotted zebras like Tira occur because of a genetic mutation that changes melanin production and creates too much melanin in the zebra’s body. Other zebra color variants have appeared because of genetic mutations, including a “blonde” zebra with white and cream stripes. While it’s uncommon, there are plenty of zebras that don’t share the classic zebra coloring.

All Black Rooster

All-black rooster called Ayam Cemani

Ayam Cemani is a chicken/rooster breed native to Indonesia that’s black from head to toe, including the beak and comb. These roosters have a genetic condition called fibromelanosis, which causes excess pigmentation. They even have black skin, making their meat appear black too. They are extremely rare and can be very expensive. Full-grown chickens and roosters of this breed can cost thousands of dollars, while an individual egg typically costs around $16.

Many chicken breeds can have black feathers, but only a few are entirely black like the Ayam Cemani. Kadaknath and Svart Hona are other all-black chicken breeds.

Pink Sand Dunes

Pink sand dunes in Mauritius

“Seven Colored Earths” is a sand dune formation in Mauritius. It features a variety of vibrant sand colors, including pink, orange, yellow, and purple. The exact cause of this natural wonder is unknown, but the colors are thought to come from molten volcanic rock that cooled at different temperatures over time.

The reason why the various colors are so spread out today is that the different kinds of sand have separated due to rain, wind, and other environmental factors. As a result, the dunes have a swirly color pattern that tourists adore.

Pink Dolphin

Pink Amazon River Dolphin in the water

Typically, dolphins are light gray, but Amazon River Dolphins are mostly pink. These aquatic mammals are born gray, but their skin becomes increasingly pink as they age. Adult males are often much pinker than females, and the pink coloration is thought to result from scar tissue. The male dolphins love to pick fights, and their skin may turn pink as their scar tissue heals.

Other scientists believe these animals are pink because the tiny blood vessels called capillaries are closer to the surface of their skin than they are for other dolphins. By having a pinkish tint, they can hide from predators better because the substrate at the bottom of their aquatic habitat often appears red.

Yellow Cardinal

Male yellow cardinal on a tree stump

Male cardinals are known for their bold red coloring, while females have dull brown feathers. However, there are male cardinals that appear bright yellow instead of red. These yellow birds are a separate species simply known as yellow cardinals, and they’re endangered, making them incredibly rare to see.

Yellow cardinals are native to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, but due to the illegal pet trade, they may appear in other locations too. There are only 1,000 to 2,000 of these birds left, so spotting one is like one in a million.