7 Flying Snake
It’s the harsh reality that comes with life on
certain continents: at some point, you’re going
to have to deal with some bizarre and even
nightmarish animals. Spiders? Fine. Snakes?
Yep. Crocodiles? Sure. Flying snakes? What? No!
Sure enough, in some forested regions of
Southeast Asia, you might be (un)lucky enough
to encounter a crazily writhing, mildly-venomous
serpent – at head level. These snakes are able
to flatten out their bodies, suck in their
stomachs, and make a daredevil leap from the
treetops in order to travel more quickly and
safely in the presence of predators. The really
strange thing is, they can glide even more
effectively than their limbed counterparts—up to
100 meters—despite lacking wings or even wing-
like protrusions.
6 Suicidal Ant
There is a species of ant found in Malaysia and
Brunei whose workers sport a particularly
explosive method of self—or rather, territorial—
defense. The ants, being in possession of an
enlarged mandibular gland containing a kind of
‘toxic glue’ that runs the length of their body,
can contract their abdomens and cause the
glands to burst inside of them. This results in an
unpleasant (for both the ant and victim, I’d
imagine) gush of sticky secretions from the front
of its head. You’d think that having something’s
face explode at you would be bad enough, but
the sticky nature of the liquid causes smaller
predator’s limbs to become entangled, leaving
them quite defenseless against a counterattack
by the colony. Not to mention the cocktail of
chemicals that is now covering their bodies.
Even predators have bad days at the office.
5 Pistol Shrimp
If you’ve heard of the Pistol Shrimp, you’ll know
about its claw. By snapping shut this single,
massive claw, it produces a bubble capable of
stunning or killing its prey. It doesn’t sound too
impressive at face-value, but there are a few
things you should know about what this creature
does for a living.
For starters, these shrimp are generally about
1-2 inches (3-5 cm) long, which doesn’t make
them the most intimidating predator in the world.
But even at that small size, they can produce a
cavitation bubble capable of travelling at 60 mph
(97 km/h), and of generating a sound that
reaches about 218 decibels. To put the latter in
perspective, it takes about 160 decibels to
rupture a human eardrum.
So that all seems pretty impressive at this point
—but there’s more to it. The bubble they create
is an interesting sort of phenomenon: as the
cavitation bubble collapses, the pressure and
temperature of the vapor within it increases,
which then causes the gas inside to violently
dissipate into the surrounding liquid, producing
an acoustic shockwave and even visible light
called ‘sonoluminescence’. While the reaction
doesn’t last long enough to melt everything
around the shrimp, the heat of the vapors can
reach up to 4,700 degrees Celsius. In
comparison, the sun’s surface is estimated to be
approximately 5,500 degrees Celsius.
(Interesting note: If the Pistol Shrimp loses its
main claw, the smaller claw will grow to replace
it, while the amputated limb regrows into a new
‘normal’ claw.)
4 Bombardier Beetle
These mere name of this ground-beetle should
be the first clue that it’s probably not something
you want to play with. By separately storing two
chemical compounds in their bodies, they have
essentially taken on the role of nature’s
laboratory. When threatened, they force both
chemicals through separate tubes and into a sort
of internal ‘mixing pot’ containing water and a
combination of catalytic enzymes. This causes a
violent chemical reaction: the liquid’s
temperature shoots up, almost to the boiling
point of water. The substance is then expelled
forcefully at the beetle’s target; its temperature
can be fatal to attacking insects and small
creatures such as frogs.
And if you were thinking that the beetle has to
face the right way to shoot its victim, think
again. In some species, the gland openings are
able to swivel more than 250 degrees, and can
even be directed between their legs for a frontal
3 Mimic Octopus
As an octopus, it’s tough to find recognition for
your ability to camouflage yourself. All
octopuses have the ability to change their color
and texture, in order to blend with their
surroundings. But the Mimic Octopus takes
underwater chameleonism a few leaps further: it
can actually impersonate other creatures.
Depending on what might be attacking it, the
mimic octopus intelligently decides which
predator to impersonate. For example, a mimic
octopus has been observed under attack by a
damselfish. It proceeded to bury itself and six
tentacles in the sand, leaving the other two
pointed in opposite directions – and thereby
mimicking the movement of a sea snake.
Mimic octopuses have also been seen to copy
the appearances and behaviors of lionfish,
flatfish, jellyfish, stingrays, mantis shrimp, and
sea anemones; it’s claimed that they’ve been
seen impersonating at least 15 different species.
2 Self-healing Axolotl
The axolotl is a strange creature, for a few
reasons. It’s a neotenous salamander, which
means it retains its larval form even after
reaching sexual maturity. Though confined to the
water, it has a rudimentary set of lungs which it
occasionally uses to gulp air at the surface. And
it has the healing powers of a superhero.
When one of these creatures is damaged (cut, or
having a limb torn off), coagulation begins
immediately – and new cells start to develop. In
the case of a missing limb, a layer of skin cells
begin to form from the cells at the location of
the trauma. Following this, new tissues begin to
grow: the axolotl is remarkable for its ability to
generate new blood vessels, sinews, muscle,
bone and even nerves. The length of time it
takes to grow a brand new limb? Just a few
The same regeneration occurs with non-vital
organs, and even parts of the brain. It’s for
these amazing healing abilities that the axolotl is
commonly studied in laboratories around the
world, which are hoping to someday pass on
these traits to human beings.
1 Immortal Jellyfish
The Turritopsis nutricula is a species of jellyfish
with a claim to immortality . It is renowned for its
ability to continually revert back into the
immature polyp stage after reaching sexual
maturity. It accomplishes this through a process
called ‘transdifferentiation’, which is essentially
the ability to transform one type of specialized
cell into a completely new one. During this
process, the medusa physically regresses back
into the beginnings of a polyp colony, absorbs its
own tentacles and bell, then settles on the sea
floor and once again starts growing to maturity –
just think of it as turning back into a baby after
becoming an adult.
Turritopsis nutricula can essentially do this
forever – making it the only known creature that
is biologically immortal. Of course, they still have
to avoid predators in their polyp stage, which is
physically impossible considering they’re unable
to move. This makes it highly unlikely that any
immortal jellyfish will actually live up to its name
in the wild.
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Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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