Nature is wild but wise. Many creatures have evolved over time to adapt to an ever-changing world, leading some to develop what us humans might consider superpowers. Below are eleven of the coolest and most surprising abilities found in wildlife.
11Spotted Hyena Eats (Mostly) Anything
Some animals feign death or illness to convince predators to leave them be. Spotted hyenas are unique in that they don’t care: their bodies can handle all sorts of microbes that would otherwise kill or make them ill. That’s why they eat rotten meat without issue.
10The Iron Jaw of Chitons
These molluscs have lived for hundreds of millions of years. Somewhere down this long road, they developed natural metal teeth. Specifically, the teeth are comprised of magnetite, the toughest material an organism is known to make.
9Ostracod Escape Plan
This tiny crustacean (1 mm) is prey to many fish. When consumed the ostracod escapes by releasing a chemical that causes the predator to shine a bright florescent blue color, causing it to spit out the ostracod and the chemical, creating the illusion of a blue flame.
8Frozen Wood Frog
Wood frogs are able to survive freezing. A third of their body’s water freezes and their blood stops flowing. They find a place to hide before this occurs and can survive that way for half a year before thawing out and going about their business like nothing had happened.
7Mantis Shrimp’s Mighty Punch
This small but aggressive shrimp has a literal one-two punch. First, they strike with their claws at twenty-three meters-per-second.
The speed forms cavitation bubbles between the claw and the target, which can stun or kill the target when they burst, even if the strike misses. The mantis shrimp is so strong that it’s known to break aquarium walls.
6The Invincible Tardigrade
This micro-animal, sometimes called the water bear, can survive scenarios that would kill most anything else: decades without food, thirty years at -20 Celsius, the vacuum of space for ten days, ten years while dehydrated, and many other extremes.
5The Lyrebird Mirror of Sound
A beautiful bird with an amazing singing voice, a voice so expressive that it can mimic many sounds, be they natural or artificial. Some recorded examples include chainsaws, camera shutters, and a car alarm. They can also mimic humans, though this is less common.
Members of this family of fish have electric eye muscles, attacking prey with quick shocks. Pair this with poisonous spines and the ability to hide in the sand and this fish becomes pretty vicious.
3The Healing Power of Sloths
Sloths aren’t exactly known for their cleanliness, but the upside to this is that they house loads of bacteria that help the animal heal from wounds much faster than others. Some research suggests that sloth hair may even hold a secret to combating cancer.
Opossums eat venomous snakes without suffering ill side effects. That’s because opossum blood contains a protein that specifically seeks out and neutralizes toxins. This includes toxins the animal wouldn’t normally encounter in its usual habitat, like those found in snakes from other continents.
1The Never-Ending Axolotl
This amphibian has regeneration abilities, but not the usual tail or limb regeneration. This little guy can recover anybody apart or organ, including its brain, heart, or the entire head.
But that’s not all: it’s also able to adopt the discarded pieces of another axolotl, effectively stitching itself back together.