Some animals have modest superpowers. For instance, cats have the incredible ability to sleep 20 hours and actually be rewarded for their laziness with catnip and squeaky mouse toys. Polar bears have been taught to solve complex algorithms…or so we are alleging without a shred of evidence. But there really are animals that can do things that would be the envy of the Marvel Extended Universe. Here are some of the most impressive feats in the animal kingdom.
1. Hairy frogs have Wolverine-like abilities
Hairy frogs get their name from the hairy, hula-skirt-lookin’ thingies that cover the males’ thighs. When another animal tries to mess with the hairy frog, they attack back with protruding claws they create by deliberately breaking bones in their toes. Not surprisingly, they are also called Wolverine frogs. And horror frogs because as Shaquille O’Neal or P. Diddy prove, the true sign of status is having multiple nicknames.
2. Dragon millipedes can unleash a poisonous gas cloud
You would think that merely looking at a dragon millipede at a distance would make you want to stay as far away from it as possible. But predators are stupid, you see. So when they approach this freaky fluorescent pink insect hoping it will suffice as lunch, they pay the ultimate price. The dragon millipede shoots a cloud of hydrogen cyanide at their foes so that they can live another day doing whatever it is dragon millipedes enjoy doing in their spare time.
3. Dogs might have the power of clairvoyance
Can Mr. Barky Von Schnauzer peer into the future? That’s up for debate. But as anybody who owns a dog can tell you, their furry pet seems to really have a knack for predicting when their owner is coming home. In fact, studies on the matter indicate that they are pretty accurate at anticipating their owner’s return. Is it precognition? Who knows. But one thing is certain: I’ve already got a Lambo picked out, so now I’m just waiting for my dog to start barking out next week’s winning lottery numbers.
4. Jellyfish can live until the end of the world
So here’s the situation. Every time jellyfish make sweet, sweet love, they revert back to their juvenile form. This process is called Turritopsis nutricula and scientists believe it could hypothetically allow them to live forever. So there you have it: the key to immortality is an active sex life.
5. Pistol fish generate sun-levels of heat
When you’ve got the munchies, you open a jar of stale, five-year-old animal crackers and chow down. While that’s certainly adventurous, pistol fish still have you beat. When they hunt for food, they blast out a stream of water that is hotter than the surface of the sun! If that’s not enough, with a snap of their claws, they can produce a sound that is around 50% louder than a jet engine. This effectively stuns their prey. The lesson here: if you happen to be near a pistol shrimp, you better not look appetizing.
6. Wood frogs can freeze their own blood
When the cold weather arrives, the bears, squirrels and, um, wood frogs all go into hibernation. In order to survive the intense cold, wood frogs freeze their blood by burrowing into the frozen tundra of North America. Admittedly, while this animal superpower is better than anything we humans can do, it’s not as badass as the ability to freeze other animals’ blood.
7. Salmon can sense the Earth’s magnetic field to guide them
Quick, how do you find your way when you get lost? You click your Google Maps app and in no time you’ll figure out exactly where you are, give or take a few hundred miles in all directions. But salmon have no use for our silly GPS technology. They use their innate ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and use it like a compass. Then once they reach the river they call home, they use their sense of smell to pinpoint the exact location of their particular stream and enjoy some of Fish Mom’s home cooking.
8. Alpine ibex mountain goats think their Spiderman
The Ibex goats who call Gran Paradiso National Park in northern Italy home can climb the nearly-vertical walls of a dam. Why do they take the risk? To lick the salt off the stones. So a delicious reward totally worth dying for. It’s also believed they climb up to get away from potential predators. They’re sucky runners, it turns out. But how do they defy gravity? They can thank the sole pads of their hooves, which have elastic and rubbery properties. While females and younger males can accomplish the feat, it turns out that adult males are too heavy to pull it off. So never grow up, guys.
9. The sea cucumber can liquify itself
Remember that scene in Terminator 2 when the evil Terminator is standing in front of the metal jail bars and we were all thinking, “Ha! There’s no way he’s going to be able to enter the cell” and then he completely blows our minds by walking through them ‘cause it turns out he’s made of liquid metal? Sea cucumbers can totally do that too. It allows them to slip through cracks and such. We can also assume it makes it easy for them to escape from sea cucumber mental institutions without being noticed.
10. Swifts fly nonstop for months at a time
You know what’s the rots? Non-direct flights. Having to fly from New York City to Philadelphia via Anchorage is never any fun, but it’s just one of those things we’ve got to deal with. That goes for hedgehogs, turtles, giraffes and dolphins. But not swifts. This species of aerial birds native to every continent except Antarctica has been known to fly non-stop for as long as 200 days because they reckon the ground is for losers. And so is sleep, apparently?