Animals are incredible creatures, outshining us humans in more ways than one. From blood-shooting eyes to gravity-defiance, these species possess superpowers like fictional superheroes. Here are some of their incredible abilities.
As cute and harmless as this eight-legged microscopic creature might appear, it's actually one of the toughest animals on Earth. The mighty Tardigrade, AKA Water Bear, is sure to outlive us all.
This animal is most commonly found in moss and lichen but can survive in even the harshest of environments. Due to their dormant cryptobiosis state, many Tardigrades can withstand the highest pressures, lowest temperatures, dehydration, starvation, lack of air, and radiation.
The Rhinoceros Beetle
This insect may have gained its rhino name from its horn-shaped head, but its alternate name reveals its true superpower. It is additionally known as the Hercules beetle because of its outstanding strength. Just like the mythical character, it can lift objects that weigh 30 times its weight.
While lifting these heavy items, the beetle can continue traveling at the same speeds it could move when empty-handed. The strongest male beetles will use this strength to battle against other males and earn mating rights with females.
Unfortunately, we're all familiar with the horror of food poisoning. Eating those leftovers felt good in the moment, but just a few hours later, we live to regret it. We can only dream of the magical ability to eat whatever comes our way with no fear of the consequences! That is the life of the Vulture.
With their cast iron stomachs, these birds can consume just about anything. While their spoiled lunch goes down as a delicious treat, it would likely kill a human who ate it! In 2014, scientists revealed that the reason Vultures can process spoiled food is that their microbiome kills dangerous bacteria.
When it comes to animal superpowers, it doesn't get more miraculous than being able to live without air. Considering the basic scientific principle that taught us all living things need oxygen to breathe, Loricifera's anaerobic abilities mark them as supernatural.
These three microscopic animal species were located in 2010, 3,000 meters below the surface of the Meditteranean Sea. Since these findings were released, ongoing debates have disputed their classification as an animal, stating they are merely carcasses lived in by anaerobic bacteria.
It's long been known that dogs have a supernatural sense of smell, capable of picking up the weakest scents with ease. They're also famous for their the ability to see in the dark with no light. Believe it or not, though, that's not it! Our adorable furry pals have even more to offer!
These canines possess two more hidden superpowers, which have only recently been discovered. Firstly, their cold, wet nose can detect heat, even from long distances, helping them locate their prey of choice. Additionally, they can find their way by relying on the Earth's magnetic field—pretty magical stuff.
The winter can be a difficult period for many animal species as the temperatures plunge to life-threatening depths. Most creatures go into a hibernation period to survive, laying low under cover till it's safe to enter. The wood frog, however, who predominantly lives in Alaska, has taken this a step further.
Considering Alaska's extremely long, freezing temperatures, the wood frog freezes itself to death to survive. Quite literally, its heart stops beating and it no longer breaths, technically dying as a result. Then, somewhat miraculously, it comes back to life as Spring arrives and the warmer weather enables it to thaw out.
Working with Santa isn't the only magical thing about reindeer. The animal species known as caribou also have color-changing eyes which switch according to the surrounding light levels. Most commonly found in North American and European boreal forests, certain seasons can mean fewer daylight hours.
In the summer, their eyes are brown to ensure they can handle the high levels of sunlight. In the winter, however, when it's mostly dark, their eye pressure increases, dilating their pupils and enabling them to see still. As a result, the eye lens collagen is compressed, and the reflected light decreases, causing the eye to appear blue.
Fish-scale geckos have a supernatural and somewhat creepy way of escaping their predators. In response to even a light touch, their large back scales will dislodge and shed, allowing them to move away quickly. Humans who have attempted to capture the geckos have experienced the speed at which their skin sheds.
As for the gecko, it has a secondary magical ability to regrow its scales after a loss in just a few weeks. Most commonly found in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, there are many species of these animals. They all sleep during the day and feed on the surrounding insects at night.
The Humpback Whale may be one of the largest animals in the sea, but it still doesn't leave anything to chance when it comes to capturing its prey. Working together in a pod, they create 'bubble nets' to get the schools of fish where they need them.
The first whale swims in a wide circle blowing air bubbles from its blowhole while the rest of the whales go below and use vocal noises and swimming techniques to escort the fish into the 'net.' Lastly, the entire pod will swim up, open-mouthed, eating the captured prey.
Earning their name as the stars of the sea, these animals have supernatural-like stomachs that can extend out of their mouths. Although they are a smaller species below the sea surface, this extendable stomach means they can consume the mussels and clams that would not have fit in their tiny mouths.
So how does this incredible function actually work? After eyeing its prey of choice, the stomach will extend and envelop it, digesting partially while still beyond the body. Once the victim has been broken down into a soupy mix-like texture, the stomach retracts and brings it back through the mouth.
Snakes have a fearsome reputation for good reason. One bite from a poisonous one, and it's game over for its victim. That is, unless the prey was an opossum, as they contain a supernatural-like serum protein that enables them to neutralize the venom.
Numerous studies have theorized this was adopted in response to the species' history of preying on poisonous snakes. In response to their prey developing more advanced toxins, they strengthened their resistance to them. There's hope this protein chain research can help find a cure for human snake victims.
The Immortal Jellyfish
As given away by its literal name, the immortal jellyfish does what it says on the tin. Through a process known as transdifferentiation, a mature immortal jellyfish can avoid death, physical damage, or harsh environments by going back to its youngest, most immature form - a polyp.
When triggered by one of these factors, the jellyfish's mature, specialized cells will revert into a different structure. Unfortunately, despite this superpower, these jellyfish can still fall victim to predators and disease, proving themselves to be mere mortals like the rest of us.
For those of us who dread the task of lathering up in sunscreen for a trip to the beach, the hippopotamus is living a life we could only dream of. These animals may not be the prettiest members of the animal kingdom, but they have a natural ability to produce a sun-protecting, antibiotic secretion on their skin!
This red liquid, known as 'blood sweat,' gains its color from combining hipposudoric acid and nonhipposudoric acid. After these chemicals are emitted from the hippo's skin in the form of transparent sweat, they interact with the surrounding air. This creates the viscous substance that protects the surface from UV light.
Some animals will camouflage to hide from their prey; others will turn themselves into a liquid and hide in the crevices until it's safe to come back out. As dramatic as this may sound, this is the life of a sea cucumber that can liquefy and solidify on demand.
Their skin is composed of mutable collagenous tissue - a unique form of collagen that can be deformed without permanent damage. The internal tissue will arrange itself in a lattice structure when the sea cucumber solidifies. Once they have liquified and secured their hiding spot, returning to solid form will secure them in place.
From Wolverine to Deadpool to the Hulk, many of our favorite superheroes have supernatural regenerative abilities. What many Marvel fans might not know is that real-life animals are holding these incredible powers, bringing these movies to life in a spectacular way.
Take the axolotl, for example, which has the ability to regrow a limb lost to a predator. In place of the extraction, the new limb will appear along with its bones, blood vessels, and muscles. It's believed there is a small sequence in the axolotl's RNA that produces these powers.
If you've ever unsuccessfully tried to knock out an unwanted cockroach house guest, you may be relieved to know you were working against some pretty supernatural forces. Unbelievably, these pests are able to survive being decapitated, even if done under the toughest of strengths.
They can do this because their body functions totally differently from mammals. Firstly, they don't breathe through their mouth but rather through holes in their body. Secondly, their bodies ensure blood pressure remains constantly low and a large organ blow won't result in significant blood loss.
These clownfish are not clowning around when it comes to their reproduction habits. Based on the demand, these fish can miraculously change their sex from male to female to ensure no supply issues prevent their species from reproducing.
While some other animal species can change sex based on age or size, these fish can uniquely transition in response to social cues. Clownfish groups must include one breeding male and one breeding female. If the female dies, the male mate will change sex and take her place. In turn, a sexually immature male will grow and take his place.
The Superb Lyrebird
Superb Lyrebirds put the simple parrot to shame as they show off their supernatural-like ability to mimic what they hear. This Australian songbird will imitate the birds around it when found in the wild. Even if alone, just one of these birds can replicate the sounds of an entire species.
Lyrebirds that live in captivity have been heard mimicking human sounds, such as camera shutters and car alarms! When lacking in inspiration, the superb lyrebird relies on its internal songbook, emitting clicking, thuds, and buzzing sounds that it learned from its parents. The males will also use these as mating calls.
In contrast to their constant smiley appearance, dolphins are a lot tougher than they seem. As the ultimate sea hunters, they have developed supernatural ways of orienting themselves and finding their prey. After emitting high-pitched sounds and clicks, they wait for the returning echo for direction.
These sea creatures can do this because of the melon tissue inside their forehead. This helps them to focus on the sounds they emit and direct them as desired. Many scientists also believe their unique vocals also act as their internal mode of communication, contributing to their intelligence and social skills.
The ‘Thorny Devil’ Dragon Lizard
With its multiple survival adaptations, the 'Thorny Devil' dragon lizard's name alone is enough to strike terror in the minds of its predators. As advertised, it has numerous spiky thorns along its body in order to protect itself from danger. In particular, the knob on its head acts as a fake head to confuse its attackers.
As seen in this photo, this dragon lizard is able to change its skin coloring to blend into its surroundings and decrease its chances of being spotted by predators. As for surviving life in the desert, the tiny grooves on its body and the channels between its scales mean it can drink from its feet.
Contrary to popular belief, a crocodile's diet does not predominantly consist of innocent human children. In actual fact, their favorite prey is an inanimate object we always believed to be inedible! In a process named lithophagy, the mighty amphibious reptiles regularly consume rocks, and there are all sorts of reasons why.
One popular theory is that these rocks help the animal to grind up their food. A newer hypothesis suggests these stones increase their body weight, enabling them to dive under the water for longer periods of time. Their increased density means they can sink beneath the waves and forcefully drag down prey from the water's surface.
Looking like something straight off a Stranger Things episode, the Frilled Lizard is the creature of our nightmares. True to its name, this animal has the ability to unfold itself in the presence of a threat, creating that large frill hanging around its neck, as seen in this image.
When this lizard feels threatened, it whips out its secret weapon. Standing upright with its mouth open, it opens its frilled neck and yelps. If that doesn't do the trick to scare off its predators, it can leap over at them, ensuring they are truly petrified.
We've all felt that emotionally draining feeling when all we want is to curl up into a ball and hide from life and its responsibilities. Although it may seem like it does, this curled-up position hardly protects us from the outside world and the dangers it holds.
Just like us, pangolins roll into a ball when threatened, but they have a genuine reason for doing so. Their skin is uniquely covered in scaled armor which allows them to curl up into a tight ball and acts as a hard, physical shield. Oh, to be a pangolin for the day!
The Indian Chameleon
Yet another animal on this list with magical camouflaging abilities is the Indian Chameleon. Like its peers, it can adapt its coloring to blend in with its surroundings and avoid capture. But, unlike the others, hiding is not actually the main reason it will do so.
This chameleon will mainly use its camouflaging adaptation to communicate with other members of its species, acting as a unique language among them. Another secondary function of camouflage is its temperature control. In colder temperatures, it will appear darker to absorb more heat. That's one extraordinary talent!
The Horned Lizard
The Horned Lizard's supernatural-like ability is so impressive we imagine it's only a matter of time until Marvel gets their hands on it. When a perceived threat approaches, this animal shoots blood from its eyes, throwing the predator off its tracks. That's a movie script that writes itself!
Hunted by many animals, including snakes, lizards, dogs, and coyotes, the species was forced to adapt specialty defense mechanisms. Blood shots emanate from the ducts in their eyes and can land as far as three feet from the source. Not only does this confuse the enemy, but it contains a chemical lethal to dogs and wolves.
The False Coral Snake
Taking on the ideology of 'fake it till you make it,' the False Coral Snake pretends to be something it's not to scare off its predators. With those red and black stripes, it may look just like its poisonous Coral Snake peer, but in actual fact, it's as harmless as a fly.
Adding to its misleading dangerous reputation, this snake also mimics the defensive behaviors of the lethal cobra to protect itself from attacks. If all else fails, they have one more protection technique up their sleeves. Flattening its tail and lifting it, its head resembles that of a cobra.
The Red Lionfish is one marine creature not to mess with! As welcoming and fun as its patterned coloring suggests it may be, it would be a real mistake to cross its path. This is because of the poison glands it holds in the spines of its dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins.
When a threat or predator comes close, the Red Lionfish channels its inner superhero by erecting its fins and pointing its toxic spines toward their enemy. Just the slightest collision with these poisonous glands, and it's game over for the other team.
As if regular snakes weren't scary enough, the flying snake purely exists to ensure we never sleep again. As its name suggests, the flying snake is not limited to the Earth's floors, with a terrifying ability to jump down unexpectedly on its prey from the trees above.
Admittedly, these animals cannot gain altitude on their own and fly up into the air. Still, they do have the ability to glide as no other snake can. Jumping off from tree tops, they rely on the speed of the fall and their body shape to trap the air and lift themselves up. Yikes.
The Alpine Ibex
Giving Spider-Man a run for his money, the Alpine Ibex can defy the laws of gravity and climb up vertical walls with ease. Whether it's a mountain, a cliff, or even a dam, this goat species can be found making its way up the sides like a professional climber. So what is its secret?
Although all species of goats have a natural ability to climb, the ibex is the best of them all. This is believed to result from its short legs and low body mass, which means it has a low center of gravity. On top of that, it has powerful rear leg muscles and thin, solid hooves, which all help with the vertical climbing task.
Although the shrimp name doesn't usually scream danger, this species adds the word pistol in front of it, justifiably adding an element of fear. This surprisingly powerful creature has made waves throughout its existence, coming face to face with the US Navy and playing a part in the fight against climate change.
The pistol shrimp, AKA snapping shrimp, fights off its enemies by blowing deathly bubbles in their direction. What makes these air formations so terrifying is their gun-like sound and fire-like temperature. As their name suggests, they shoot these bubbles out from their tiny bodies, teaching us never to judge an animal by its size!