From a shrimp that shoots bubbles almost as hot as the sun to a jellyfish that can live forever, we count 10 amazing animals with extraordinary superpowers.
10. Pistol Shrimp
Usually found living among coral reefs and sea-grass flats in tropical to temperate waters, the pistol shrimp has harnessed the superpower of extreme sound. Only growing 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 inches) in length, the pistol shrimp has one disproportionately large claw that it can snap shut with so much force that it produces a wave of bubbles. The bubbles are so powerful they are capable of killing small fish and even shattering glass jars. The sound produced by the shrimp is so loud that they have been known to interfere with under water sonar communication.
Amazingly, the bubbles produced by the ‘snap’ can reach speeds in excess of 100 km/h (62 mph) and release a sound that reaches 218 decibels! As the bubble collapses it reaches temperatures hotter than 4,700 °C, which is almost as hot as the surface of the sun!
The shrimp uses its super sound blast to kill or stun unsuspecting prey before dragging them back to its underwater lair.
9. Dragon Millipede
Like many brightly coloured creatures in the animal kingdom, the dragon millipede of Thailand has the ability to produce toxins to defend itself. The bright pink colour is thought to warn predators of the millipede’s toxicity and therefore, protect it against attack. It doesn’t release any old toxin however, it releases hydrogen cyanide.
Hydrogen cyanide is so deadly it was used as a chemical weapon in World War I and it was used by the Germans during World War II in their extermination camps. If fact, hydrogen cyanide is so poisonous that it was used in whale harpoons as just a little bit was enough to kill a whale!
Hydrogen cyanide was also the poison that secret agents would hide on themselves in order to commit suicide should they be captured by the enemy. Just like the famous scene from the James Bond film, Skyfall when villain, Raoul Silva played by Javier Bardem reveals that his face was deformed after biting down on his hydrogen cyanide capsule hidden in a false tooth.
Luckily, the dragon millipede is usually only found in the caves of Thailand so it is unlikely that you will ever find yourself face to face with this hydrogen cyanide spitting super-villain of the animal kingdom.
8. Wolverine Frog
The Wolverine frog of Central Africa has an ability that is thought to be unique in the animal kingdom. Bizarrely, when the frog is threatened it intentionally breaks the bones in its feet and pushes the sharpened ends through the skin! It uses its ‘Wolverine claws’ to defend itself against predators and it is thought that the frog may even be able to retract them afterwards allowing the damaged tissue to regenerate.
Even though this strange creature’s superpower is eerily similar to that of Wolverine, it is unlikely that we will see Hugh Jackman dressed as a frog with broken feet any time soon!
While fleas are probably not anyone’s favourite animal they do possess a very cool super power. Adult fleas are no more than 3 mm (0.12 inches) in length but can jump up to 18 cm (7 inches) vertically and a massive 33 cm (13 inches) horizontally. That means that it can jump 110 times its own length! That’s the equivalent of a human that is 1.77 meters or about 5 foot 10 inches tall jumping 194.7 meters in a single bound! To give that some context, the world record in long jump set in August 1991 by Mike Powell is only 8.95 meters, nearly 22 times less that the hybrid flea man!
The flea is able to jump such extraordinary distances by storing muscle energy within the leg in a pad of elastic protein named resilin. It then releases the energy which rapidly propels the flea through the air.
Despite this remarkable super power, fleas still don’t get much love from humans as they survive by drinking the blood of their host and are also vectors for terrible diseases. Most notably, the bacteria that causes bubonic plague, the disease believed to have been responsible for wiping out an estimated 50 million people throughout Europe, Asia and Africa in the 14th century.
Salamanders are a group of amphibians that have the amazing ability to regenerate lost or damaged body parts! They can even completely regenerate complex tissues like the lens or retina of the eye in less than two weeks. Knowing that they can just grow a new one, some salamanders will even drop their tail deliberately to distract predators while they scurry for safety.
The salamander’s ability to regenerate its own body parts allows it to completely heal itself after injuring itself within the environment or being attacked by a predator.
Its super power is so amazing, researchers have been studying salamanders with the hopes that they will be able to reverse engineer the process for human applications. In the future, the technology may be able to treat medical conditions such as brain and spinal chord injuries as well as reducing scarring after surgery.
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