8 Amazing Animal Super Powers

  • Meet nature’s own Justice League.

The human brain is one of nature’s greatest miracles. No other creature – living or dead – has achieved the same kind of ability for complex thought and reasoning as humanity.

But that’s not to say that animals don’t have some fantastic abilities of their own. In many ways, some of them are actually way ahead of us.

Here are 8 animal super powers that put humanity to shame.

1) Sharks Can Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field

It’s been common knowledge for a long time that sharks are sensitive to electromagnetic fields. They also migrate long distances during mating season, and so biologists have long speculated that they can use the Earth’s magnetic field to find their way around.

Now, a new study has confirmed these suspicions. Sharks can sense the Earth’s magnetic fields and know at all times where they are in relation to their spawning grounds.

In other words, they have their own natural GPS. Meanwhile, we can’t find our way around the city even with Google Maps.

2) Bats Are Born with a Complex Knowledge of Physics

Everybody knows bats use echolocation to find their pray. They send out sound waves and detect insects and other animals based on the reflections of the sound.

But there’s one challenge there – the speed of sound can vary based on things like temperature and air pressure. So, how do bats figure out how the current conditions affect their echolocation?

Israeli scientists recently discovered that each bat is born with a doctorate in physics. They have an innate understanding of time and the speed of sound and therefore can always precisely determine the location of their next meal.

3) Sea Cucumbers Can Liquify and Solidify their Bodies

Sea cucumbers are tube-like creatures that crawl along the ocean bottom, feeding on detritus. Inside their squishy bodies are bone-like calcified support structures that help them maintain their shape.

What’s amazing about them is that they are able to liquify their pseudo-bones. Turning into a gooey puddle helps them fit into cracks and crevices when they scavenge for food.

Once the sea cucumber has squeezed through a tight spot, it can re-solidify its internal structure as if nothing had happened. And so, the fleshy tube continues its endless march across the sea floor.

4) Hairy Frogs Break and Eject Their Bones to Create Claws

Photo by Em?ke Dénes

Being a frog isn’t easy. Without sharp teeth or claws, many of them rely on things like toxic mucus to protect themselves.

But the Central African hairy frog isn’t having any of that. It wanted claws, and if nature wasn’t going to let it have them, it decided to make its own.

The hairy frog can break its own toe bones and push them through its skin to create makeshift claws for defense. Once the frog feels safe again, it retracts the bones back into its body and regenerates the damage.

No wonder these things are also called Wolverine frogs.

5) Mantis Shrimp’s Punch Hits as Hard as a Bullet

It’s pretty common to see superheroes punch through walls. But you wouldn’t expect a shrimp to do the same.

The peacock mantis shrimp has bulbous, club-like claws at the ends of its front limbs that it uses to pummel its pray. The punch can reach the speed of 80 miles per hour – accelerating faster than a .22 caliber handgun bullet.

Not only can the punch break the shells of clams and crabs, it can shatter aquarium glass. These creatures are notoriously hard to keep as pets as they can smash their enclosure to pieces whenever they feel like it.

6) Dragon Millipedes Spit Cyanide

Phot by Chulabush Khatancharoen

The dragon millipede is a pretty pink in color and kind of smells like almonds. If you find one, though, don’t touch it – this thing is death itself, just with a nice bow on top.

But instead of fire, this dragon breathes clouds of pure hydrogen cyanide. In case you don’t know what that is, let’s just say it’s one of the most toxic substances on the planet.

That pink coloring is actually a natural warning sign. The millipedes are basically saying: “Just try eating me, I dare you.”

They are so toxic that one of them could kill 18 pigeon-sized birds. Pretty good for an inch-long millipede.

7) Lyrebirds Can Imitate Pretty Much Anything

Photo by Deborah Pickett

We often think parrots and ravens are amazing for their ability to imitate human speech. But they got nothing on the Australian lyrebirds.

Lyrebirds have the most complex vocal organ of all songbirds. They can not only mimic humans, but practically any sound that they happen to hear.

There have been reports of lyrebirds imitating anything from chainsaws and car alarms to gunshots, camera shutters, mobile phone ringtones, barking dogs, and crying babies. In 1969, they found some birds that were mimicking a flute melody their ancestors had heard 30 years earlier.

8) Immortal Jellyfish Are… Well, Immortal

Turritopsis dohrnii, a tiny jellyfish living in tropical waters, is also known as the immortal jellyfish. That’s because it is just that – the turritopsis tells the Grim Reaper to take a hike on a regular basis.

When the immortal jellyfish gets hurt, sick, or old, it simply turns back the clock. It can revert back to its larval form, resetting its biological clock and starting its life anew.

The jellyfish can repeat this process infinitely, rendering them biologically immortal. As long as they don’t get eaten or die from disease before they can complete their rebirth, the immortal jellyfish will live forever.