Meet Nature’s Super Animals: From the Pufferfish pack with deadly poison, to the Leafcutter ants with amazing strength, to the hummingbirds that flaps its wings with lightning speed; the natural world is full of animals with astonishing skills and amazing powers.
Tarsier- Precise Night Vision
Possessing enormous eyes that are larger than its brain case and also its stomach, the Philippine Tarsier truly deserves to be called a “Super Animal”. An excellent night hunter, it makes use of its eyes to hunt for prey such as insects, worms, lizards and other small animals. Though, its eyes are fixed in the skull, the neck is flexible and can rotate almost 360°.
Also, it has acute hearing due to its oversized ears. Endemic to the Philippines, this miniscule primate measures about 85-160 mm in height and weighs 113-142 grams. It has rough gray fur, narrow tail about 13 to 28 cm long, padded finger and toes, sharp teeth and elongated ankle bone. The Philippine tarsier is arboreal and solitary animal, spending its entire life in trees.
Pufferfish – Inflatable Body, Deadly poison
Don’t be deceived by its charming face. The pufferfish, mostly found in tropical waters, comprises about 120 species. Small to medium in size, and sporting bright colors, pufferfish are known to be slow swimmers or movers. But what it lacks in speed and agility, is compensated by its unique and potent natural defenses.
In addition to its pointed spines, puffers have the ability to inflate its elastic stomach with water to intimidate or escape from potential predators. Though a popular delicacy in Japan, most species of pipefish are highly poisonous. Its skin contains tetrodoxin, a potent and paralyzing poison, which is said to be up to 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide!
Chameleon – Invinsibility
If there is an award for the “Best in Costume” in the animal world, then, the chameleon is a crowd favorite. This highly specialized lizard can easily blend its appearance to its surroundings. It can easily change its color from green, yellow, orange, brown, black, blue, gold and even pink. That is what we call perfect adaptability! In so doing, chameleon seems to be invisible to its potential prey and predator.
Most of chameleons are found in sub-Saharan Africa, although some species are found in the Middle East, Europe and parts of Southeast Asia. They inhabit savannahs, rain forests and even deserts They vary in size from as small as 3.3 cm to 68.5 cm. Chameleons are expert climbers and have excellent visions, aiding them to see clearly their target. One remarkable trait chameleons have been their long, sticky tongue used in catching prey.
Sea Dragon – Natural Disguise
To potential predators, this question always arises, Is it flora or fauna? One of the animal kingdom’s most flamboyantly camouflaged creatures; sea dragons with their leaf-shaped appendages eludes predators by floating alongside leafy weeds on the ocean floor. Sea dragons are found in waters off south and east Australia feeding mostly on amphipods and larval fishes. Most sea dragons sport yellow to brown body color. On average sea dragons are about 35 – 46 cm long, thin snouts and thin tails. Like their seahorse cousins, the males carry and incubates the eggs until they hatch.
Flying Squirrel – Long Distance Glider
Sky’s the limit! Flying, yes, this is what flying squirrels really love. Though these arboreal rodents don’t really fly – they do their tree-to-tree hoping activities by gliding. These glides from tree to tree. Their amazing gliding flight has been recorded to have reached 90 meters. How do they do it? A parachute-like membrane keeps the gliding motion; the midair direction and speed are controlled by its arms and legs; and the fluffy tail serves as a stabilizer while in flight and act as landing brakes.
Flying squirrels have thick fur. Big brown eyes and a flat tail. They sport light brown upper body color and white color underneath. These nocturnal rodents feeding on seeds, flowers, tree shrubs, insects, spiders, small birds, snails and slugs.
Archerfish – Reliable Markman
We can call them, the “robin hood” of the seas. This zebra-like fish is an excellent marksman, preying on land-based insects. Archerfish has a unique way of catching its prey – shooting down its target with water droplets up to two meters away. Archerfish creates a powerful stream of water out of its mouth using its tongue and strong gills.
Also, its keen eyesight enables Archerfish to properly target its prey. If unsuccessful in several tries, it jumps out of the water to catch its prey. Archerfish is found in brackish waters of Australia and Southeast Asia. Typically, Archerfish is about 10-25 cm long, weigh around 750 g with laterally compressed bodies.
Sea Cucumber – Body Liquification
Sea cucumbers are cylinder-shaped echinoderms inhabiting the world’s ocean floors. These marine vertebrates grow to about 10-30 cm long with an elongated body with a leathery skin. Sea cucumbers have flexible bodies which they can tighten or loosen if the need arises, thus allowing them to pass to small cracks and squeeze into narrow passages.
These they do to search for foods like tiny marine animals, algae or even ocean garbage. Also, when this echinoderm senses danger or threaten, it melts – literally!. When the sea cucumber senses danger, it melts – literally. When threatened, they emit a sticky substance to trap predators or break down their bodies into pieces which can regenerate later on.
Bats – Ultrasonic Echolocation Power
Besides being the only flying mammal – bats have the distinct ability to navigate through dark caves or pitch black surroundings using ultrasonic echolocation power. By emitting sound to create an echo, then measuring the reflected sound – bats are able to calculate the precise location of potential prey. There are over a thousand known bats found in the world except the polar ice caps of Antarctic and Arctic regions.
These eco-friendly mammals are divided into two types – microbats which feed primarily on insects and megabats or the fruit bats.. Bats have fur-covered bodies and webbed-forelimbs that acts as wings. Bats range in size – from the smallest Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat that measures about 29–34 mm to the largest Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox that grows to about 336–343 mm.
Leafcutter Ant – Herculean Strength
These tiny creatures are the Mighty Hercules of the animal world. Unbelievable strength of small ants about 0.1 to 0.5 inch long to carry up to 20 times their own weight! In addition, these fungus-growing ants have powerful jaws that could tear and chew the leaves with relative ease. With 47 known extant species, Leafcutter ants are found in the tropical forests of South and Central America. Leafcutter ants, color vary from red to brown to orange to brown.
Electric Eel -High Voltage Electric Shocks
Electric eels are not true ells but are electric fish. They inhabit swamps, creeks, and rivers of South America. They have an elongated body without scales and average 2 m long and weigh 20 kg. Electric eels feed on invertebrates, paralyzing their prey using electric shocks. Also, these lethal electric shocks are used for defense against predators. So powerful are these electric shocks that it generates up to 500 volts – so that is lethal enough to kill an adult human.
Hummingbird – Backward-flying and Helicopter hover flight
So small and yet so fast – a good description of these 7.5–13 cm long hummingbirds. These nectar-sipping birds have the distinction of the being the only bird who can fly backwards. Not only that, hummingbirds can hover in midair flapping their wings so fast – up 90 times per second! Too many astonishing feats for a very small bird. How they cope up with their activities? Hummingbirds must consume nectar every 10 minutes.