X Stupid Looking Animals (With Incredible Super Powers)
Cracked.com is without a doubt the worlds leading authority on animals with powers and super senses. We’ve covered bugs with abilities that put Spider Man to shame, birds that prove Hawk Man is a wuss, fish who would murderize Aquaman and don’t even get us started about ants (boy do we know some stuff about ants). There are many extraordinary critters in the world, but not all beasties are born equal. Majestic creatures like the Golden Eagle and the Bengal Tiger are actually exceptions to the rule. Mother Natures children can’t all be Chris Hemsworths or Ryan Goslings. In truth much of the wild is filled with Nick Noltes, Danny Trejos, and the occasional Steve Buscemi. Though they are undoubtedly possessed of unearthly abilities that dwarf the puny endowments of average mortals…no one pretends they aren’t ugly. Likewise, these creatures here are the Ron Perlmans of the animal kingdom. The craggy, homely, snaggletoothed bastards that evolution has seen fit to imbue with serious kickass skills.
“We love you Ron, you big ugly cuss (please don’t hurt us).”
The Klipspringer (Ross’s part)
The African antelope known as the Klipspringer (with the scientific name of Oreotragus oreotragus, outrageously) is found on the rocky outcroppings, or kopjes, of eastern to southern Africa. Not the most visually impressive of ungulates, this stunted antelope only stands about 22 inches high at the shoulders, has ears that are actually bigger than its horns and eyes that look like it applied too much mascara prior to a prom night tragedy. Both males and females mark their territory by way of the facial stink emanating from their preorbital glands, and are one of the few truly monogamous mammals, preferring to stay in breeding pairs rather than slut-filled herds.
Herd behavior is a lot like the parties your mother used to go to in the 70s
“Klip” is Dutch for rock, and so their name translates to “rock jumper” in Afrikaans, which is highly appropriate. All hoofed animals technically walk on their toes, but only the Klipspringer minces around on the very tippy tips like some sort of French waiter. The surface diameters that their toes touch are only about the size of a dime. It’s comparable to a human ballet dancer deciding that dancing on her toes wasn’t hardcore enough, and performing pirouettes and grand jetes on her toenails.
It’s exactly this feature that allows the Klipspringer its amazing agility around the craggy surfaces that it calls home. They can jump higher than any mammal. They have the ability to spring as high as 25 feet (which is 15 times their own height), and their dainty pussyfooting style allows them to land onto surface areas no larger than a silver dollar with all four feet, presumably while laughing as pursuing leopards scrabble around like they’re wearing kitchen mitts on a mountain made of nickels.
Frustrated predators needn’t bother staking out a water hole to give their overly bouncy prey some comeuppance, as the Klipspringer has no need to drink, deriving all the water it needs from the succulents it eats. Another strange aspect of this antelope is its coarse coat, which is made up of hollow hairs that actually rustle when shaken or touched. Not that you’re likely to get close enough touch one, weirdo.
Pink Fairy Armadillo (Ross’s part)
In one of the worst cases of adding insult to injury that we’ve ever seen, we have the rather unfortunate looking Argentinean Chlamyphorus truncatus armadillo, which in addition to having been cursed with looking like an infected big toe has also been saddled with the common name, “pink fairy”. This nocturnal animal (would you come out during the day if your mother named you that?) is the smallest of all armadillos, and makes the kind we all know from the bloated carcasses on the shoulders of American southwestern freeways somehow look majestic in comparison.
An impressive feat
Why exactly evolution decided that the color pink was the best way to go for the carapace and claws is a bit of a mystery, but we do know unfortunately that this armadillo is endangered due to human destruction of its habitat, domestic dogs and possibly homophobia. They tend to be pretty sluggish when they’re wobbling around above ground, but as you may have guessed from the size of those backhoes they call front feet, it’s below ground where they really shine.
We haven’t seen nails like that since our last visit to the DMV
Those gigantic claws, combined with the peculiar formation of their carapace allow it to completely bury itself in seconds when they feel threatened. All bands of the shell across the neck and body move separately and freely, allowing it great mobility once underground where they can virtually “swim” through the dirt and sand. They use this ability to maneuver themselves next to ant colonies where they can attack the ants (their primary food source) from an unexpected direction.
Lex Luthor just got a great idea
You know how a band of lions is called a “pride” and a “murder” of crows means a flock of them? Well, as a final slap in the face to the dignity of pink fairy armadillos, a group of them is referred to as a “fez”. We’re not sure what these guys did to piss off the scientific community, but back off people, they’ve had enough. Seriously.
I already live underground and hide during the day. Why do you people keep fucking with me?
The Elephantnose fish got it’s name because of it’s stupid stupid face. And even though that ridiculous looking appendage is actually on its chin the name stuck. And besides, Megachin sounds more awesome than an aquarium dweller probably deserves anyway. But there’s more to this fish than meets the eye, which is good because the Elephantnose Fish spends most of its life in darkness, only venturing out at night to find food and host the Tonight Show.
So how does this fish maneuver and find food in the dark? You may think it uses it’s face-phallus to feel its way around, but that then would be dumb. No, this fishes mouth-schlong lets it perceive the world around it in ways that could almost make Daredevil believable as a Superhero, using the power of Electrolocation. Which is apparently like echolocation, only with electricity, and possibly magic.
It does have a wand…
The Elephantnose fish (Gnathonemus Petersii to its friends) has a special organ in its tail that it uses to generate a small electrical charge. Receptors in it’s chin-wang are able to sense the way this electrical field interacts with their surroundings. It then sweeps this jaw-dong across the sea floor like a metal detector to find its favorite food, the carcasses of delicious dead insect larvae. That’s right, it evolved an extremely elaborate and unique sensory organ to eat dead bugs. It’s no big trick to sense the electrical impulses given off by living creatures. Sharks and rays do that all the time. But the Elephantnose fish can detect things that no longer have a life force. It can identify microscopic corpses rotting in the muck by measuring their capacitative properties, i.e. their ability to store charges.
In other words it uses a ‘Sixth Sense’ to see ‘dead people’.
Studies of the Elephantnose’s abilities have also proven it’s able to identify different shapes, materials, sizes, and the volume of different objects in total darkness as well as measure distances to within a few millimeter, just by using electrolocation. They also use this Schnauzenorgan for mating, but not in the way you’re thinking (pervert). If they did, you probably would have heard of this fish by now. And Science would have given it a better name.
Gnathonemus RonJeremii perhaps.
Despite it’s amazing abilities the Axolotl would probably never make it into the Super Friends. Superman juggles speeding bullets, is more powerful than a train, and is able to leap over really tall stuff (not to mention he can fly so fast around the earth that it reverses time itself). Wonder Woman has an invisible plane, a lariat of truth, and an amazing rack. Batman grumpy and super humanly wealthy. The axolotl on the other hand doesn’t even own a single pair of spandex tights and can only list ‘recovers amazingly well from an ass kicking’ on his resume.
Look at him. He’s just begging for an ass whoopin.
Axolotls are masters of regeneration though. They can grow back lost limbs, eyes, jaws, their heart and parts of their brain. No other vertebrate has such incredible regenerative abilities. On rare occasion, they will generate two legs to replace one that they’ve lost. Why? Because screw you, leg-eater—that’s why! They also readily accept transplants from other axolotls. Basically if you had a bunch of spare axolotl parts laying around you could squish them all together and it would get up and walk away (probably). It’s mutant healing factor allows the axolotl to integrate it or regenerate it. All it needs now are a few claws, adamantium laced bones and a rugged antihero Canadian hairstyle.
“I’m the best at what I do and what I do ain’t pretty…also, I look like a frilled penis with legs.”
It is the Axolotl’s unique body part manufacturing capability and the possible implications for humans, that accord it real life superhero status though. Researchers have isolated the gene that enables cells at the site of their wound to grow into skin muscle or bone. Furthermore, some of the axolotl’s healing genes resemble those responsible for healing in humans. Further furthermore, researchers have been able to grow muscle cells in mice by implanting the mutant axolotl gene. Molecular cell biologist and geneticist, Elly Tanaka explains the implications for humans of the regenerative gene. Spoiler alert: get used to the stump.
There are over five-dozen characters with the name Iron in their name have appeared in comic books throughout the decades. From the justly famous like Irona, Richie Rich’s robotic maid (who will one day pneumatically usher him into manhood), to the obscure; Iron Hands, Iron Masks, Iron Maiden, Iron Chef and Robert Downey Jr.
But do you know what you don’t see in that list? The Scaly-foot Gastropod (Crysomallonsquamiferum). It is a tragic oversight because this diminutive beast has an amazing power. The power of IRON! And possibly love, though that’s not referenced in the sciency articles. Discovered in a hot curry vent somewhere in the Indian Ocean this super-snail employs such a revolutionary design it might change the way certain products are manufactured.
Don’t let the fact that from the side it looks like he is a visor-slot away from being the best Robo-Cop cosplayer in the animal kingdom or that from the underside he looks like your girlfriends’ sporting some new scale mail birth control (that would be AC 6, (5 with a shield) for those that hew to the old ways of AD&D).
“If you know what scale mail is then there is a good chance you don’t have a girlfriend, but trust us the resemblance is distrac..urbing.”
You can call him the Scaly-foot Gastropod or if you prefer you can use his wrestling name, ‘The Iron Snail’. He can in ways not yet determined by snailologists, metabolize iron sulfides and use them to armor his outer shell. This is a real super-power and no other living thing on Earth can do it. The shell is so tough crabs are thought to dull their claws trying to break through to get to the sweet and juicy mollusk-flesh within. Leading to much mocking in crab after-hours bars. This brainless snail at the bottom of the ocean has more success getting rid of crabs than a local fraternity does.
“Although you might want to get that rust looked at.”
The shell consists of three parts: The metal studded outer shell, a thick-spongy middle bit and then a normal calcium carbonate layer, all protecting the chewy tootsie pop-like critter in the center. When damaged the outer shell cracks in such a way that the force is radiated outward via micro-cracks and this insures that the cracks do not get any larger. The spongy middle further dissipates the force thus leaving the relatively fragile inner shell undamaged.
This ability has attracted the attention of research groups who would like to incorporate these designes into items for non-snailish users such as motorcycle helmets, pipelines and body armor. Now governments, private science labs and militaries are probably going to spend years and hundreds of dollars trying to duplicate what this snail does naturally. But why waste the time and money doing that when you could just start an Iron Snail ranch (which, hopefully, would be totally unlike Nevada’s Bunny Ranch) and grow enough of the little guys that you could just strap them to yourself. As an added bonus, if the wearer is hurt the properly-trained snails can crawl him away from danger. There is literally no downside!
We’ve mentioned before that you aren’t safe from the horrors of spiders even underwater, so it’s only fair that we point out that one of the most terrifying creatures in the sea can totally get you outside of the water.
Most of you have probably heard of flying fish at one point or another– the fish that leap out of the water and use their wing-shaped fins to glide safely away from predators. But if there was ever a sea creature that appears to have no aerodynamic capabilities whatsoever, it’s the squid. You’d have to be stupid to actually believe that one of those writhing masses of tentacles could fly, right?
Not pictured: When it latches onto your face and lays eggs in your stomach.
So if flying fish are famous, why hasn’t anyone heard of flying squid? Mainly because they are preyed upon by birds, so they are more likely to jump out of the water at night when birds (and humans) are less able to see them. Plus, at a distance, they are easy to mistake for these flying fish that everyone is raving about. Plus, unlike the flying fish, the flying squid aren’t one particular species. Because this behavior is so recently observed, we aren’t even sure how many types of squid can do it yet. That’s right, for all we know they could all fucking fly. Not only is it a super power but it’s also a goddamn secret they’ve apparently been hiding.
But when it comes to the actual flying, the squids kick the fishes asses. They can glide across the ocean’s surface for more than 150 feet at a time, and at recorded speeds that are five times faster than they can move in the water. In fact, the distance they can fly is limited only by the wind, and some scientist believe it is more similar to actual flight than gliding.
The “flying” is done to save precious energy on long migrations during mating season. So how can these tentacled monsters of the deep launch themselves up from under the ocean and into your nightmares? With a little thing called jet propulsion.
You know how it works even if you think you don’t. Next time you drink something with a straw, pull the straw out of the drink but cover the top with your tongue to keep the liquid inside and spit it all over your lover. Now laugh at them. Congratulations, you just used jet propulsion to make that work…and your single again.
Squids suck water into their body and spit it back out to move. Imagine having to pee underwater so bad that when you finally succumb to the urge, it shoots you entirely out of the water.
“Think ‘golden shower’ but as a means of propulsion.”
The flying squid is generally found in the northern Pacific (including the Russian and Alaskan coast), where it cruises the surfaces looking for drug smugglers in speedboats (citation needed). Flying squid were considered a myth until 2010 when a British tourist took high-quality photos of one off the Japanese coast. “Considered a myth”, even though National Geographic had a film of one as early as 1970, and Thor Heyerdahl, the famed Norwegian anthropologist, and one of the biggest-balled men who ever lived, reports having seen them while on his Kon-Tiki voyage. And he has no reason to lie.
How did we miss this? They’re even shaped like airplanes.
Naked Mole Rat
“Evil has a new enemy…and it looks like he stayed in the bath tub too long.”
Behold the naked mole rat of Africa in all its pink, wrinkly glory. What kind of skills could this freakish bratwurst with teeth possibly have? Well, besides it’s ability to exude a special kind of nude repulsiveness, it was recently discovered that naked mole rats don’t feel pain like the rest of us. Their skin lacks several key neurotransmitters so neither the burn of acid nor chili peppers affects them. Apparently they aren’t bothered by itches either, so we’re guessing venereal diseases aren’t really a problem. Because they live underground where fresh air is at a premium there’s a lot of carbon dioxide build up which make their environment very acidic. This grotesque rat has evolved a way to turn off the pain that every other animal on the face of the earth feels. Take note villains, the whole ‘vat of acid’ routine isn’t going to work here.
Naked mole rats also have an incredible set of chompers. They can move their top two teeth apart or together like chopsticks which they use to manipulate their environment. And because they’re burrowing animals twenty five percent of their muscles are found in their jaw alone. That’s like taking all the power of one of your legs and putting it in your face. These critters have been known to chew through solid concrete! Not wood, not hard packed dirt, fucking stone hard cement.
And to round out their skills the ‘I refuse to put on cloths’ rat is extremely long lived for a rodent and they appear to be completely immune to cancer. We say ‘appear’ because researchers have tried and failed to induce the disease in these critters. They’ve been irradiated, poisoned, dosed with every imaginable pollutant—chemotherapies, oxidative stressors, and heavy metals—with little or no effect. People in lab coats are very literally pouring lethal carcinogens down their throats right now. Science is actively working to kill these bastards and apparently it’s a losing battle.
“With great power comes great…hideousness, apparently.”