60 Times Mother Nature Proved To Be Unpredictable
40 million year old whale found in Egypt 🦴
No matter how much we learn about Mother Nature, the outside world will always remain a mystery to human beings. In some ways it's a beautiful place where animals and plants live in harmony with one another, but it can also be full of mystery and danger.
These photos span the world from the jungles of South America to the tundra of Antarctica, and each and every one of them proves that our planet is both awe inspiring and full of gruesome realities. Are you ready to discover just how terrifying and beautiful Earth can be?
Take a closer look at every photo...it might take a minute to understand what is going on and to convince your mind it's actually real...
Discovered in the Egyptian desert in 2021, these fossils belong to a 43-million-year-old prehistoric whale known as Phiomicetus anubis. Rather than simply swimming through the ocean and just opening its mouth to catch its prey, this fearsome underwater leviathan moved around on four legs and used its incredibly sharp teeth to rip its victims to pieces.
Weighing in at 1,300 pounds, the Phiomicetus anubis has been compared to a cross between a killer whale and large dog, which sounds absolutely terrifying. This isn't the first whale with legs to be found, it is believed to be the earliest semi-aquatic species found in Africa.
In 2005, a South African man, Marius Els, adopted a baby hippo after rescuing it from a river. Six years later the hippo dragged him into the same river and ate him ☠️
In 2011, one of the more bizarre animal stories occurred when a South African farmer named Marius Els was mauled by his pet hippopotamus, Humphrey. Els adopted Humphrey five years earlier after rescuing him from a quickly rising river near his home. The two became swift friends, and Els even described the animal as being "like a son."
Things took a dark turn five years after the rescue when Humphrey began acting out and attacking people on the Els farm. It's not clear what began the altercation, but the gored body of Els was discovered submerged in the same river in which he saved Humphrey.
Leopard carries the carcass of a female vervet monkey with its baby still hanging on
This truly sad image is just one aspect of one of nature's most violent hunters ripping through the jungle and taking life to further its own. The leopard isn't just being cruel for cruelty's sake with this baby monkey, it's likely using the baby as bait to bring in more tasty primates. As freaky as that sounds it's one of the ways that leopards hunt.
According to German photographer Thomas Retterath who witnessed a leopard doing this very thing it's clear how the leopard hunts, just not to other animals. He told The Daily Mail:
[The leopard] bit down just so hard that the monkey was not hurt. She took it in her mouth, as if she were transporting her own offspring. The cat apparently used the tiny one as bait in the intention that one of the adults would become careless and start a rescue operation. We watched this spectacle for 30 minutes. None of the monkeys got cocky and we left the crime scene, because we had to get to our bush flight. The cat had not killed the monkey by then.
Gators at night in Florida 🐊🐊🐊
Taken in 2022 by Bobby Wummer at Big Cypress National Preserve in April of 2022, this photo shows a horrific amount of alligators with glowing eyes waiting for a meal to wander into their watery nest. It turns out that their eyes don't glow naturally, that comes from the flash that Wummer used.
Even though it looks like there's an overwhelming amount of gators in this photo, Wummer says that there were way more of these fearsome reptiles in the water than he could capture with his phone. That may not be a comforting thought but it's fascinating to see such a large group of them floating down on the southeastern coast.
A lion's tongue is rougher than coarse sandpaper. Its lingual spines or papillae make the tongue so rough that if a lion licked the back of your hand only a few times, you would be left without any skin 🦁👅
The tongue of a lion isn't unlike the tongue of any other mammal, it's just that it's larger and much more coarse than that of your average house cat. A lion's tongue isn't just used to clean their fur, it's used to clean feathers and fur from their prey. You don't want that tongue anywhere near your face.
The closest approximation that we can think of for a lion's tongue is a coarse piece of sandpaper, but bigger. One lick from the king of the jungle would definitely draw blood. Let's not think about what would happen if they decided to clean you up.
A bald eagle pursuing a great blue heron
This shot of an eagle chasing down a bald eagle is unfortunately a very normal occurrence in the animal kingdom. Not only because eagles have no qualms about tracking down a heron, but because herons can't help but nest near their mortal enemies. According to researchers, herons on the southwest coast of British Columbia are known for specifically building their nests near eagles - which is the worst place they could nest.
Why do herons build so near to their natural predators? It's simple, by nesting near pairs of eagles herons ensure that they'll be safe from other predators even if it means losing a few of their young. It's a tough trade off but it makes sure that the species persists.
Massive Anaconda underwater. The heaviest snakes in the world, they partially use the water to support their weight 🐍
This giant snake may seem like something out of a horror movie, but it's very very real. These giant anacondas (yes, there's more than one of them out there) live in the muddy waters of South America, but divers can get a good look at them in the clear waters of the Formosa River in Brazil.
Professional shark diver Bartolomeo Bove has come face to face with a 23 foot anaconda weighing about 200 pounds and found that it wasn't really interested in him beyond their initial meeting. He told The Dodo:
The anaconda swims calm and peaceful, completely indifferent to our presence. Sometimes she comes closer, curious about my camera, licking the lens. The behavior of the anaconda debunks the myth that it is an aggressive and violent creature that can endanger people's lives.
Last thing a fish sees in Antarctica
We often think of penguins as the docile, aloof tuxedo wearing birds of the animal kingdom, but they can be ferocious when need be. These unique birds may be flightless and somewhat awkward, but every single one of them is a fearsome predator. Their diet consists of fish, krill, and small squid, and they go about capturing their prey in a variety of ways.
In some cases penguins swim deftly through the water, silently snapping up their prey, but as you can see from this photo they can also get ferocious on land. When it comes down to it penguins will do whatever they have to go get their prey, often traveling in large groups to make sure they stay fed on the Arctic tundra.
The bird known as an “Australian Firehawk” hunts for prey fleeing wildfires and has been known to pick up burning branches and carry them to dry brush to start more fires 🔥🔥🔥
This may look like a perfectly timed photo of a bird standing in front of a fire, but it's actually a shot of a rare bird arsonist - the Australian Firehawk. These creatures are known for using fire to flush out their prey, something that's all too human.
Mark Bonta, assistant teaching professor of earth sciences at Penn State Altoona explains that this isn't as strange as it sounds:
In the Western mind fire is the one thing animals don’t have. Fire is what made us human. We take for granted ignition and the ability to burn. There’s a lot to be said for what fire did for us—incredible weapons, firearms, being able to set fires. Fire is what gave us power over other animals... There’s loads to find out. We just learned in 2016 that birds’ neurons are packed differently. They’re way smarter than we thought. We’re just beginning to understand avian memory. Crows’ problem-solving ability is amazing. There are a lot of tool-using behaviors.
A hippo, crocodile and a wildebeest locked in a brawl for supremacy
This perfectly timed photo taken at the Kruger National Park in South Africa shows the true brutality of nature. According to onlookers this battle broke out when the alligator snuck up on the wildebeest and snagged its back legs in its immense jaws. The wildebeest would have been toast had it not been for a pair of hippos who emerged from the water to come to its rescue.
The wildebeest survived the battle, but animal experts worry that the animal isn't long for this world following the attack. Doug McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Live Science:
It sort of dodged one bullet but is unlikely to miss the next one from terrestrial predators — lions, hyenas, that sort of thing — unless it's somehow able to shake off that injury to that hind leg, which looks like it's quite severe.
Heron likes a bit of crocodilian dinner
When we think about the ongoing fight between alligators and birds we often assume that the alligators are the aggressors, not in this case. In 2020, a photographer in Florida snapped some truly wild shots of a heron chomping down on an alligator just north of Orlando. Shellie Gilliam says that she was birdwatching on the shore of Lake Apopka when the heron swooped in and snatched up the reptile.
A heron's diet is all over the place, they eat bugs, rodents, fish, and even other birds, so it's not out of the question that they'd enjoy an alligator or two if they can get their beak around it. According to the Audubon Society, herons wait on the shoreline until they see a prey that they can snatch up, and then it's lights out for whatever they're hunting.
If a lake with alligators freezes during the winter, alligators will stick their heads or just their noses above the water line and wait for the lake to thaw
To college-aged humans in the western world, getting iced has a very different meaning than it does to alligators across the globe. For these cold-blooded creatures, "icing" refers to the method that they use to survive in freezing winter temperatures.
For mammals, it's called hibernation, but for reptiles it's called brumation, essentially the lowering of an animals metabolic rate to sustain themselves during the most harsh periods of winter. As long as the water in which the alligators lie remains liquid the alligators are perfectly fine, and because their snouts are made of pure cartilage they don't feel any pain during the process.
Tiger vs Sloth Bear
This brutal shot of a tiger and a sloth bear going at it is a reminder to us all of how brutal the animal kingdom can be. Witnessed by Akshay Kumar, the chief naturalist at Bamboo Forest Safari Lodge in Maharashtra, the fight started over the sloth bear trying to steal away the tiger's cub, a major no-no. Both animals were injured in the fight but the bear's thick fur kept it from taking on too much damage. Kumar told NDTV:
The tiger attacked the bear more than five minutes. It went after the sloth bear but she kept charging in order to protect her cub. It went on for 15 minutes. The tiger was roaring. It was a severe fight.
The Cork-Lid Trapdoor Spider. If You See What Looks Like An Ancient Coin Buried In Sand, Leave It Alone
When photographer Nicky Bay originally posted his photos of this Cyclocosmia, a genus of cork-lid trapdoor spider, online it started a whirlwind of misinformation. The idea of a venomous spider that tricks humans with a fancy coin on its back is an interesting concept, but it's not totally true.
While the cork-lid trapdoor spider is venomous, it doesn't pose much of a risk to humans. This spider would prefer to hide from humans than attack them head to head. These arachnids have been known to bite humans, but the effect is insignificant when compared to the bites of other, more venomous spiders.
An American alligator does its part to help curb the invasive population of Burmese pythons in Florida 🐊
They may be called Burmese pythons but they're alive and well in Southern Florida. As freaky as these giant snakes are they've got nothing on American alligator, an apex predator who's always jonesing for a fight. Burmese pythons were first brought to Florida in the '70s and '80s when they were brought into the area as exotic pets.
Now, the snakes which can grow up to 20 feet in length regularly do battle but there's no way to pick out a clear winner - unless one of them is a juvenile. Ian Bartoszek, a wildlife biologist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, explained the permanent battle to Newsweek:
When both species are young they are more vulnerable to predation, so a hatchling python would be no match for a juvenile alligator and vice versa. We have radio-tracked both hatchling and adult pythons to the bellies of American alligators, but we don't have reliable data on how often predation occurs from the perspective of both species. In the winter months, adult pythons tend to be more interested in mating behaviors and don't feed as often. But otherwise, alligator is on the menu when they have an opportunistic encounter.
This is not photoshop...take a closer look, and you will see a Muddy tiger
Tigers are easily one of the most recognizable felines in the animal kingdom thanks to their distinctive orange, black, and white pattern. Even though humans can see them perfectly well in the jungle (a famously green area), their prey can't say the same thing.
Tigers hunt dichromats, or animals with only two functioning color receptors in their eyes which makes them red-green blind, thus keeping them from being able to see the difference between green and reddish tones. That means that a tiger running through the jungle is impossible to distinguish from a great big pile of leaves. For everyone who can distinguish between reddish-green hues and everything else, seeing a tiger in the wild isn't all that hard. Unless they happen to camouflage themselves in mud.
The Hero Shrew had the strongest backbone of any mammal. The shrew weighs 0.25 pounds, yet its back can support up to 150 pounds, giving it the highest body to weight lifting ratio
Shrews are weird regardless of type, but the Hero Shrew is a truly strange creature. This little furry animal has a thick, interlocking vertebrae that's stronger than any other vertebrate. If you wanted you could stand on the back of one of these shrews and they would be able to handle the pressure, but don't do that.
It's believed that these shrews have such strong spines thanks to "punctuated equilibrium," where a species stays unchanged for lengthy evolutionary periods before multiple fast changes lead it to become a new form, or branch it off into a new type of animal.
An orange-colored alligator in South Carolina. It likely overwintered in a rusty culvert and was dyed by the iron oxide in the water around its body. It will lose coloration once it molts 🐊
When orange alligators started popping up across the American southeast in 2011 folks started to wonder if these predators were on the verge of a natural evolution. As cool as that sounds it's not the case. So what's the culprit behind these Crayola colored creatures? Iron Oxide.
Florida Fish and Wildlife official Gary Morse told WWSB-TV:
The official opinion from our alligator experts is that this is alligator is not naturally orange. We believe it's orange from paint, stain, iron oxide or some other element in the environment that has left a coating on the animal, making it appear orange.
Wolf showing off its teeth 🐺
We often think of wolves as working together as a family, or maybe a hive mind, but they do deal with inner turmoil when it comes to group dynamics. The leader of the pack may not be challenged on a daily basis, but if there are too many wolves in the group things can get dicey.
Lee Spector, Professor of Computer Science at Hampshire College explained why a wolf pack might break out in chaos:
If a pack is too big, all hell breaks loose. The dynamics are chaotic, in the mathematical sense of chaos theory, and if you go above a certain number of wolves the prey can escape. That could explain why you don't see wolf packs above a fairly small number. When looking at animal behavior, you want to explain why it is the way it is. Computational and mathematical models provide new ways to explore candidate explanations.
This shark that had a lobotomy done by a stingray
It's brutal out there, and by out there we mean the ocean off the coast of Mexico. In March 2021 a group of fishermen in Cabo discovered this small Mako shark on the beach with a stingray barb jutting out of its head. While Makos and stingrays aren't natural enemies, it's believed that this violent outburst end was caused by a spur of the moment battle over a common prey.
Patrick Jambura from the University of Vienna surmised:
It either happened in the heat of the moment, when both species were hunting on the same prey resource (schooling fish or squid) or it might have been even a direct attack to get rid of a competitor.
A tiger with a snow-strewn face 🐯❄️
Up until the late 2010s researchers didn't think that Indian tigers lived in the snow, they assumed that was simply for tigers that hail from Sibera. It turns out that out of the massive amount of Indian tigers (they comprise over two thirds of tigers on the planet) many of them live on the north-eastern tip of India in Arunachal Pradesh, an extreme mountainous area.
Its now believed that the tigers have been thriving in the area since the early 1900s, although it's likely that the tigers have been patrolling the mountains for longer than a hundred years. Tigers can occupy a variety of territory in wide-ranging areas, so it's really not a surprise that they'd be found anywhere you look. That's actually pretty terrifying.
Anyone denying the existence of dinosaurs never saw an emu foot up close 🦖
Let's face it, emus are terrifying. Not only are they bigger than any bird should be, but their claws are as close to weapons of mass destruction as you can get in the animal kingdom. The distant relatives of emus are dinosaurs known as Anzu wyliei. This dinosaur has about 500 pounds on the emu and it stretches out to nearly 11 feet, but the similarities are impossible to ignore.
While speaking with NPR, Matt Lamanna, the top dinosaur scientist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, said of the emu's dino ancestor:
If you were to take a time machine back to the end of the age of dinosaurs and encountered this animal, your first thought would probably be, 'What a big, weird looking bird.' I actually think 'chicken from hell' is a pretty good nickname for this thing.
A snapping turtle grabs hold of a duck's foot while it was swimming on the surface of a pond and then drags it down to the depths 🐢
Well this is just brutal. This screenshot of a turtle dragging a duck underwater is a part of a video that shows just how gruesome Mother Nature can be, especially in the relationship between predator and prey. The animal attack occurred in the San Marcos River, deep in the heart of Texas, and was captured for the 2014 documentary Yakona, a film about wildlife in the area.
We often think of turtles as kindly old animals that move at a snail's pace, but underwater it's an entirely different story. When a turtle is beneath the surface of the water they can move swiftly to take out their prey, especially when it offers zero resistance underwater.
A tropical typhoon hit this lagoon
This photo shows the nightmarish power of a storm when it hits without warning. In 2021, a typhoon blasted the Philippines with record winds and rain, leaving some 300,000 displaced on an island with no infrastructure to take care of them. Sadly, this kind of thing isn't unique in the eastern hemisphere. Even though people who live in the area recognize that they'll be hit regularly with a typhoon they can never really be ready for the pure destruction.
Dennis Datu, a correspondent for ABS-CBN said of the aftermath of the typhoon:
We are seeing people walking in the streets, many of them shell-shocked. All buildings sustained heavy damage, including the provincial disaster office. It looks like it’s been hit by a bomb.
So a bull moose attacked my parents’ window after mistaking his reflection for a rival…
Moose attacks are no joke and this photo proves it. These massive animals have been known to be downright aggressive with everything from dogs, to other large animals, and especially any other moose that they come across - even if it's their reflection.
Standing at more than seven feet and weighing upwards of 1,400 pounds, these big boys are hard to stop once they set their sights on you. It's not just that these animals are wild, they're also so aggressive that when they start attacking it can feel like it's more out of spite than just being territorial. If you're out in the wild and you see a big ol' moose, run.
A bearded vulture consuming a bone, it being the only animal known to get most nutrition from bone marrow
The bearded vulture, or Gypaetus barbatus, is a terrifying bird that stalks the mountains of Eurasia and Africa, specifically in areas with low environmental temperatures. Rather than stick with a meat-protein based diet, these feathered creatures primarily feast on the remains of carcasses.
Bones don't have much nutritional content, but that just means that bearded vultures have to eat a TON of bone matter to have a diet that's comparable to an animal with a meat-based diet. For instance, for every 100 grams of bone ingested, a bearded vulture absorbs about 387 kg go protein due to the high fat content of bones.
A diver comes across an alligator in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Florida resting at a depth of 60 feet
How often do alligators roll up on innocent bystanders off the coast of Florida? Fairly often it seems. In 2022, a nearly 12-foot alligator floated right up to a paddle boarder in Silver Springs State Park and nearly tipped her over. It's believed that people were feeding the alligator, leading it to see people less as predatory curiosities and more as food machines.
In March of the same year the alligator was taken out by local hunters after receiving authorization from the wildlife agency. Local resident Brady Toensing told CBS News:
It is an amazing animal. It was sad, but these guys are just doing their jobs. This alligator's fate was set when people decided to start feeding it.
Beached compass jellyfish with a fish prey trapped inside of it
This bit of nightmare fuel shows just how dangerous the animal kingdom can be. Compass jellyfish feast on small fish, crabs, and other jellyfish, but they can also sting anyone and anything that gets in their way. This image of a fish absorbed into a jellyfish's dome shows just how gnarly life can be in the middle of the ocean.
British readers are most likely to see something like this off the Southern and Western coasts of England in the summer, but you'd have to be pretty lucky to see a once in a lifetime jellyfish death dome like this.
Yacare caiman who is about feast on another one
When incomes to cold blooded scaly creatures there are some that we can abide by, alligators and crocodiles are somewhat common in this day and age, but the Yacare Caiman is entirely different type of beast (pardon the pun). These almost-dinosaurs can be found across South America, hiding in vegetation heavy bogs throughout Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
They don't often eat their brothers and sisters, but in a pinch they'll feast on whatever's closest and no one is going to stop them, More often than not these creatures dine on fish, snakes, and snails found in the region, but with those teeth they can order anything they want off the menu.
An extremely toxic Dofleinia Armata, the injuries resulting from contact with this species are considered very painful and can take several months to heal, washed ashore near Broome, Western Australia
This beautiful but deadly striped anemone is often found at the foreshore of beach areas in Western Australia as well as in the Philippines. Even though they look beautiful they can cause extreme pain with a single touch. Their tentacles house large nematocysts, or explosive cells that deliver gruesome stings to their victims.
More often than not humans who end up on the business end of a Dofleinia Armata's nematocysts do so on accident, either by stepping on the creature or just getting in too close of contact. So if you're planning a trip to the southeastern hemisphere anytime soon remember to keep your eyes open and limbs to yourself.
World's worst crocodile 🐊
There are plenty of stories of crocodiles demolishing a zebra for lunch and going back for seconds, but it's rare to see a zebra holding its own against one of these apex predators. Zebras are herbivores who primarily feast on grass and whatever other plants they can find, but when backed into a corner these peaceful animals will fight for their lives.
While not a natural predator, zebras are equipped with stellar eyesight and hearing, and they hit 35 miles per hour off the line. When it comes to close quarters combat zebras have been known to kick out with their legs to do some serious damage. More often than not the lead zebra of a pack will call out if they find themselves in danger, making sure that its family gets away to safety. In the case of this photo, it looks as if the leader of the pack was ready to teach this crocodile a lesson about reading between the lines.
Donner Summit, California. Interstate 80 is closed 15 miles to either side of me after 6 inches of rain immediately followed by 25 inches of snow
This photo shows similar conditions to those that were faced by the Donner Party in 1846. This group of westward traveling pioneers traveled via wagon train from the Midwest and found themselves snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountain range during the winter of 1846.
The large amount of snow in this photo gives you an idea of what the Donner Party had to endure, but there were no modern amenities to keep them warm and entertained. The group had a terrible ending, with only 48 members of the original 87 surviving the winter. Those who survived never forgot the horrible fate that the rest of their party served, and the Donner Memorial State Park was erected in 1927 to commemorate their harrowing final days.
The Ganges River Dolphin lives in extremely murky water. And thus has tiny, essentially useless eyes
Essentially blind, the Ganges river dolphin lives in the freshwater rivers of the Eastern Himalayas, hunting with ultrasonic sounds that bounce off of their prey and allow them to create a stereo image. Initially discovered in 1801, these dolphins are nearly extinct from their original hunting grounds in the river systems of Nepal, India.
The small population of these dolphins is due to both hunting as well as the fact that females only give birth to one calf every two or three years. These incredibly old creatures can grow up to nine feet in length and weigh up to 374 pounds. The dolphin in this photo is obviously closer to a calf than a full grown creature.
Is it an alien? No... it's a Dutch Lobster Moth Caterpillar
The phrase "lobster moth caterpillar" may sound like the worst Pictionary suggestion known to man, but it's actually a legitimate reference to the appearance of the lobster prominent. Discovered by Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae back in the 18th century, this fascinating creature grows into a very fuzzy little moth.
Found in the Palearctic realm, or the northern half of the eastern hemisphere, these caterpillars act more like ants and spiders than they do anything else. When growing, they eat their own shells and take on the bright red color of a lobster as long, thin legs and claspers grow from its body. Once the larvae weaves itself into a sturdy cocoon it remains in place from May until July before emerging in a completely new form.
A monitor lizard in India bringing the dinosaur vibes
Monitor lizards are some of the strangest reptiles in the animal kingdom, with not only a look but abilities that make them extremely similar to dinosaurs. Aside from their reptilian physical features, the thing that makes monitor lizards so dinosaur-like is their breathing.
In 2013, it was discovered that monitor lizards breathe with what's referred to as "one-way airflow," an ability that helps animals extract higher levels of oxygen out of the air. First discovered in birds, this ability is believed to have evolved about 270 million years ago in cold-blooded diapsids, making monitor lizards eerily similar to they prehistoric relatives.
A Orange Cave Dwarf Crocodile in Gabon compared to an ordinary Dwarf Crocodile, some feel that they are evolving into a new species
These two dwarf crocodiles may look like they're only cosmetically different, but the orange dwarf crocodile has a unique DNA strain that may make for a fascinating change in the evolutionary chain.
Discovered in 2008 and confirmed in 2010, these orange dwarf crocodiles have a different hue from their brethren due to the high acidity in their water supply thanks to a large deposit of bat guano. Researchers in the area performed DNA testing on the orange and standard cave dwarf crocodiles and discovered that the orange dwarfs are passing a unique haplotype to their young, which may indicate and evolutionary change.
Caiman with an unusual tail
This Caiman with a weird little tail isn't a freak of nature or anything, it's actually exercising its ability to regrow a limb as a juvenile. You may know that small lizards like geckos can regrow their limbs, but we don't often think of caimans and alligators as having that same ability. Alligators get so large that regrowing a tail isn't simple, at least not for a full grown adult.
Juvenile alligators are able to regrow their tails up to nine inches, which is about 18 percent of their full body length, but with some caveats. Cindy Xu, a biologist who studied reptiles at Arizona State University explained:
But what really surprised us about the alligator was that there was no regrowth of skeletal muscle. he regrowth of tissue is very energetically expensive. If you’re putting all of your energy into regrowing a structure perfectly, you’re deviating energy away from other more essential processes such as developmental growth.
Catfish eating armadillo
If you're shouting, "What!?" at your monitor you're not alone. This insane visual of a catfish eating an armadillo isn't normal, but it's not as crazy as you might think. While catfish don't jump out of water trying to snatch up their prey, they do have large appetites.
So how does something like this happen? Catfish munch on whatever drops to the bottom of their territory (ponds, lakes, etc) so it's likely that the armadillo either fell into this catfish's pond and drowned, or it died and fell into the pond directly afterwards. Although we're leaning towards the former because armadillos basically turn into bullet proof skeletons when they die.
Centipede which was eaten by a snake buries its way out, total legend
This gruesome photo proves that in the animal kingdom you may be down but you're not out. It's not out of the question for a viper like the one in the photo to eat a centipede, but they tend to prefer small mammals and lizards. It looks like the insect that was eaten in a pinch put up more of a fight than the snake expected.
In general, this invertebrate is extremely tough: It is very hard to kill a full-grown Scolopendra. Therefore, we cannot dismiss the possibility that the snake had swallowed the centipede alive, and that, paradoxically, the prey has eaten its way through the snake, almost reaching its freedom.
Gliding tree frog ran itself through on a palm thorn
Raby Núñez E, a Cosa Rican photographer and a naturalist guide, captured this insane shot of a gliding leaf frog accidentally impaling itself on the spine of a palm tree. Even though this one of a kind shot looks to have captured the moment of the frog's demise, it actually survived the ordeal. Núñez E. explained to Newsweek:
I took this photo here in Sierpe, we are surrounded by nature. We have a lagoon that fills up with rain water and the frogs reproduce and lay their eggs on the vegetation around it. This species is known for its gliding skills. They jump from the treetops and glide to the nearby vegetation around the lagoon. These frogs reproduce in what we call explosive reproduction, thousands of them gather the same night and day to lay eggs. There are far less females than males, so competition is very extreme. So during this event at least two or three frogs got impaled in the spines of the palm tree.
Horsefly landed on a fellow's arm to have a bite, dragon fly landed and had it for lunch instead
Well this is pretty gross. Even though we know that dragonflies have to eat other insects to survive, it's absolutely wild to see it in person. Dragonflies have to eat 10 to 15 percent of their bodyweight a day, and their diets mostly consist of flies and mosquitos, so it's not wild that they would hunt their prey down to feast.
Imagine seeing a dragonfly go to town on its meal right in front of you, it's not the worst thing we can imagine but it must be pretty awful to watch. Or maybe it's amazing? The only way to figure it out is to round up a dragonfly and watch it eat the fly right in front of us. Or go to YouTube, whichever's easier.
Remember to lock up your eggs... 🥚🥚🥚
This horrifying image comes to us from Reddit user u/Rezenebe who walked into their pantry one morning to discover a snake going to town on their duck eggs. Snakes have a great sense of smell to make up for their limited eyesight. Once they hone in on something they want they don't stop until they get it.
The person behind this bit of nightmare fuel later explained how he thinks the snake made its way into the pantry:
We renovated this bathroom into a pantry and there are still holes in the sheetrock from the sink plumbing. The snakes came through the crawlspace, into the wall, and up into the pantry. One snake had already eaten an egg and the other looked like it was trying to mate.
Watch out when re-nesting birds...
Often when humans think that they're doing something kind to an animal it can feel nice but often leads to disastrous results for the animal. Case in point, this photo of a snake that chowed down on a renested bird. It's easy to think that you're doing something good even if you're either disrupting the ecosystem or creating a kind of bodega that a predator can slip in and out of like a hungry customer.
When this image was posted to Reddit viewers were understandably shocked, not only by the actions of the snake but by the poster's surprise that something like this could happen. They didn't do anything wrong by attempting to save a bird (it's what we would have done), but sometimes the harsh nature of the animal kingdom wins the day.
Inside every armadillo is a skeleton that looks like two armadillos… uh… making more armadillos
Armadillos are strange, but fascinating members of the animal kingdom that are marvels of evolution. Look no further than their skeletons for proof that generations of growth has aided these little guys in their ability to survive in hostile climates around vicious predators. While their skeletons look like two armadillos on top of one another, the top skeleton is actually a carapace, or a collection of thousands of small bones.
The carapace grows beneath the skin of the armadillo but it doesn't fuse to the bones on the animal's skeleton. That makes the animal different from a turtle, which has a shell that's totally fused to its bones and ribs.
Kelp in the ocean waves
This may look like a sea monster ravaging the ocean waves but it's nothing more than kelp, massive amounts of disgusting kelp filling the water as people attempt to swim. According to studies performed in 2012 and 2016, areas with a large amount of kelp are also areas with an abundance of waves. The less waves, the less kelp.
The correlation between large amounts of waves and masses of kelp comes from the amount of sea vegetation that's exposed by the deep penetration in the ocean floor from the waves. In more shallow areas waves don't dredge up as much kelp in as high of a density.
Male grasshopper mates with a female while she cannibalizes a third
This incredibly strange scene may look like something out of a horror movie, but in reality it's just nature in progress. Really gross progress, but progress none the less.
Back in 1858, The Gonzales Inquirer from Texas noticed that grasshoppers were eating each other after devouring local vegetation and it understandably freaked out the locals. An article noted:
The grasshoppers, having about completed the work of destruction to vegetation, have, cannibal-like, fallen to work devouring each other ; at least, they seem to be dying off very fast, and wherever there is a dead one there are half-a-dozen live ones around it, eating it up.
Mama's Watching - Polar bear with her cub
Is this shot of a polar bear and her cub cute or terrifying? That really depends on whether or not you're seeing the image in person or online. This really isn't the kind of scene you want to bump into, mother polar bears are incredibly protective, so much so that they rarely let them out of their sight, and will go toe to toe (or paw to paw) with male bears if they sense a threat.
Mother polar bears are so protective of their cubs that they'll watch over their deceased children even if there's a threat in the area. That should tell you all you need to know about approaching a polar bear around her child, doing so will put you on the business end of a mighty big set of claws.
One tree keeping the rootless tree alive!
It's genuinely surprising to see a a tree kept alive by another tree, especially when both organisms are fighting for the same nutrients. It's believed that this kind of organic buddy system occurs when a stump grafts itself to the roots of ta neighboring tree before it completely dies, ensuring that it survives in one way or the other.
Ray Callaway, an ecologist at the University of Montana, said of this amazing discovery:
This is good evidence that a lot of individual organisms that we perceive of as working in a competitive manner actually interact in a far more complicated dance.
Prehistoric Parasite attempting to escape from its host as it is drowning in Amber
This somewhat alien-looking creature is more than just a parasite with bad timing, it's a key piece of research that allows us to see into the past. No, it's not a time machine, but artifacts like this hold the key to understanding the past through scientific detective work.
More than just fascinating curiosities, prehistoric parasites found trapped in amber offer scientists and researchers a chance to study ancient versions of insects to better understand how they evolved. For instance, in 2017, paleontologists discovered a new-old parasite that they named Deinocroton draculi or “Dracula’s terrible tick” after it was found attached to an ancient feather in a piece of hardened tree resin.
Seal snacking on a sunfish
That's got to hurt. Snapped by photographer Ralph Pace off the coast of San Diego, his set of photos (of which this is the most harrowing) shows just how predatory a seal can be. We often think of seals as being the goofballs of the ocean, but in reality they pose a huge threat to any fish that they see as food.
While speaking with Earth Touch News Pace notes that he was drawn to the seal when he saw pure aquatic violence while he was prepping his camera:
We saw the sea lion thrashing around and as we got closer we saw the fins. As we slipped into the water, we were sure to stay back and observe from a distance, but as we watched this epic event unfold, the sea lion became more and more comfortable with us and seemed to actually bring the mola closer.
Skink showing a human who's boss
Ouch. Kind of. This angry little guy is a skink, one over 1200 members of the Scincidae family that live underground on pretty much every continent on the planet. Measuring in at a whopping eight inches max, these little guys may look vicious but they're fairly mild mannered.
So how painful is it when a skink chomps down on your finger? It's not a walk in the park with an ice cream cone or anything, but it doesn't really hurt. Sinks may look like a nasty little lizard but they're not venomous, and they don't even go all in for attacking a person. We're not saying that you should let skinks run all over your body, but it wouldn't be the worst thing that ever happened.
Small tick draining a big tick, yikes 🩸
This image of tick on tick violence may looks like a nightmarish one-off, but it's actually a fairly common occurrence in the animal kingdom. Not only do ticks often feed off of other ticks, but these hungry little guys rarely bother to track down another type of prey. It's called working smart not hard.
The behavior on display in this photo is known as hyperparasitism, the actions of a parasite who disregards a hot animal in favor of draining another parasite who's already done the work. This is most common in soft ticks, and male hard ticks who feed off of female hard ticks.
Sperm whale carcass with squid battle scars, on an English beach
Thinking about the aquatic violence perpetrated by giant underwater creatures isn't necessarily the first thing anyone thinks of in the morning, but this terrifying photo shows just how dangerous life is beneath the waves - even for one of the most revered animals on the planet. It's not clear if the whale in the picture died from its squid injuries or if it passed away through different means, but either way this big guy has been led an intense life.
In 2021, a sperm whale washed up on the shores of Australia with similar battle scars from going head to head with a squid. This phenomenon, while upsetting, actually helps researchers discover new information about whale biology.
Steller Sea Lions can get absolutely massive. They can reach just over 10 feet in length and weigh well over 2000 lbs.
No, this isn't Photoshop trickery, these sea lions really are as a big as a boat. Males can grow to nearly 10 feet in length, and average out at about 1,199 pounds. Their size and weight puts them in the upper level of carnivores, but they can still fall prey to killer whales and great white sharks if they're not careful.
One predator that poses no threat to the Steller Sea Lion? Fishing boats. In December 2019, two of these big guys took up real estate on a small boat, essentially drowning it in the waters of the Eld Inlet in Olympia, Washington. Josh Phillips, a local who caught the whole thing told Popular Mechanics:
As we got closer, we noticed it was not sinking but instead there were two very large Steller sea lions on board.
Prehistoric spider-like arachnid found preserved in amber
This may look like something from a horror movie, but it's actually nature at its most fascinating. What we have here is an ancient spider that looks more like a scorpion than we'd like held in amber and it looks incredibly similar to the Lagonomegopidae spiders that were most prevalent in the Carboniferous period, many of which have been discovered in tree resin, completely pregnant and ready to hatch.
An article on a Burmese spider fossilized in amber in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences reads:
[This photo] shows a female lagonomegopid spider clutching an egg sac containing eggs about to hatch. This is exactly how a living female spider which is nestled in a crevice in tree bark would look.
The famous hyena who’s legs were paralyzed 9 months ago from a lion attack, is still alive and thriving, even becoming a dominant member of it’s clan
Hyenas are terrifying, not just because they're dog monsters that would fight a tornado if they thought they could eat it, but because they're like the T-800s of the animal kingdom. This hyena had its legs paralyzed in a lion attack and it only took less than a year for the animal to prove its dominance.
Cathan Moore, a wildlife photographer, who saw a similarly handicapped hyena in Kruger National Park in South Africa described the scene to Newsweek and she was blown away:
At first glance I was honestly stunned, and felt heartbroken for the hyena who looked in a dismal state. It took me a couple seconds to comprehend what was happening in-front of me but I soon came to the realization that despite his handicap, was in perfect condition and that I should be feeling proud for this animal as he has seemed to overcome extreme adversity.
The Greater Short-Horned Lizard is known for shooting blood out of its eye-sockets at high speed as a defense mechanism when threatened 🩸
From the deserts of Guatemala to the wilds of Mexico and the western parts of the United States the horned lizard can be found rushing to and fro, avoiding coyotes, snakes, and hawks. Rather than simply bury themselves in the ground or hide in the scrub these lizards have developed a unique way of defending themselves against predators - the ol' blood eye.
Horned lizards who find themselves back into a corner by a predator they'll literally shoot blood out of their eye sockets. While this blood doesn't inflict pain on a predator it's usually wild enough to freak them out and give the lizard enough time to escape.
Tigers general appear orange to humans because most people are trichomas, however, to deer and boar, among the tiger's common prey, the orange color of a tiger appears green due to the fact that ungulates are dichromats
Tigers are some of the most fearsome predators in the animal kingdom, not only because of their large size but because of the way they use their natural camouflage to hunt their prey. Rather than stick out in the jungle with their extravagant orange, black, and white pattern, tigers actually blend into their surroundings.
Not only do tigers meld into their surroundings to hide from humans, they're rendered practically invisible to animals like boars and deer because those animals are what is known as dichromats. They only have two functioning color receptors which makes it impossible for them to decipher between green and red-orange tones, which is really not a problem you want to have when you're in the jungle.
Wasp tried to eat a living Mussel, got Killed instead...
We don't often think of insects and mollusks going head to head in battle, but this photo is proof that truth is stranger than fiction. It looks as if the wasp in the photo attempted to sting the mussel only to wind up on the business end of the creature, but is this really how mussels defend themselves?
Mussels and other mollusks can't escape their predators, but they can defend themselves when they feel threatened. According to a study by Anna Dzierżyńska-Białończyk and a group of researchers, a variety of sensations can lead to a mussel clamming up, and in this case crushing a predator in its shell.
A Hawk finishing off a snake, while winking with its transparent membrane 🐍
This truly gruesome shot of nature in action shows the reality of the animal kingdom and it is brutal with a capital B. Hawks and snakes are mortal enemies, but more often than not hawks have a distinct advantage over their prey because they can watch from the skies.
While snakes are able to avoid, attack, and take out many of animals, they can't completely protect themselves from hawks that dive-bomb out of the sky to snag a tasty meal. When a hawk grabs the snake with its claws it's game over for the snake, especially if it's caught off guard. The most a snake in the grasp of a hawk can wish for is a quick end.