Look Closer... Jarring Photos From Nature Captured More Than Expected
Grizzly bears can weigh 1,500 pounds and their bite will easily break a bowling ball 🎳
We often take the power of Mother Nature for granted even though its majesty is all around us. If you look closer you'll see that even your back garden can be full of mystery and unexpected phenomenon. Nature has the ability to give and take, whether it's happening on the ocean, in the sky, or in your garden.
These rare images show the reality of nature in a way that's never been seen. From the chilling power of the Antarctic to the destructive beauty of the ocean these photos will send chills down your spine even as you learn a thing or two.
Some of these photos may be too much to handle even for adults. However, everything you're about to see is untouched and real. It happens every day... are you ready to see for yourself?
It's not shocking to state that grizzly bears are some of the freakiest animals on the planet. No matter how cuddly they look - and they look incredibly cuddly - they're not to be snuggled upon any circumstances. It's not that they're mean or that they have a taste for human flesh, they just like to have their own space.
Bears are like people, they like to have their own space. Once something or someone gets into its space they either run away from whatever the problem is or they attack. Grizzly bears would rather run away from someone in their space than attack but there have been enough reports of grizzly bears mauling someone that should tell you if you see one that you need to get out of the way.
A baby elephant stuck in a manhole
This horrific photo of a baby elephant fighting for its life in a manhole is so excruciating to look at that it's hard to pry your eyes away from it. The pain in this creature's eyes is on full display. Whether you're an animal love or not it's hard to imagine seeing something like this in person.
This freak accident occurred in Thailand in 2009 when a baby elephant fell through the narrow manhole of a drainage ditch. Onlookers watched on helplessly as the elephant did its best to free itself, thankfully help finally arrived in the form of a team of rescuers who used a bulldozer to dig out the sides of the manhole and lift the baby elephant to safety.
Welcome to Thunder Dome... A barn funnel weaver lies in wait inside his perfectly crafted web for his food to arrive 🕷🕸
Nothing says pure nightmare fuel like the web of a Barn Funnel Weaver spider. If you're afraid of spiders you may want to skip ahead, because these eight-legged freaks can be found pretty much anywhere across the United States. They take up residence under rocks, in trees, and as their name suggests in barns.
These spooky spiders can live up to seven years, which is a long time in the insect kingdom. Similar to grass spiders, these creatures tend to hang out in their webs. During the mating season in the summer you're likely to find two of these bad boys hanging out together, possibly with web sacks surrounding the area.
Here's the good news: Barn Spiders rarely bite humans. In fact, they're shy creatures that would rather avoid you altogether. However, if you do suffer a bite by one of these spiders it should bring on anything other than a little swelling. Still, keep a look out the next time you're crawling through an old barn.
In the past, Beluga whales have often been mistaken for mermaids because of their human-like knees
This viral image of a Beluga whale showing off its "knees" that are supposedly hidden beneath its thick blubber is actually a shot of one of the more important aspects of a whale. What's on display in this photo is actually a lengthy rail of extra fatty insulation that helps a Beluga whale stay warm in the harsh arctic waters it calls home. So why does this whale look like it has knees?
According to Carey Richard, the supervisor of cetaceans and pinnipeds at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut:
It was just a weird camera angle. The position of the camera is just such that they caught that blubber moving. I’ve never seen blubber looking like human anatomy.
A Creepy Aquarium Sculpture At Oregon Undersea Gardens
There's something to be said for an aquarium where you can learn and have a good laugh. The Oregon Undersea Gardens was the kind of place where you could do both thanks to the super weird sculpture on display on the side of the building, or the former building. Sadly, the Oregon Undersea Gardens no longer exists so you can't stop by and check out this seriously funny sculpture.
Can you imagine how strange it must have been to take a trip through this aquarium and catch a sight of a deep sea diver trying to crawl to safety from the grasp of a murderous squid? As hard as it must have been to explain to the kids, it's pretty cool that the folks who buit this aquarium wanted to have some fun with the concept.
A charging Rhino is the most intimidating thing ever
So you've found yourself face to face with a charging rhino, what are you going to do? These massive creatures tend to be peaceful even through they'll put their heads down and attack if they feel like you're not being chill. They don't have great eyesight so if they feel like you're acting the fool in their general vicinity they'll make a move and you'll be lucky to survive with all limbs intact.
If a rhino is going to charge at you it's going to be the white rhino, not because it's the most aggressive but because there are just so many of them roaming the eastern hemisphere. The black rhino is far more aggressive, but there are less of them in existence. Regardless of the color of the animal, if you're being charged by a rhino your best bet is to climb a tree and wait until they chill out.
A massive wave that hit a lighthouse off the coast of France in 1989 - the man in the lighthouse survived. (Photo-Jean Guichard)
When massive waves started smashing against the lighthouse on La Jument off the coastline of Brittany, France, on December 21, 1989, photographer Jean Guichard just happened to be in a helicopter over the premises with his camera at the ready. At the same time, lighthouse keeper Théodore Malgorn was doing his best to stay safe at the top of the lantern room after witnessing the water smashing the windows at the bottom of the lighthouse and ripping off the front door. If you look close at the photo you can see Malgorn just kind of chilling as chaos swirls around him.
As the helicopter that carried Guichard hovered overhead, Malgorn mistook it for his rescue helicopter and rushed outside to let to get its attention. When he popped outside the lighthouse was hit with a huge wave. He barely made it back inside before getting completely soaked with freezing water.
A close up look at a mother wolf spider carrying her young 🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷🕷
Wolf spiders are known not just for their "Union Jack" impression along their backs and their near ubiquitousness in the United States, but for the way they stalk their prey. Moving like a wolf, right down to their staccato motions, these freaky arachnids move quickly and don't waste any motion. Another similarity to the wolf is this spider's ability to pounce on its prey.
While these spiders don't pose any threats to humans, they do strike fear into the hearts of grasshoppers, crickets, flies, and ants. Known for burrowing into the ground, these spiders are more bluster than bitey when it comes to humans - although they will attack if they feel threatened. As poisonous as they are to small insects, their bite really only causes mild swelling and some pain. Still, it's probably for the best to let a wolf spider be.
A microscopic look at a bee stinger vs the point of a needle
As far as painful experiences go, being stung by a bee has got to be up there. Whether you've been stung by angry bee, or you just stepped on a dead one while walking around a public pool these insects definitely pack a wallop in their stinger. Weirdly enough, bee stings might actually be good for you.
According to a series of studies released in 2013, getting stung by a bee may help you get over any latent pollen allergies that you have. Just getting a trace of the bee's toxins in your your body will help increase antibodies in your system - or at least that's what happened with a group of mice. As fascinating as this is, don't go out searching for bees to sting you or anything, that's just asking for trouble.
A crab and sea stars feast upon a squid carcass
The ocean remains one of the most unexplored areas of the planet. Akin to another universe right here on Earth, sights like this insane battle for supremacy are happening all the time and we don;t even know it. An exploration off the coast of Hawaii revealed that seemingly docile creatures acting completely at odds with what humans expect. It's safe to say that nothing is as it seems under the sea.
Scott France, a deep-sea biologist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette explained that many of the things that seem bonkers to a human when looking beneath the waves are just par for the course of a normal day in the ocean. He said:
You can go almost anywhere in the deep sea and you’d be the first person on Earth looking there because there’s so much that we haven’t explored. What’s even cooler is that we’re making just the first inroads. Boy, I really hope we can go back some time.
A landslide in Taiwan
This landslide that buried a highway near Taipai in 2010 is absolutely horrifying. The Sunday landslide was made up of rubble that, according to firefighter Tang Cheng-yu was the size of two soccer stadiums. This terrifying act of nature shows just how terrifying it can be to be out in the middle of nowhere - even when the middle of nowhere is only a few miles from a city.
While this act of God could have been worse, some motorists were buried beneath the landslide and never recovered. To make matters worse, the landslide was followed by multiple days of rain which made the volunteer rescue efforts all that much harder. People dug with bulldozers for days before they actually found any of the doomed motorists.
A white bellied sea eagle preys on a feral pig
This shows just how horrible nature can be. Taken by Clark Espie in 2019, this unique shot captures a sea-eagle snatching a meal for itself, although according to the photographer it had some trouble getting away with its meal. However, that doesn't mean that this story has a happy ending.
According to Espie, after he snapped this shot of a struggling feral pig another eagle reared its beak to help make a meal of the other white meat. He told Australian Geographic:
The sea-eagle regardless of its powerful wings struggled to gain altitude before landing its prey upon a small island within the wetlands, where together the eagles shared the prey.
A plume of smoke rises over the Australian outback
This may look like a simple plume of smoke rising over the Outback, but this smoky plume can turn devastating in a matter of minutes. This kind of atmospheric phenomenon known as pyroCbs, or fire storms, can make fires on the ground worse by building up massive winds that carry embers to dry areas and start entirely new blazes.
All it takes for a pyroCbs to spring up is intense heat and dry air. Once a spark is lit and hit with a gust of air the smoke forms a funnel that continues to stack on top of itself until it's a fiery thunderstorm. Mike Fromm, an expert on pyroCbs at the U.S. Naval Research Lab explained:
They are incredibly intense and erratic. Everything that goes into these phenomena are at their worst when these fires are occurring. These storms create their own wind field because they have such a violent updraft. It’s a very turbulent environment.
King of the ocean 🦈
When it comes to the Great White shark everyone pretty much knows one thing about these beautiful and terrifying animals, that they're out for blood. But is that really true? It's not easy to study these creatures, they are under water after all. Is our fear of this deadly animal keeping us from learning as much as we can about it?
Ryan Johnson, Great White expert believes so. He explains:
If you could take every aspect of a huge, exciting, charismatic animal and stick it into one creature it would be the Great White Shark. You’ve got an evolutionary history that is incredible – not only of the Great White, where you’re talking of 420 million years that they’ve evolved separately... What was also really intriguing for me from a scientific perspective was that everyone was focused on one aspect of their life history – that they can bite humans.
A seriously scary odd couple... how tarantulas and frogs help each other survive
When you think about friends in the animal kingdom does your mind immediately go to the tarantula and the frog? If it doesn't, it should. Microhylids, or narrow-mouthed frogs live near the tarantulas and feast on the small invertebrates that make their way to the remnants of meals that were enjoyed by the large spiders.
The small frogs don't just eat the sneaky invertebrates that show up once the spider has finished its meal, they also benefit from having a terrifying creature as a best friend. The natural enemy of the michroylids are snakes and large anthropods that are otherwise freaked out by tarantulas.
As if that weren't helpful enough, michroylids eat ants - an insect whose number one source of food is spider eggs.
A snowy owl chilling with his buddy
A snowy owl chilling on top of a duck is really one of the last things we think of when we think of these two birds. They may not be mortal enemies, but snowy owls are prone to feasting on ducks when they get hungry, so why they'd be kicking it together on the tundra is kind of a mystery.
During winter, snowy owls make their way to the shores of lakes and oceans where they can hunt freely. While we think of owls hanging out in trees, the snow owl prefers to stay low on the arctic tundra. However, it seems like they still love to perch like the rest of their owl brethren. Either that or this owl is just showing its duck buddy who's boss.
A stunning 50-ft blue ice monolith in the Antarctic
At first look this kind of frozen wave is beautiful and stunning. It's like someone hit pause on Earth's remote control as a wave was crashing through the ocean. It's a stunning visual that has to be seen to believed, so how exactly does something like this come to be?
Frozen waves form when vast amounts of ice are compressed and the air bubbles inside are pushed out as the liquid hardens. The fantastic look of the ice wave, down to the color, comes from the freezing, melting, and re-freezing of the wave which makes it so only blue light passes through the ice while the red light of the spectrum is absorbed by the structure.
A house encased in ice after a blizzard
There's something serene about living in a house on the water. You can look out your window and watch the waves crashing against the shore while you drink your morning coffee, and listen to the water lap against the dock as you fall asleep at night. However, there's also the danger of a deep freeze if the house in on the shore of a traditionally chilly areas.
In 2019, homes on the coast of Lake Ontario in New York froze as spray from the water blasted the houses and encased them in ice. Winds moving at 70 mph kicked up huge waves, crashing them against homes on the shore and coating them in layer after layer of freezing water. As beautiful as these homes are they're also completely ruined. It's likely that the wood in the homes will turn rotten and that the foundation is totally wrecked.
A touching photograph showing a seagull trying to save his friend from a bald eagle
This photo from 2015 shows just how horrifying nature can be. Bald eagles may be the symbol of the United States but they're also fearsome creatures who prey on smaller animals - including birds. The first seagull is pretty much out of luck, but that doesn't stop its buddy from flying in and lending a hand (or talon) and trying to stop the eagle from making the seagull into a meal.
No matter how brave the second seagull is, its fight was all for not. Its attempt to take out an eagle and save its friend lasted for a few seconds before it was thrust off by the bigger bird. This photo shows a valiant effort, even if it didn't work out the way that we hoped it would.
There is a real reason why you ALWAYS check the toilet in Australia
What is it about Australia that just invites snakes to curl up and chill in a toilet bowl? And what is it about snakes that makes them act like pure nightmare fuel? Unfortunately, this is a regular event in the Outback, and sometimes people get hurt when they take a seat on the throne without looking to make sure that they're alone.
Snakes tend to hide inside when it gets too hot in their natural habitat, and it's clear that toilets provide the greatest source of relaxation. In 2019, Brisbane citizen Helen Richards was bitten by a non-venomous, five foot long carpet python that was curled up in her toilet. She told the Courier Mail newspaper:
I jumped up with my pants down and turned around to see what looked like a longneck turtle receding back into the bowl.
A very wise dog waiting until his buddy finishes eating
Skunks and dogs may not be mortal enemies, but they're not exactly best friends either. Even though these two buddies seem to have a fine existence with one another the same can't be said for every other dog and skunk combo out there. From the looks of this dog he's faced the wrath of skunk spray at least once or twice.
How do you make sure your dog stays fresh and clean if its been sprayed by a skunk? Many people say that the best way to rid a dog of such an awful smell is with a tomato soup bath, but a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and liquid dishwashing soap is your best bet. It's going to take a few washes and some elbow grease but once it's clean the dog should be good as new - and it'll have learned a lesson that it can never forget.
A woman gets her photo taken with a tornado in the background 1989
What is it about tornado that makes some people want to get out into a field and see it in person? Is it the destructive majesty of mother nature? Or is it their inner daredevil peeking out to say hello? Storm chasers have been striking a pose in front of these insane weather wonders for decade and each photo looks equally terrifying and amazing.
Elisabeth Brentano, a different woman who posed in front of a funnel cloud for a photo, explains just what it feels like to be in the path of a tornado:
Being that close in the photo wasn't that scary to me. I couldn't really hear it yet, you couldn't really feel it. You could feel the wind blowing, but it was still very beautiful, almost serene.
A woman went camping 30 years ago and heard strange noises in the middle of the night so she stuck her camera outside the tent and snapped this photo
Raccoons are the ultimate scavenger. Like a bad roommate they live to eat, sleep, and that's pretty much all they do. While their regular diet consists of fruits, plants, eggs, and some small rodents, in the back half of the 20th century they became accustomed to munching on human food.
As people moved out of the cities and into new suburban areas in the 1950s those housing developments cut into places that were normally reserved for wildlife. While many animals were pushed further away from civilization, raccoons almost seemed to be drawn to the sights and smells of small town life. They've become so accustomed to eating our food that they've developed the same health problems. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, a professor in evolutionary ecology at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, told the CBC:
Just Google 'fat raccoon' and there's so many news stories about how some raccoon got stuck in a grate, some raccoon got stuck in a garbage can. I had this idea that wildlife that are living in cities ... they may be getting the same health problems that we do — obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome — these kinds of things.
Abandoned by his mother in a Chinese forest, Qizai is the only known Brown Panda in the world
Abandoned by his mother when he was only two months old, the world's only brown panda could have become truly devastating story. When he was discovered in the Qingling Mountains in Central China he was weak and malnourished. Researchers believe that his mother left him because of his unique color and they saved him from the brink of destruction.
Now far away from the harsh life of an abandoned panda, Qizai is living it up at the Foping Panda Valley. Early on he was bullied by standard black and white pandas but now he was a care-taker who makes sure that he's fell fed and taken care of. He's even been set up with an experienced female panda so the world can be gifted with more brown pandas in the future.
An apocalyptic sunset over Moscow
This mindbending photo that looks like all hell breaking loose over a bridge in Moscow is absolutely breathtaking, but sadly it's not totally real. The photo is a composite of two different images captured by a photographer and graphic designer based in Moscow, Russia. The first is an insane image of metallic clouds and sunlight streaking through, and the second is of the bridge in question.
To achieve the end of days look that's going on in this photo the graphic designer combined the two shots and did a lot of color correction. It's honestly really cool looking, and it's awesome what someone can do with photo editing software these days. This is one photo that we're glad isn't totally real.
B-25 bombers fly over Mount Vesuvius in Italy while it erupts in March 1944 during the Italian Campaign of World War II
Now this is one photo that shows just how insane World War II actually could be. By the time the Allied Forces set up camp in Italy near Mount Vesuvius it had only erupted a few times, but it was never all that frightening. Soldiers regularly enjoyed coffee brewed in lava crust and they are volcanically toasted bread. However, in March of 1944 the fun came to an end when the volcano began to churn and bubble in a new, terrifying way.
On March 21, 1944, the volcano started to rumble and gurgle, the GIs on the ground knew that something was up. By dawn the next morning the area was encased in a "black snow storm" of ash. At the end of the day the volcanic eruption claimed the lives of 28 people and there were injuries all over the place. A British soldier wrote of the eruption:
Where it had stood was nothing but a big slag heap of lava, and a memory. Bombs make a terrific row and leave ruins. Lava makes no sound and leaves—nothing.
Bald eagles are the masters of the sky and an apex predator
The bald eagle is one of the few creatures on Earth that doesn't have to hunt for itself, it just lets its food fight for its life before eating what it wants. That doesn't mean that this apex predator can't hunt, it just doesn't chase after its dinner unless it really wants to. They would rather scavenge or take food from a lesser bird.
The one type of hunting that you're most likely to see a bald eagle performing is on the water. Typically, they'll slowly fly over the surface of the father and snatch a fish in mid swim. Unlike falcons who dive into the water for their catch, the eagle just grabs what it wants and goes.
Catatumbo lightning only happens over the Catatumbo River, Venezuela
Awe inspiring and beautiful, Catabumbo lightning is something that has to be seen to be believed. It can only be seen at the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela. Also known of the "Maracaibo Beacon," this special lighting happens when humid air collides with ice crystals in the air and produces a highly concentrated static charge build up.
The release that comes with the collision of hot and cold air creates electrical energy in a zigzag formation that's so powerful that it could power 100 million lightbulbs. Unlike other lightning centric weather patterns, this lightning can be predicted months in advance. If you're in the position to see this lightning in person take advantage but be safe.
Cell tower after snowstorm
As unbelievable as it may be, this photo is 100% legit. Following a snowstorm this cell tower was covered in ice and frozen solid, but it wasn't just pelted by snow overnight. That wouldn't create this insane looking ice tower. Instead, it was most likely frozen with rime ice.
Rime ice forms when water droplets in a mist, fog, or snow freeze around the outer surface of a physical item. More often than not rime ice is found on top of trees and mountains in traditionally cold climates, but in this case it formed around a man made object which is absolutely fascinating. It helps that the cell tower is as monolithically still as a tree. If it were something that bent and swayed it would be less likely to allow such a frosty build up.
Coyote pups learning to howl
Learning to speak is an important part of any young person's life, the same goes for animals. This shot of young coyotes learning to master the howl of their parents isn't just heartwarming, it's nature in action. If young coyotes never learn to howl it's likely that they'll never be able to mate, eat, or escape danger.
Crazy bird tornado
One of the most stunning things about birds is the way that they fly in formation seemingly because of something in their heads that tells them to. More often than not we're used to seeing geese fly in a V pattern, but they're not the only birds who carry out this kind of preternaturally ordained flight pattern. Smaller birds travel in a massive flock to keep themselves safe from predators, which is where these huge birdnadoes come from.
In instances like the one in the picture, starlings will move together at once in a giant flock called a murmuration. This collection of small birds may look creepy but it's just their way of staying safe while moving from place to place. As long as you don't get caught up in a murmuration you should be just fine.
Do you see it Look closer the Gray Owl is hiding in plain sight
The gray owl is a creature that many of us hear about but rarely get a chance to see out in the wild. It's not because the owls aren't around, it's just that they're doing their best to hide out in plain view so they can snag their prey without anyone being the wiser. Well, anyone aside from photographers looking for their next great shot.
Snapped by 59 year old photographer Alan Murphy, this photo shows the Gray Owl in all its glory in British Columbia... sort of. Murphy took a series of photos and in many of them the owl is all but invisible. He wrote of his experience photographing the bird:
While searching the forests of British Columbia for birds to photograph, I came across this guy. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack. See if you can see the Great Gray Owl. Nature is amazing!! You can see how the plumage of the owl blends right into the texture of the tree bark making it almost invisible... I am in awe of the wonders of nature and this is a great example of how wonderful it is to get to see such clever camouflage used by a bird.
Geese have multiple rows of teeth like appendages made of cartilage
Yikes. There's really no other word for this insane looking shot inside the mouth of a goose. It turns out that Mother Nature doesn't just have a sense of humor, she's frightening. Oddly enough, while these may look like teeth they're actually pieces of cartilage that resemble a set of chainsaw chompers.
While the teeth-like appendages that we can see aren't actually teeth they do function similarly. Known as "tomia," they aren't made as bone and don't have enamel on them but they help geese cut and tear their food just like humans. And more to the point, the tomia are incredibly sharp and hard. They have to be to rip through food for the geese so don't stick your band in a goose's beak any time soon unless you want to feel the wrath of the tomia.
Serene, beautiful, and deadly, the harpy eagle is a magnificent species that are named after the beaked monsters of Greek mythology. Drenched in gray feathers, these birds look both pensive and terrifying. It helps that they're absolutely huge, with their talons growing up to five inches long. That's larger than a grizzly bear's talons if you're wondering.
Here's a 20-foot wide, 5,000 lb. manta ray that got entangled in a boat's anchor line
As insane as it looks, this photo from 1933 actually shows a giant manta ray. It's just that the events surrounding the photo are a little sketchy. In 1933, a silk manufacturer named A.L. Kahn claimed that he caught this giant manta ray while vacationing in Florida.
That's not entirely true. Kahn definitely caught a huge manta ray off the coast of New Jersey in '33, but the image shows a taxidermied version of the creature and not a freshly hauled in devil fish. Even though the size and weight of the fish sounds extreme it's entirely within the realm of possibilities for a manta ray to grow to that size. Since we couldn't be on hand for the moment that Kahn reeled in the fish we'll just have to take his word for it.
Hyena matriarch fighting off pack of African wild dogs
Hyenas are known for their ferocious tendencies, terrifying cackle, and abilities to survive across the African plain as scrappy scavengers but there's more to these creatures than that. These mad dog looking creatures aren't just waiting to grab a quick bite from a carcass, they can eat up to 40 pounds of meat per feeding. Their jaws are so strong that they can pulverize bones to get the marrow and minerals that they need to survive often leaving little more than blood on the ground.
The most fearsome member of the hyena family is the matriarch, who's larger and more aggressive than the males in her pack. They're so in charge of what their packs that in the hierarchy of the feast it's the women who eat first and the adults males who eat last. There's definitely more than meets the eye with these mangy looking creatures.
Photographer Darren Pearson captured this incredible long exposure shot of lightning striking a tree... or did it?
When this photo of a tree getting struck by lightning hit the internet in 2015 viewers were agast. Audiences wondered how did someone take this photo at just the right time? And are the amazing colors really possible with a simple lightning strike? It turns out that this brilliant display of nature is actually a brilliant display of photo editing.
Pearson didn't try to hide the fact that he edited the photo after the internet ran with his creation. Instead, he explained exactly how he did it:
My image is a long exposure, 619 seconds, taken at night. During this time, I used ‘el wire’ to create the blue smoke-looking effect, and a color-gelled spotlight to give the tree a pink glow. The lightning bolt was an idea that my roommate... He mentioned, 'You know what would be incredible? A lightning bolt striking the tree...' I never intended it to be taken for a real photo of lightning striking a tree. It was meant to be an artistic expression, but turned into an internet misinformation fiasco.
Incredible lightning storm over Lake Michigan
If anything shows the beautiful majesty of nature it's this shot of multiple lightning strikes hitting Lake Michigan at the same time. Lake Michigan is a truly spectacular places in the Midwest, but does it attract a particular amount of lightning or was this just a lucky shot? It turns out that it's not just Lake Michigan, it's every lake.
Bodies of water conduct electricity, and considering that they act as a flat surface (in spite of being totally liquid) at their highest point they attract lightning. Being that lakes tend to be pretty straight across save for the peaks of the waves of Lake Michigan, it's pretty much all a bullseye when lightning starts hitting.
Incredible supercell storm near Howard, Kansas
When you look into the sky in the summer months and see a storm cloud that looks like a red hot dome coming straight for you? That's a supercell thunderstorm preparing to rain down thunder and lightning all over your community. The intense winds and cracking thunder produced by supercells comes from the mesocyclone brought on by a persistent rotating updraft.
The storms brought on by supercells can last for hours, but these don't just come on out of nowhere. These special storms need strong wind speed and a directional sheer that blows between 20,000 feet. On top of that, a significant updraft and downdraft is required to make the storm go on and on.
More often than not these storms occur in the Midwest and the central part of the country, but if you really want to see a supercell in action you've got to head on to the Great Plains.
It's not an alien craft but a bloated whale carcass adrift at sea
This insane looking orb in the middle of the ocean isn't something from another planet, and it's not a man made object. There's no need to bury the lede, this bad boy is a rotting whale carcass that's just waiting to explode. When a whale dies anything left in its stomach begins to decompose and all of the bacteria inside begins to create an excess of gas that builds up until the animal puffs up into a disgusting time bomb.
Areas with a lot of whales are usually prepared with someone who's job is to specifically puncture a dead whale to keep the carcass from exploding, but even so it's a messy business. The best bet in these instances is to puncture the whale's body while it's still in the water, this keeps its entrails from being flung across whatever beach it lands on. It's a disgusting job but someone has to do it.
King cobra bites python. Python constricts cobra. Cobra dies of constriction. Python dies from venom. 🐍🐍
On the surface there's not much of a difference between these two monsters of the animal kingdom. Not only are they both huge and terrifying, but they can make meals out of creatures that are much larger than they are. No matter how similar they are on the outside these creatures are entirely different internally.
Not only are pythons slower than a boa, but they have additional bones in their mouths that boas just don't have. Their additional upper jaw bone - the premaxilla - makes their bite all the more painful. On the other hand, boas are a bit faster and they lack the upper jaw bone which means that they have less teeth. They're also a bit smaller than pythons but they're much faster. Either way, you don't want to have one of these bad boys chomping on you.
Lens shaped clouds that can be seen 60 miles away
Not only beautiful but aesthetically pleasing to boot, lenticular clouds look like they're from another planet. No wonder they're often mistaken for UFOs. Don't worry, these aren't birthing alien lifeforms from their interiors. They're just the product of a perfect storm of air temperature fluctuations.
These clouds are often found downwind of a mountain range. They're formed after stable, moist air moves over the mountain in a series of waves. If the temperature of the air is the same as the dew point temperature then BAM! You get a lens shaped wave. As the air temperature changes in those waves lenticular clouds are formed.
Look closer...in the darkness stands this baby polar bears' mother and she will not hesitate to attack
Polar bears aren't known for being aggressive towards people. Not only are they often just not where humans are going to be but they're fairly gentle creatures. However, that goes out the window if someone gets inbetween a mother and her cub. That's not simple science, it's common sense.
There are really only about three polar bear attacks on a human per year. Those usually occur at night when a polar bear moves to investigate a camping site and gets frightened by a person. It's rare that anyone would think to snatch a polar bear cub from its mother, but if that happens it's going to be lights out for whoever makes that grave mistake.
Mammatus clouds over Nebraska after a tornado
These surreal looking structures in the sky look as if they're dripping from the heavens, but they're not Dali creations. In fact, they're actually products of another type of cloud. Typically seen hanging from the underside of a thunderstorm cloud, these cotton ball shaped creations tend to be made of ice in various stages of existence.
More often than not if you see a mammatus cloud it's because inclement weather is on the way. While some folks think that these clouds extend into funnel clouds, in actuality they're formed by rising air that occurs during a storm. If you see these clouds in the sky they'll only be around for 10 or 15 minutes before dissipating which makes them all the more beautiful.
Marmot realizes it's been caught by a fox
This award winning image was snapped by Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao while he was traipsing through the Qilian Mountains National Nature Reserve in 2019. With his camera at the ready, he captured the moment that a Marmot realized it was going to become dinner for a hungry fox. Moments after the shutter on his camera closed and the scene was captured forever, the fox ran away with its freshly killed dinner.
While speaking about the photo to the New York Times, Zoe Summers, a spokesperson for the London National History Museum explained that things didn't turn out well for the marmot:
I can confirm that sadly the marmot didn’t survive. The fox was successful in the attack and was able to feed some very hungry cubs!
Meanwhile in Yellowstone...
This shot of a biker on the race of a lifetime as he's chased by a bear has long been a motivational photo for people across the internet. However, as you may have guessed, this photo is just too good to be true. We're not saying that no one has ever been chased by a bear, but this shot is a composite of multiple photos.
The original image shows a bear running down a road in Yellowstone National Park apropos of nothing. Maybe it was just getting in a nice work out. The cyclist was added to the shot later to make it look like he was tearing away from the bear at top speed. Nature is often scary, but it rarely looks perfectly cinematic.
Morocco's tree climbing goats 🐐🐐🐐🐐
The Argania tree climbing goats of Morocco aren't just a little kooky, they're a major tourist attraction and they're just doing what comes natural to them. The tree's knotty, thick bark attracts piles of goats who love to sidle up to the trees and eat their fruit every summer. Not just happy to eat what falls from the tree, these goats literally climb its branches to get what they want.
Farmers love that the goats eat their fruit, not only because of the tourism money that they bring in but the goats help propagate the tree through their waste. On top of those benefits, the seeds that pass through the goats and clump up on the ground are pressed to make Argan oil.
Oh no oh no oh NOOOO
Is there anything more terrifying than the thought that some angry god could just show up to your world and bang on the wall that you didn't even know was a wall? The fear that fish feel when someone smacks the window of their aquarium - no matter soft that smack, tap, or knock is - is equivalent to the boogey man popping up from an alley in the middle of the night. Tapping on a glass wall can freak out a fish and make them swim erratically, even though they've got small brains this kind of thing can really mess them up.
The easiest way to keep from stressing out your fish (or someone else's fish) is to make sure their home is as close to the ocean as possible. Keep the lightning chill, don't introduce too many fish to the aquarium, and for the love of all things fishy don't tap on the wall of their home. Think about how you would feel if someone just started knocking on your bedroom window whenever they wanted.
One of the rarest animals on the planet, the Black Jaguar
The black jaguar is a rare color variant on the "standard" spotted jaguar that can be found in the Amazon. These beautiful cats are a major predator in their domain, eating what they want and leaving the rest for the scavengers. While their color definitely aids them on the hunt, it also makes them a target for poachers who want to make a buck off of their rare pelts.
There have only been a few legitimate sightings of black jaguars in south America and Mexico throughout the 20th century, with 26 of them occurring between 2010 and 2019. Melanism in big cats is believed to be caused by a recessive allele that occurs the deeper in the forest that one travels. The animals spots and rosettes are still apparent on their fur but they're obscured by the inky black color of their fur.
Photo of a Morning Glory cloud formation taken from a plane near Burketown in QLD, Australia
As beautiful as this amazing cloud formation is you'll have to go to Australia to find it. There are still questions surrounding these clouds, but it's believed that they're caused by humid air moving from the east Coral Sea smashing into the warm air of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Then, the cool air over Cape York in the evening moves beneath the combined layers of humid air and creates this one of a kind cloud. Depending on how these variables come together the clouds can be one large tube or up to ten clouds in a row.
This cloud formation is so rare that many people don't even know about it, and even then the people who see them in all their (morning) glory tend to be pilots. Garrett Russell of the Caboolture Gliding Club explained:
If they are really obscured by condensation, the humidity is high and the pilots will finish their beer and go home for an early night, ready to get up before dawn to ride the cloud.
Photographer captures the real-life Jaws image
The poster shot that made people afraid to go into the water throughout the '70s was a painting that showed a massive shark rising through the water to make a meal out of young swimmer, and now it's been perfectly replicated through underwater photographer. In 2019, British filmmaker/cage diver Euan Rannachan traveled to Mexico where he snapped this unbelievable photo of a shark swimming straight up toward the surface of the water. He was able to snap it through teamwork, perfect timing, and nerves of steel.
While speaking about how he was able to grab this shot, Rannachan explained:
The shark in my image is a female and her name is Squirrel. We’d been with her for a while. We have these people on the boat called shark wranglers and they throw these two-foot chunks of tuna to get the shark close to the surface... A guy named Crazy Luis stood up on the boat to bring the shark to us when we sit on the surface in the shark cage.
Portrait of an American Buffalo
Whether you prefer to call them bison of buffalo, it's no secret that at one point in America's history there were millions of these big beautiful creatures roaming the country. They roamed in large herds from Mexico to Florida, but the biggest contingent of the creatures was found along the plains in the center of the country. It's believed that at one point there were 30 to 75 million buffalo roaming the country and darkening the plains.
The biggest of these amazing creatures are the males, standing nearly six foot tall and covered in thick layers of fur they can travel at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour. The Buffalo tend to be docile creatures for most of the year, but come mating season they turn into raving bullies who fight over the females of their pack until they get their way. While millions of these creatures were destroyed in the 19th century, conservationists have made it a point to bring these animals back from the brink of extinction and today there are hundreds of thousands of Buffalo roaming the plain.
President Theodore Roosevelt riding a moose across a river in 1912
As cool as this photo of Theodore Roosevelt riding a moose is, it's just not real. Well, it's technically two actual photographs that were cobbled together in a nearly seamless way to make it look like Roosevelt has the ability to tame any animal that he meets. In 1912, Roosevelt was running as a member of the Bull Moose party so what better way to advertise his campaign than with a shot of him on the party's mascot?
Created by the photo firm Underwood and Underwood, the shot is a composite of Roosevelt riding a horse which was pasted over the swimming moose. The ad is nearly perfect, but if you want to find fault in this early 20th century Photoshop just look at the spot below Roosevelt's knee. As cool as this ad is it's just not the real thing.
Proof that cats are smarter than dogs
If there's one thing that everyone "knows" about cats and dogs it's that they're mortal enemies. That they're creatures who will never be friends in spite of the fact that more often than not they have to live in close proximity with one another. But is that the case? Are cats and dogs really destined to battle for pet supremacy?
No, cats and dogs aren't actually born hating one another. They just have different instincts and they were bred differently. When dogs were domesticated they were bred to hunt small animals, and more often than not cats are small, furry creatures who look like they'd make a great meal. Dogs instinctually want to chase cats, but that doesn't mean they can't be friends. It just takes a lot of work and care to make sure the animals in your life get along.
Quitters Never Win
It's safe to say that you never really want to get in between and leopard and its dinner. Whether you're on the African plain or just hanging out at the zoo, it's best to let these big, lean cats go about their business unless you want to end up as a part of their meal. They may not have the name recognition of the lion, but this cool cat has little in the way of predators - no one wants to mess with a leopard.
Leopards share many similarities to the modern housecat (aside from the whole eating entire bison thing) including a love of climbing and a nomadic sensibility. They prefer to move at night and feast in the shadows, but they'll come out during the day if they're hungry. More often than not you'll find a leopard hanging out high in a tree, watching the action down below.
Roger the buff kangaroo nearly died as a joey
Roger may have achieved fame due to his jacked physique, but long before he was the most ripped marsupial on the internet he was an orphaned joey. Discovered by Chris Barns, the founder of an Australian animal sanctuary, Roger was trapped in his dead mother's pouch. After he was saved Roger grew to be the 6' 7" alpha male beefcake of his sanctuary.
Barns explained to Australia's Traveler website that Roger got his upper body gains not from a strict diet, but from fighting:
Basically he's just a fighter. 'It's natural for an alpha male. He likes to see the threat go, so will always come out to confront you. If he grabs you, he doesn't let go. You can't get out easily. It's a chokehold. As for a well-placed kick, it can disembowel you.
Sadly, this Tasmanian Tiger family at the Beaumaris Zoo in Hobart in 1910, is extinct
These large striped carnivores have been believed to be extinct for more than 80 years. This photo shows some of the last in existence, or at the very least the last that we thought were in existence. It turns out that this strange looking marsupial may have some life left in it after all.
Throughout the 2010s there have been sighting of the wild animal in Tasmania, although reports have yet to be verified. In 2017, a driver said that they saw one of these tiger striped animals near the Deep Gulley Forest Reserve in the northwestern part of the area. Two years later, a footprint was discovered that clearly matched that of a Tasmanian Tiger. Could these animals still be out there? Only time will tell.
Seaweed infesting a wave
Imagine being in the ocean, you're waiting to be hit by a wave. You want to feel the refreshing salt water splash over you and bring you closer to the Earth then you've ever been. But then you see it, a wave filled with sargassum, a thick form of seaweed that will tangle you up in its slimy limbs and not let go. That's a big no thanks from us, but it's likely that it's going to be the new normal.
According to Dr. Chuanmin Hu of the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, deforestation and an explosion in fertilizer use has caused a change in ocean plant life. He told the BBC:
The ocean's chemistry must have changed in order for the blooms to get so out of hand. This is all ultimately related to climate change because it affects precipitation and ocean circulation and even human activities, but what we've shown is that these blooms do not occur because of increased water temperature.
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic exploration vessel ‘Endurance’, as it sits stuck in sea ice, later to be crushed from the force and sink, 1915
Out of Ernest Shackleton's three Antarctic expeditions his near year spent trapped in the ice aboard the "Endurance" was definitely his most harrowing moment as an explorer. On January 18, 1915, the ship slowly moved through an ice field until it could no longer press forward. Going back was not an option.
Shackleton was optimistic to the men on his ship, but he also felt that "what the ice gets, the ice keeps.” He had no illusions about escaping the ice alive and with the ship. The crew finally abandoned the ship and started making their way across the tundra. By the time they made it to dry land on Elephant Island it had been more than a year since they began their excursion. Still not safe, Shackleton and two men walked 36 hours straight to a whaling station at Stromness to put together a rescue mission to save the rest of his crew.
Soviet soldiers feeding polar bears in the 1950s ♥♥♥
This shot of a Soviet soldier taking care of a polar bear shows just how similar we are to our friends in the animal kingdom. Taken in Chukchi Peninsula, Soviet Union, an area that's known for being painfully cold. The negative 40 degree temperatures can take down a polar bear and its children, starving and freezing them if they don't get enough to eat.
Soldiers serving in the area didn't waste time feeding these bears. At the time they had an abundance of tin cans of condensed milk, so much so that the soldiers had no problem with just giving the stuff away. They would cut open the tin and feed the condensed milk to the bears who freely munched on the sweet treat. While many foods were rationed in the Soviet Union at the time, condensed milk wasn't one of them so the country basically fed the polar bears of the region for a few years.
Spiders cocooning themselves in trees during a flood
This insanely spooky looking photo of trees cocooned with spiderwebs looks like something from an Edward Gorey book or maybe even a creepy pasta, but it's the real deal. Taken in Pakistan during a flood, this shot shows what happens when millions of spiders take to the trees to stay safe from the rising waters. The water was so high for so long that the webs grew more and more dense until they fully shrouded the trees.
This isn't an every day occurrence so obviously people flipped out when they saw their trees covered in ghostly webs. As creepy as this looks, the one positive of this cocooning is that the mosquito population in the area shot down immensely in spite of the stagnant water. It's believed that the mosquitos were caught in the giant webs, so that's a plus.
Starlings obscure the sky over Rome in dystopia viral photo
Imagine waking up and looking into the sky to see a black and white horizon, all made up of starlings twisting and flitting where the clouds used to be. This kind of dystopian look at the sky over Rome is a regular occurrence. Every year, four million starlings cover the sky and block out the sun. As bad as that is, the worst part about it is that they cover the city in their own waste. It doesn't just look freaky, it's gross.
Romans have attempted to quell the rise of the starlings through a series of different means. They introduced falcons to the area to frighten away the small birds to no avail. Romans have also tried to prune their trees to keep the birds from landing in their area. So far, the starlings have continued to cover the sky.
Sylvester Stallone with the turtles he kept from Rocky, which are now over 40 years old
Sylvester Stallone doesn't seem like the kind of guy who has time for pets, what with all of his film work and bulking up for said film work. However, he's kept two pet turtles since he picked them up in 1976 for a little movie called Rocky. The two turtles, Cuff and Link are still kicking around with the star, and he revealed their continued existence on Instagram in 2019.
The turtles, now 44 years old, are living the high life with Stallone and will likely stick around long after he's gone. Some turtles are known to live for more than 50 years. With giant tortoises living for hundreds of years. Will Stallone's turtles live into another generation? We may never know.
Terri and Steve Irwin with a croc at their Australia Zoo in 1996
During his lifetime, Steve Irwin was one of the few people who was able to bring some of the most frightening apex predators into the homes of his viewers. Irwin thought it was important to show people what these animals were really like, he wanted people to know that they aren't monsters, they're just doing what they were made to do. Even though he died doing what he loved, he changed the way we think about these animals.
While speaking with Scientific American in 1996, Irwin explained why he wanted to go out into the jungles of the world and get in the nitty gritty with these creatures:
My field is with apex predators, hence your crocodiles, your snakes, your spiders. And then of course you've got lions, tigers, bears. Great big apex predators they're the species that I enjoy the most. That's where my passion lies. Historically, people have seen them as evil, ugly monsters that kill people. Take the crocodile, for example, my favorite animal. There are 23 species. Seventeen of those species are rare or endangered. They're on the way out, no matter what anyone does or says, you know.
Texas State Capitol Austin tornado May 4, 1922
Texas is known for its strange weather. If you stick around long enough you'll experience extreme thunderstorms, hail, and some nasty heat, but every once in a while a tornado sweeps through the area and creates chaos in Tejas. On May 4, 1922, two tornadoes formed within minutes of one another a few miles apart both moving south-southwest.
During this horrifying natural phenomenon 12 people lost their lives and 50 were injured in the "eastern storm" that ripped through the city. A tornado destroyed a dorm at St. Edwards College and ripped through the St. Elmo community in South Austin. The tornadoes finally dissipated late in the day as Austin laid in ruins.
The Arctic hare, also known as the polar rabbit
These cute little fluffballs are somewhat of an anomaly in the northern hemisphere. The Arctic Hare can be found throughout Canada, Greenland, and Newfoundland, while a similar puffball hops its way through the Arctic areas of Europe and Asia. There may not be much to eat in the Arctic but these hares don't mind. They're herbivores who eat whatever they can - be it berries, roots, or seaweed.
While these rabbits are a rare sight in populated areas of North America, there's a large amount of these cuties in the Arctic. No matter the large amount of them, they have to regularly deal with wolves, foxeds, and owls that routinely search for these animals over the ice.
The bearded vulture the most metal bird of prey
There are freaky animals, and then there's the lammergier, or the bearded vulture. This large bird exists on a steady diet of bones and carcasses that dye its feathers red with the blood of its meals. The more bright and intense the plumage on these creatures the more blood they're soaking themselves in. Yikes.
These vultures have no natural predators so the bright color that their feathers take on after a blood feast is something of a mark of pride for these animals. Researchers believe that the more intense and soiled a bearded vulture is, the higher their status is in their feathered hierarchy. The brighter the bird the more adequate their resources are.
The breathtaking phenomenon of volcanic lightning
Volcanoes are amazing and destructive enough, but to add lightning to the mix sounds like something out a fantasy novel. While volcanic lightning exists researchers are still trying to understand exactly how it happens. Volcanic lightning occurs near the ground in ash clouds and in the stratosphere near plumes of volcanic smoke.
It's believed that volcanic lightning that occurs near the ground comes from individual ash particles rubbing together light flint. As for the volcanic lightning that happens in the sky it's most likely that it's caused by ice. Researchers believe that when ash and water vapor spew into the sky ice forms in the lower atmosphere and the collision of the ice crystals create an electric charge, creating lightning.
The craziest thunderstorm photo ever
If anything is more terrifying than a heavy duty, real deal tornado, it's a tornado that's blasting lightning across the sky. Tornados rarely look as aesthetically pleasing as this, but it's possible that the pops and explosions of lightning could turn the powerful funnel clouds that tear across the ground could be turned even more deadly with the addition of electrical currents. According to CNN, both of these weather patterns are down as of 2020.
2020 saw the lowest annual number of tornadoes since 2015. Even though the numbers on these dangerous weather patterns are down, deaths from them are still rising. According to Brandon Miller, CNN meteorologist, all of these deaths are coming from the dreaded nocturnal tornado:
Tornadoes that occur in more populated regions, such as in or near cities, are much more likely to result in deaths due to the sheer number of people in the path. The time of day also plays a role. Nocturnal tornadoes, which occur at night while most are sleeping and unaware of warnings and changing conditions, are much more likely to result in deaths compared to tornadoes that occur during daylight hours.
The evolution of a tornado
It's rare that we actually get to see what a tornado looks like from birth to its most deadly. While we often see a tornado in one of these stages, seeing each stage of the tornado laid out so evenly in a montage is absolutely breathtaking. Taken by photographer Jason Weingart, this photo shows a supercell that produced 12 tornadoes with at least three on the ground at once.
Taking this kind of photo isn't as simple as setting up your phone and snapping away. Instead, a camera with a timer has to be set up in an area where it won't be disturbed by the high winds put off by the tornado's harsh activity. It's a dangerous business but it's so cool when something like this works out.
The exact moment lightning strikes water
While lightning doesn't strike water as much as it does land, it does happen from time to time. It's obviously dangerous to be outside during a lightning storm, but it's especially dangerous to be on the water. When lightning strikes the water, it serves as a conductor and the electrical charge spreads across the surface. It's both magnificent and dangerous.
Even if someone isn't in the line of fire per se, anyone on the water be it on a boat or going for a swim can suffer from the residual effects of the lightning strike. Anyone on the water when a storm breaks out should immediately get to safety. Go inside and get out of the way of Mother Nature because she can let it rip when she wants to.
The eye of a tokay gecko
This startlingly beautiful eye belongs to a tokay gecko, a seriously beautiful lizard that not as readily available as geckos that many people usually buy as pets. Tokay geckos can be aggressive, or as aggressive as geckos can be. These nearly foot long creatures like to croak and groan, making a sound that earned them the name "tokay."
These nocturnal creatures make good pets, but sadly they're the target of poachers. Many people purchase these animals in order to bring themselves good luck, but they're also ground up and used in medicinal remedies. Many people believe that ingesting one of these creatures in a tea can cure asthma and even diabetes, but the truth of it is they're just extremely interesting looking - a trait that makes them more sought after.
The honey badger can survive through the worst of conditions due to their super power... thick skin
Now this is what a tough guy looks like. Or rather, a tough animal. Look closely, past the needles and bad disposition and you'll see that the honey badger looks strikingly similar to the skunk. It's not just that they share the same color pattern, they both have a gland that emits a gross smelling liquid to make their territory. However, honey badgers are much more violent than their stinkier cousins.
These small animals are known as one of the most fearless creatures on the planet. They don't care if they're facing down a hyena or a lion, they'll put up a fight until everyone is sorry that they crossed paths. Aside from being incredibly mean, they'll also eat whatever they find be it a vegetable, fruit, animal, or a root. Their strong skin can take a licking and keep going, but it's also so rubbery that if it's caught in the teeth of a predator it can shake loose with no problems.
The juvenile form of the yellow boxfish is a dazzling bright yellow, but this color fades away into adulthood
This bright yellow, box-shaped fish covered in polka dots can be found in the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean near Indonesia. They live near coral reefs about 40 meters below the surface, making them one of the most gorgeous animals to be seen by a underwater diver. Juvenile boxfish are the most bright and beautiful, as they get older they lose their bright hue and turn a brownish color.
Anyone diving off the coasts of Australia will have a good chance of seeing a few of these bad boys. They're also regularly found near New Guinea, Fiji, and the Philippine Islands. They bring a dash of color to an already gorgeous array of deep sea life and as they feast on mollusks, sand worms, and algae, they'll remain well fed for the time being.
The krill filtering teeth of Antarctic crabeater seals
You don't see chompers like these every day. Crabeater seals pretty much just live to eat krill, those tiny crustaceans that make up a large part of the underwater ecosystem. Krill travels in large swarms beneath the sea, and crabeater seals have benefitted from evolution in the form of these teeth that allow them to filter out everything but the exact food they need to eat.
These sieve-like teeth allow crabeater seals to eat mass amounts of krill each day without really doing a lot of work. It's good for them and bad for the krill. So why aren't they called "krilleater seals?" When these hungry animals were first discovered by whalers they somehow got it into their heads that the seals love to eat crustaceans and the name has stuck ever since.
The moment the rising sun made it look like this polar bar was breathing fire
On first look at this photo it seems as if this polar bear is straight up breathing fire, but think about it, that's just not possible. So how did a photo of a bear breathing fire get snapped? It's not exactly trick photography, it's just a well timed shot that caught the reflection of the rising sun with a very photogenic polar bear.
Photographer Josh Anon told Metro that he initially only had a couple of hours with a polar bear in the Antarctic, but thanks to a surprise visit the next morning he was able to get this photo:
We were fortunate enough to find bears on a fresh kill the day before: one bear was protecting his kill from another bear, and the two of them made great subjects. The next morning, we had an unexpected wake up call around 4am that the bears were still outside. Over the next three to four hours, we were able to spend more time with the bears and two more even joined in.
The moment you realize this is only one photo
This stunning vista comes courtesy of Bow Lake in Alberta, Canada. The photo shows just how much can be done in this one area, whether you want to take a trip into the mountains, get on the water or just take in the view - it's all available to you. Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, visitors can catch a sight of Dolomite Peak and a series of glaciers that will take your breath away.
Thanks to glacial till, or unsorted glacial sediment, Bow Lake has a turquoise color. Not only is this just gorgeous, but it separates the area from the many other lakes on the planet. This really is a place where, on the perfect day, it can feel like the entire world belongs to you.
The only known photograph of the giant 28ft crocodile that was killed in Queensland, Australia, in 1957
This photo claims to show a 28 foot long crocodile that was taken down in 1957, but that's not exactly the case. Not only was this photo most likely taken in 1914, but there's now way to tell exactly how long the crocodile is. The one thing that we can be sure of is that it's really big. Maybe too big.
The people in the original version of this photo are known only as "Miss Cross and Mr. Joynt." Taken on the Roper River in 1914, the shot is spectacular even if it's often miscaptioned. Currently, the longest known crocodile is 18 feet on length, previous to that record a crocodile named "Lolong" was known to be 20 feet in length. However, it's believed that crocodiles can grow up to 23 feet in length in the wild.
The phenomenon of ball lightning
Ball lightning is one of the most strange occurrences on the planet. Often attributed to the paranormal (be it ghosts or aliens, the choice is yours), it's a phenomenon that's still misunderstood by researchers and scientists across the globe. People have been trying to get to the bottom of this form of lightning for generations to no avail and most of what we know about it is purely speculation.
Very few people have actually seen ball lightning, but that hasn't stopped humans from all walks of life searching it out during a thunder storm. Peter H. Handel in the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri at St. Louis explained:
It appears usually during thunderstorms, sometimes within a few seconds of lightning but sometimes without apparent connection to a lightning bolt. In some cases, ball lightning appears after a thunderstorm--or even before it. Its lifetime varies widely, ranging from a few seconds to several minutes; the average duration is about 25 seconds.
The power of mother nature
There's nothing more awe-inspiring or terrifying that standing on a boat when a massive wave hits. Not only is it never more clear that you're not in control of the situation, but no one in that situation knows exactly how things are going to shake out. Will you be thrown to the ground? Tossed overboard? At the very least you'll be soaking wet.
Large ocean waves like the one in this shot tend to be storm surges, which come before a hurricane or a major storm over the water. Aside from causing deep, long waves that get bigger the closer they get to shore, they can cause flooding on land. Anyone in a boat that's facing a large wave has to try and hit the wave with the bow or at least at an angle. Hitting a boat with the beam will almost certainly capsize the ship.
The relentless march of time
Is there any greater metaphor for the way that time presses on in spite of everything else that's going than this shot of a tree overtaking a headstone? As depressing as this photo may be it's not the only tree that's "eaten" a headstone. In fact, Arlington National Cemetery is full of trees that feast on stone monuments.
When a tree's roots take hold of something it's not easy to free whatever it's grabbing. If caught early enough the tree can be removed, but once they start overtaking an item or a place it's lights out for the headstone that they've grabbed. In some instances the tree dies which means that the whole section of land has to be removed. That's just the way things go.
The sailfish is considered by scientists to be the fastest swimming marine creature in the world
If a school of small fish get caught in the sites of a sailfish it's game over for those little creatures. This swordfish cousin may look like three different fish put together in Photoshop but it's actually the fastest creature beneath the sea. Once it starts making a move it can get up to speeds of 68 mph.
This fish that's as fast as a car which can be recognized by its large dorsal fin and shimmery blue scales. Not prone to going at it alone, the sailfish usually travels with at least one buddy when going out on a hunt. The two fish will use their spear like bills to slash at their prey until it's just them and bloody bits in the sea.
The same whale found after 35 years in the west coast of Mexico
This story of a gray whale popping up in the same area of Mexico 35 years after it was first seen is definitely heart warming, but it's even more shocking when taking into account the whaling industry in the area during the '80s. At their nadir there were only 2,000 California Gray Whales in the Pacific Ocean. It's absolutely wild that this whale managed to survive slaughter during this mini-boom of the whaling era.
Today there are about 20,000 California Gray Whales living off the west coast thanks to accountability treaties between the United States and Mexico, as well as activists that keep a watching on whaling groups. It's not clear if this whale can be seen today, but between December and March whales pop up all over the Pacific after traveling down from Alaska. While in the area they mate and give birth before heading back to their feeding grounds up north.
The sunset over the Giza Pyramids, as seen from Cairo
As one of the seven wonders of the world the pyramids of Giza are an awe inspiring view both in photos and in person. To see the sun coming up or going down over their ancient bricks - even through an Instagram pic - can be enough to lift your spirits and make you believe in the power of pure beauty. Getting the sphinx in view is just an added bonus.
The three main pyramids of Giza feature intricate burial staging areas that were constructed between 2550 and 2490 B.C. That's less than 60 years, can you imagine how hard the Egyptians had to work to get these amazing structures built up? It's exhausting just to think about.
The ultimate staring contest with a giant crocodile
Even if you live in an area populated by crocodiles it's unlikely that you'll come face to face with a giant like the one in this photo. However, if you find yourself staring one down you need to move fast so you don't become lunch. Giant crocodile attacks are rare, but they happen from time to time and they're always terrifying.
In February 2021, human remains were discovered inside the stomach of a giant crocodile off of Queensland, Australia. After a local fisherman went missing some of his remains were discovered near his last known location. After investigators located a 14 foot crocodile in the area it was euthanized and the rest of the man's remains were discovered decomposing in the creatures insides.
The urban legend of Michio Hoshino says this is the last photo he ever took
Did Japanese photographer Michio Hoshino use the final moments of his life take a photo of the bear who mauled him? The story of Hoshino's final moments states that he was mauled to death on the Kamchatka Peninsula while in Russia to photograph brown bears. While this story is true, the photograph that goes along with it is a fabrication of sorts.
The photo seen here that's been attributed to Hoshino is actually an entry into the Worth1000 Photoshop competition. In this contest entrants were tasked with making a "a last-photo hoax." This excellent photo composite was meant to look like it was snapped moments before the person behind the camera bit the dust. It's safe to say that this photo did the trick.
These goats defy gravity
No, these goats didn't accidentally end up on the side of an incredibly high wall only to wonder how they got there. These are ibex goats, animals who instinctually climb wherever they need to in search of salt. As herbivores they don't get enough calcium salts so they climb until they reach salt deposits in the masonry of the walls that they climb.
It just so happens that the walls of the Cigno dam, a hydroelectric power plant, has incredibly salty walls. Zoologist Lucy Cooke explained these salt starved creatures to the BBC:
All animals crave salt, without it your nerves and muscles just don’t function properly and it’s especially important for mums when they’re feeding their young so maybe that’s why you only see females and their kids on this dam.
These little white fluff balls are Honduran white bats that snuggle together in large leaves - not in caves
Honduran white bats may be related to cave dwelling creatures of the night, but they're by far one of the cutest animals on the planet today. Aside from being one of the only species of bat to be covered completely in white fur, their nose and ears are yellow and leaf-shaped which helps them hide in the the jungle. Rather than sleeping in caves they prefer to make tents out of leaves.
These white bats are so comfortable sleeping beneath the leaves of the Helciona plant that they don't leave their homes until they're absolutely certain that a predator is directly on top of them. In fact, they really only leave their homes to mate or eat ficus colubrinae, a species of fig that they can't get enough of. Sadly, this four inch bat is so obsessed with this specific brand of fig that it hasn't learned to forage for other fruits.
This Black timber wolf is ready to attack
Black timber wolves are some of the most interesting and ferocious creatures roaming North America today. Located in and around Yellowstone National Park these black timber wolves are genetically related to both black domestic dogs and gray wolves, a combination that jacks up their melanin until they have an inky color all over their bodies. The cross breeding of domesticated canines and gray wolves only increased the number of black timber wolves in North America.
It's not easy to lock down exactly when black timber wolves started popping up in North America, but a team of researchers from Sweden, Canada, and the United States has determined that wolves with melanism began appearing sometime around 47,000 years ago. That's just an estimate but it shows that long before America was colonized people were breeding dogs and wolves for domestic purposes and ending up with fascinating canine creatures. Today, the black coats of these wolves helps them move nearly undetected through the forests of Yellowstone.
This buff chunky monkey was four times stronger than most humans
If you're wondering just how to get into banging shape like the chimpanzee in this photo we've got bad news for you - chimps are born to be jacked. According to a report from 2017 chimpanzees are 1.5 times stronger than humans when it comes to physical tasks like jumping and pulling. They don't get ripped through hard work and intense training, it's all genetics.
The fibers in the muscles of a chimpanzee are distributed in such a way that they're more apt to look shredded, but they also live in heavily wooded areas so they're constantly climbing and working. Over millions of years they've adapted to a lifestyle of physical activity which makes them stronger and more physically fit than the average person. It's likely that if humans had stayed in the forests that we too would be total hardbodies.
This central Texas town has a bird problem
Every year in Texas, millions of grackles descend on towns throughout the Lone Star State. They perch, they sit, and they watch, and as much as they're an annoying presence to people in the area they're also a part of the culture (albeit a frustrating one). These small black birds can cover a parking lot in refuse just as easily as they can create troubles in airports but no one is sure how to keep them from living their lives without upsetting the fragile ecosystem.
More often than not grackles can be found taking up residence in parking lots and on telephone wires, but why? According to conservation group the Houston Audubon:
Great-tailed grackles are a permanent sight in Houston and can be found in any area inhabited by humans that has some trees. They tend to congregate in large flocks and prefer shopping centers and fast-food store parking lots where there’s trash for food and trees or light posts for perching.
This Deep Sea Jellyfish Looks Like It Came From Outer Space
With much of the ocean going undiscovered, there's so little that we know about the creatures who live beneath the water. The deeper we go into the ocean the more interesting and strange the creatures become, especially jellyfish. The few specimens that we've been been able to study have given us very little information about exactly why they've evolved into the odd creatures that they are.
Deep sea jellyfish take on a variety of sizes and shapes, confounding researchers. In 2020, an incredibly large "stringy" jellyfish was discovered just over 600 meters below the ocean's surface in its inky deep. According to researchers at the Schmidt Ocean Institute the creature is "UFO-like" and one of the largest ever recorded.
This exquisitely mummified dinosaur in a museum in Canada has scientists astounded
In 2017, the 18 foot long mummified skeleton of a nodosaur was put on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada. It's not odd that the nodosaur is all that large, that's just part and parcel for dinosaurs. The thing that's the most fascinating about this fossil is how well preserved it is.
The mummified remains of the nodusaur are 110 million years, and while most dinosaur remains of this age are strictly made of bones this fossil is covered in fossilized skin that acts as "intact body armor." The nodosaur was a four-legged herbivore that clomped around the earth with its thick, armor-like skin. It even had spikes all over its body for protection. This creature was discovered in 2011 but it took a solid six years to excavate this 2,500 pound monster from the ground.
This flying demon is full of surprises 🦇
The size of this giant golden crowned flying fox makes it seem as if it's a monster from the nighttime realm, but in actuality it's a fairly docile creature. It makes sense that people are freaked out by this large bat, it definitely looks scary, but there's nothing about this animal that poses a threat to humans. This bat feasts on figs and nuts, it's hardly the blood drinking creepy that many people are expecting when they first see it.
This species of a "megabat" is found in the Philippines, and with their wingspan of five and a half feet they can black out the sky when they and they thousands of brethren take to the sky. That is, when they do take to the sky. More often than not these animals just like to chill in the trees and enjoy their vegan diet.
This green snake wrapped itself around the Great White Herons beak to prevent the bird from eating it
This photo of nature in battle with itself shows just the way that not everything in the wild is as it seems. Even though this heron is much larger than the snake it's fighting, the snake seems to have the upper hand (at least for the moment). Taken by photographer Jose Garcia, this shot was one of the most beloved photos in the British Trust for Ornithology competition.
According to Garcia he watched the fight play out for nearly half and hour, the perfect amount of time to take some stellar shots. He explained that the green snake made it away safely but it was a fight none the less:
The fight lasted for nearly 20 minutes with the heron having to release its prey.
This kid is never going to forget his trip to the zoo
There's something fun about a trip to the zoo. It's always exciting to see animals in a habitat that resembles their own, especially when the animals decide to get up close and personal. However, it's safe to say that getting faux-mauled by a giant tiger isn't exactly how anyone wants to spend their afternoon.
Zoo attacks are rare but they do happen. In 2020, a tiger mauled a zookeeper in Zurich in front of his staff and the zoo's visitors. As much as we don't want to think that the animals that live in zoos are aggressive we forget that these are wild animals with instincts that can't be erased. It's definitely for the best that this kid was protected by a glass wall.
This lava pit looks like it's sucking the souls of the damned into Hell
The twisted coils of blackened lava, the jagged hole revealing a wealth of fire and flames in its depths, could this be a portal to the underworld? Not quite. This photo from the U.S. Geological Survey of the West Kamokuna lava flow skylight in Hawaii captures one of the most interesting phenomenon on Earth: the lava skylight.
A lava flow skylight occurs when an opening in the roof of a lava tube collapses, providing a look into the flow of lava below. In many cases the crust laden roof is too thin to support itself and it caves in, exposing the lava below. While they make look like a vision into hell they also provide a rare look into the what happens beneath a volcano, something that most people never get a chance to see.
This little piggy did not make it to the market
Seeing a pig go for a tumble out of a truck along the highway has to be devastating to witness. Not only is it awful to see a cute animal like this go flying, but knowing that they're hurting themselves without realizing exactly what's happening to them is heart breaking. Thankfully in some cases the pigs survive, albeit with injuries.
In 2019, a pig fell into traffic going 65 mph on Nebraska's Interstate-80. It hit the ground and started rolling and thankfully it was saved by a motorists who didn't feel like having bacon that day. State Trooper Mark White was on the scene. He reported:
He was breathing pretty hard when we put him in the backseat of the car but by the time we got him to the Humane Society he was pretty calm and I think he was taking a nap.
This moose may have survived a lightning strike ⚡
What in the world happened to this moose? Some viewers believe that this Anchorage local was struck by lightning, it certainly looks like it survived a cataclysmic event. However, it's unclear if the moose was struck by lightning or if it had to face another kind of hardship.
The moose has all but disappeared from the Anchorage area so no one has been able to study it since it popped up in 2014. Originally viewers believed that it been mauled by a bear, but researchers think that it's actually suffering from some kind of parasitic infestation. Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, a veterinarian told the Anchorage Daily News:
Unfortunately -- well, fortunately for the moose -- we weren't able to catch up with it. Without a biopsy and some diagnostics, it is impossible to say what originally caused the skin lesions so speculation is just that: speculations.
This tornado that was caught on camera near Oklahoma City back in 1898
As devastating as the tornado in this photo from the 19th century looks to be, it's hardly the real deal. While a tornado did touch down in Waynoka, Oklahoma, in 1898 this photo is a composite of the tornado in question and a few stand-ins. The photo in question was submitted to the Monthly Weather Review claiming to show the tornado, but the editors knew it was a fake.
When the editors received the photo they knew that they were being deceived, and rather than publish it they wrote out this statement:
We have watched with interest and curiosity the efforts of some manipulators of the camera to reproduce the phenomena of nature in all her varying moods. There can be no particular fault found with the enterprise of the photographer, be he amateur or professional, who sallies forth at high noon, or soon thereafter, and under the friendly shadow of an accommodating cloud makes moonlight views by the score. We confess, too, that we can pass into the waste basket without hesitation the many poor attempts to fabricate the funnel cloud of a tornado. We received one such not very long ago from Mr. Connor. It was better than the average, and instead of going into the trash basket it went into a convenient drawer.
Tippi Hedren and her tiger Gregory on the set of her film, Roar 1981
Tippi Hedren is no stranger to being attacked by animals on the set of her films. She was famously scratched and pecked by birds on the set of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but while filming Roar with Noel Marshall, Hedren and her cast and crew were bitten and grabbed by tigers and other massive cats. Supposedly more than 70 people were injured on the set, but no real number has ever been released.
While speaking about the film with Variety, Hedren noted that it's insane that anyone survived the shooting of Roar:
I don’t know how we survived it. Our nine-month shoot turned into five years. We were one on one with those big cats. They’re dangerous animals and they’re big. As I made the movie I got into the issue of stopping the government from allowing people to breed lions and tigers as pets. They shouldn’t be pets. They’re apex predators, top of the food chain, one of four of the most dangerous animals in the world.
Two lions battling for supremacy... only one can win
Welcome to Thunderdome, where two lions enter and one lion leaves. When male lions go to battle with one another it's either for two things: a mate or territory. These lions will often fight to the death over what they want, not ceding defeat until they're bloody and beaten on the floor of the plains.
The most devastating thing about a battle between two lions is the way an invading alpha will treat a new pride. If he defeats the current alpha lion then the first thing he does is kill the cubs of the pride to cement his dominance. It's a horrible thing to do but it's the way that nature goes.
Underwater Waterfalls of Mauritius, where the sands from the shores are carried into the depths of the ocean
The beautiful glory of the underwater waterfalls of Mauritius is hard to wrap your head around. Is it an optical illusion? Or is just the result of a perfect natural situation? It's actually kind of both and it's absolutely stunning that something like this can happen.
There's not actually a waterfall here. What viewers are witnessing is sand that's constantly in movement. Mauritius sits on an ocean shelf on top of a gradual slope that ends in a 4,000 meter drop. Silt deposits are constantly in motion, which makes it look like the clear blue waters surrounding the island are a part of an underground water fall.
Volcano Eruption In Chile
One of the most astounding volcanoes in South America is the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile. Its destructive displays of power have been witnessed by thousands, and its terrifying plumes have pushed residents in the area out of their homes out of fear of their own destruction. In the 2000s this volcano started bubbling back to life, surprising researchers and locals.
Chile isn't a stranger to volcanic activity. With 90 active volcanoes in the country its citizens are more than used to the fiery destruction, but no one loves having to evacuate their homes. The one positive of seeing all of these exploding forms of nature is getting a chance to catch volcanic lightning on a semi-regular basis.
Water density, temperature and salinity of the glacial melt water and the off shore waters of Gulf of Alaska makes them too difficult to mix
This photo is definitely a head scratcher: is it two oceans smashing into each other or something much more odd? This shot shows the Copper River flowing into the Gulf of Alaska, but something is keeping them from mixing. That something is the difference in their organic makeup.
The Copper River is a fresh water entity that's full of glacial silt, while the Gulf is thick with salt water and organic matter. When the two bodies of water meet there's a visible break in the Gulf and River. This kind of thing happens all over the world but it's rare to see it in such a stunning delineation.
Water spout in Tampa Bay Florida
If you've never seen a waterspout before you may be wondering what exactly you're looking at. Is it a tornado? Is it an opitcal illusion? Or is it something else all together? Waterspouts are more or less water tornadoes but far less powerful. They don't last as long as land tornadoes but they're just a horrifying.
When these bad boys make it to the surface they can cause extreme damage, which is why it's good that they only last for about 10 minutes tops. If a person or a boat was caught in one of these spouts it would be lights out immediately. Not only can you be flung in every direction by one of these things, but you can drown as well.
What would you do if this was your bike 🐝🐝🐝
How would you handle this situation? Let's say you biked over to your favorite coffee shop for a shot of espresso and when you get back to your ride the seat is covered with bees. Do you run? Do you spray it with bug repellant? Or do you just decide to get a new bike and let the bees win?
Apparently this kind of thing happens a lot. In 2009, a guy in Los Angeles found his seat brimming with bees and the surefire way to take care of a problem like this is to call over your local bee keeper who can help move them to somewhere less dangerous. It's nice to know that there is a way to fix this if it ever happens to you.
When upset, baby elephants throw themselves into the mud like a child having a temper tantrum
Elephants may be giant gray beasts with wild looking noses but they're more like us than you can imagine. Baby elephants get frustrated with obeying their parents and they even throw temper tantrums when they're upset. Of course, their tantrums are a little bigger than a human toddler's.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust explains that these kinds of tantrums are just par for the course to raising a baby elephant:
Elephants also display many of the attributes of humans as well as some of the failings. They share with us a strong sense of family and death and they feel many of the same emotions. Each one is, of course, like us, a unique individual with its own unique personality.
Where did everybody go?
It's becoming more and more routine for bears to make appearances in suburban backyards, especially as neighborhoods continue to encroach on wildlife areas. It may seem strange to see a bear cub on a playground slide but it makes sense. Not only are bears naturally curious, but kids of all species love to play around even if they don't know what their toys are called.
People living in areas that are close to a bear's natural habitats might be used to seeing something like this but it's never not shocking. Imagine walking into your backyard and seeing a scene like this. Even if the bear isn't acting wild it's still hard to know what to do in this situation.
You wouldn't want to get lost on this country road in Northern Ireland
Whether you know this spot from television or just from the internet, it looks like the kind of place that you wouldn't want to go by yourself in the middle of the night. Oddly enough, the curved trees around this Irish road were originally planted to be inviting to strangers, not to be off putting. Planted as the lead up to Gracehill House by James Stuart in 1775, these trees still draw travelers to this day.
Originally, Stuart planted 150 trees in 1775. About 90 of those trees remain in differing states of health, and the Irish government is doing everything it can to keep them alive for as long as possible. No one is allowed to drive down the road where Dark Hedges can be found, but photography is welcome.
You're looking at a spider’s foot under an electron microscope
It's true, this is an image of a spider's very sticky foot beneath an electron microscope. When they're traipsing around your home on the hunt for some tasty bugs to munch on spiders are using their feet to cling to surfaces. The most interesting thing about a spider's ability to wall crawl is that they use science to do it.
According to biomechanics expert Andrew Martin, spiders use electrostatic attraction between molecules to crawl on walls and up their webs. Martin says that spiders can support 173 times its body weight while upside down. Martin's co-researcher Fritz Vollrath noted:
Actually having to hang on for dear life is not a big deal for a spider. But having to hold on to prey that it's been stalking for 20 minutes is a different kettle of fish.
You've heard of a waterfall but what about a sandfall?
Everyone knows about waterfalls, they're old news at this point. But sandfalls are an entirely different enchilada. When videos of this amazing natural occurrence began to surface in the 2010s many people assumed that they were a hoax or just an optical illusion. That's not exactly the case, but a sandfall isn't the same thing as a water but with sand.
There are multiple reasons for a sandfall in Saudia Arabia. The country may not have rivers, but there are plenty of dry riverbeds. After a rainstorm they flood and the water picks up all of the sand in the riverbed and carries it down "stream." This makes it look like a waterfall is happening but with sand. It's believed that climate change is at least somewhat responsible for the sandfalls but more research is needed to get to the bottom of this phenomenon.