Nature’s Top 5 Weirdest Defense Mechanisms
Defence mechanisms are the ways in which animals have evolved to protect themselves against danger. There are many ways they can do this – camouflage like a snake or playing dead like an opossum. Here are the top five of the strangest defence mechanisms nature has to offer!
- The Camponotus saundersi ant has one of the most insane overreactions in mother nature. Their large mandibular functions as a gland that produces sticky toxic secretion, and when the ant is threatened, it squeezes its abdomen to burst open the gland and spray it over the potential attacker and leaving it immobilised.
- The Texas horned lizard will squirt blood out of its eyes when faced with a predator. The two muscles around the major blood vessel in its eye contract and cut off blood to the heart and allowing it to build up in the head. The pressure builds in the ocular sinus until the membrane is ruptured, shooting a jet stream of blood that can reach up to 4 feet! It doesn’t harm the reptile and it can be repeated multiple times without harming the lizard.
- This newt contracts its body and forces its ribs out of its skin, each time breaking the skin and forcing the spikes outwards. In extreme cases, the newt has the ability to lace the ends of the bones with poison – making it an even deadlier defence mechanisms.
- When disturbed, millipedes of the genus Motyxia will secrete cyanide from small holes running across its body, making it dangerous for predators to touch or attempt to eat.
- The Bombardier beetle is incredibly inventive – it sprays a foul-smelling poisonous fluid from its anus. This liquid heats to almost 100°C and is sprayed over the attacker.
For more amazing science and technology news, check out issue 99 of How It Works. Pick up your copy from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!