10 incredible animals

The world’s wildlife has undergone a number of changes in their never-ending quest for survival, and some species have developed skills and strategies that have to be seen to be believed.



These curious creatures have pushed the boundaries of animal prowess – from a regenerating rodent to a snake that soars through the air…

1. Horned lizards can shoot blood from their eyes

20% intriguing, 80% disgusting, three species of horned lizards can deliberately rupture a series of blood-filled sinuses around their eye sockets and squirt blood at attackers. It is not poisonous or corrosive, but predators understandably find it unpleasant.

2. Lyrebirds can imitate almost any sound

In Australia they are so admired that they adorn the 10 cent coin. Lyrebirds have developed an extraordinary ability for mimicry and can imitate almost any sound with their elastic vocal cords.

3. Spiny mice can regenerate most of their appearance

The rodent answer to Deadpool: These deceptively cute critters shed their skin when attacked (similar to a human slipping out of a jacket) and then regenerate tissue, including hair follicles, sweat glands, cartilage and fur. Regeneration is common in reptiles and amphibians (salamanders can regrow entire limbs), but among mammals the spiny mouse stands alone.

4. Dolphins can probably tell if you’re pregnant

Anecdotal evidence suggests that dolphins have a particular interest in pregnant women – swimming up to their bellies and emitting loud buzzing sounds – and some experts believe their echolocation works in a similar way to a medical ultrasound. Dolphins may seem cute and cuddly, but their special abilities are a little scary.

5. Pit vipers can see in infrared

You know those thermal cameras that nature programs use to film at night, or the heat-sensitive telescopes in games like Call Of Duty? Pit vipers have recesses in their heads that allow them to detect infrared radiation up to a meter away, meaning they can literally see in the dark. Fascinating for scientists; terrifying to mice.

6. Octopus camouflage can be absolutely outrageous

Get over chameleons, because cephalopods are without a doubt nature’s true masters of disguise. The mimic octopus can change not only color but also shape and texture to blend in with the seabed, and can effectively imitate other ocean dwellers such as sea snakes or lionfish.

7. Alpine ibexes can virtually ignore gravity

Thanks to specialized hooves, a fearless nature and absolutely impeccable balance, Alpine ibexes are among the greatest climbers the world has ever known. In 2011, they became an internet sensation for somehow climbing the 50-meter-high, nearly vertical Cingino Dam in Italy to lick salt deposits off the rocks. It just looks… wrong.

8. Naked mole rats have ridiculous survival skills

Blind, hairless, subterranean and disgusting, it’s hard to believe that the naked mole rat could really be the strongest and most overpowered species on Earth. They can survive almost 20 minutes without oxygen, are virtually immune to all forms of cancer, have a lifespan of up to 32 years (most rats live about two years), and literally feel no pain.

9. Dragon centipedes spray their enemies with cyanide

Yes, That cyanide. This spiky, strikingly pink species can produce and secrete venom from specialized glands, making them deadly to medium-sized predators. The extremely toxic cyanide apparently has no effect on the centipedes, but only makes them smell strongly of almonds.

10. There is a snake that can fly (no, really)

Okay, “gliding” might be more accurate, but the aptly named flying snake can and will fly 100 yards or more through the air. The snakes launch themselves from the tips of branches, flatten their bodies into an S-shape and determine the course of their flight by undulating back and forth. Insert a Snakes On A Plane reference at your leisure.

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