Everyone loves a good action movie right? An epic hero taking down endless bad guys with nothing but his trusty handcannon for company. From Die Hard to Terminator a large serving of fiery explosions and wall-to-wall gunfire has kept cinema audiences glued to their seats for the last few decades.
But although you might think messrs Willis and Schwarzenegger paved the way, in fact Mother Nature herself was there first. Check out this motley cast of armed and dangerous creatures, all packing their own unique brand of firepower.
1) Bums Away
Kicking off this animal hit list is the bombardier beetle, which didn’t get its name because of its cute eyes and fluffy temperament.
Much like its military namesake, the bombardier beetle has one purpose in life and that’s to destroy stuff.
Unfortunately for its victims this little critter doesn’t come equipped with plastic explosives, so anyone that messes with it gets covered in super heated, caustic bum juice instead.
The beetle mixes chemicals in its abdomen which produce a nearly boiling liquid that sprays out of the bombardier’s backside, covering its enemies and burning them to death.
The gunk is so powerful that it can even hurt humans too, and the beetle has to pulse the spray 500 times a second just to prevent its own butt getting cooked.
Imagine the morning after the world’s hottest vindaloo and you’re probably still not even close. No wonder this little guy’s a bit irritable!
2) First Blood
So you’re about to get punched in the face, do you A: Scream like a frog and run away or B: Squirt blood from your face all over your attacker?
To be fair those are both pretty weird options but if you went for the blood thing, congratulations! You’re probably a horned lizard.
These reptilian reprobates often use their spiky bodies and camouflaged skin to evade attackers, but when that doesn’t work they resort to bursting fragile capiliaries in their eyes.
The resulting jet of blood is both frighteningly noxious and accurate with a range of up to 5 feet.
Canine and feline predators are both disgusted and confused by this defence while humans tend to run off screaming as they experience Freudian flashbacks to their own birth.
3) Silent But Violent
Cute though this little guy is, you knew he was gonna make the list. Nature’s undisputed king of stink has a butt full of sulphurous liquid that would make an open sewer full of rotting fish and used gym socks seem like a field full of flowers.
What makes it worse is that this little monstrosity packs a pair of anal scent glands that can shoot up to 10 feet.
The fetid nipples are alarmingly accurate and able to create almost a 180 degree arc of fire, which means that you’re only safe if the black and white stink bomb is facing you.
Thankfully skunks pack just 15cc of the noxious yellow mix at a time (enough for about 5 or 6 sprays) and this takes up to 10 days to replenish, so if you’re lucky you can clobber him before he reloads.
4) James Pond
At 6 inches long, the archer fish is another creature whose tiny size belies his impressive firepower.
This monochrome mariner has the ability to fire jets of water from its mouth with pinpoint accuracy, knocking small insects off overhanging branches and onto the dinner table.
The archer fish is a crack shot, judging the quantity and speed of the water required to create the biggest impact possible on targets up to 5 feet away.
To put this into perspective that’s like you being able to spit with enough force and accuracy to knock someone out 60ft away, which would simultaneously make this both the world’s most impressive yet disgusting party trick.
5) Enter The Dragon
The Dragon Millipede (how awesome is that name right?) might look like like a neon disco decoration from the 80s, but it packs a lethal punch.
The vibrantly coloured arthropod hails from Thailand and while it sadly can’t breath fire, it could still take you down.
This spiny pink creature produces cyanide which weirdly makes it smell like almonds.
Some web sources claim that it can actually spit the salty poison at its enemies too, which would make it an absolute nightmare if it ever got hayfever.
Admittedly one woodland ant on its own isn’t really a problem, but when you get enough of them together they can do this:
That’s formic acid, a whole cloud of the stuff which the ants fire out of their abdomens to scare off predators. The corrosive juice is actually named after the word for ant (formica) which was where people first got hold of it, by cooking up the little critters’ bodies.
In concentrated form the acid is strong enough to melt human skin and it smells pretty bad too which is a weird quality for something we use to clean our loos.
7) Hairy Hunter
Having a bad hair day? How about a bad hair life?
Most people already give tarantulas a pretty wide birth, but for those brave souls who venture too close, this hirsute hit-man has another trick up one of its 8 sleeves.
Packed onto the spider’s rear end are a series of urticating hairs which the spider can kick off like some tiny hairdressing ninja, straight into the face of unsuspecting enemies.
Each one of these toxic strands is covered in barbs which make them stick to their victim, killing smaller creatures outright and causing serious problems for larger targets if they make contact with eyes or respiratory systems.
The ability to fire poisonous hairs from your body when you’re out of ammo would certainly help Arnie out of a few sticky situations, though it might not be so useful for Bruce:
8) Sonic Boom
Who needs a machine gun when you’ve got a sonic deathray for a right arm?
The pistol shrimp comes equipped with possible the coolest piece of firepower in the animal kingdom. Its oversized right claw is capable of closing so fast that it can generate heat over 4700°C – which is almost as hot as the sun.
To perform this feat the shrimp cocks its thumb just like the hammer on a gun and snaps it shut in less than a millisecond, creating a tiny ‘bubble bullet’ which travels at more than 60mph, knocking out fish and even breaking glass.
The noise created by the shrimp’s trigger finger reaches up to 218 decibels, making it one of the loudest creatures in the sea, and it also produces a burst of light called sonoluminescence.
Being able to create a flashbang just by clicking your fingers? Now that’s firepower!
9) He Is The Law
Any animal that looks this daft could hardly be called threatening, but this bouffed buffoon actually has an arsenal of weaponry that would make Judge Dredd envious.
The humble llama come strapped with its own built-in firearm, capable of firing a variety of different ammo depending on what challenge the four legged beast is facing.
Hilarious (and probably well deserved) though that clip is, this is just a warning shot from a llama. Equipped with three stomach compartments, the camelid chooses which one to take ammo from based on how threatened it feels.
Early warning shots can be little more than saliva and air but at the other end of the spectrum you can get a full wad of pungent, rotting, part-digested grass (or whatever else the animal has been eating) as the llama reaches for the big guns right from the deepest recesses of its gut.
Mess with a bull and you get the horns but mess with a llama and you get yesterday’s lunch.
Bullets are pretty horrific, but as every action hero knows you can get shot almost anywhere a few times and just shrug it off if you’re manly enough.
That being said, even the sturdiest of action heroes would find life difficult with a face full of poison, but that’s just what nature is serving up over in Africa.
The Mozambique spitting cobra can fire twin jets of poison out of both its fangs straight into the face of any assailant.
The snake’s venom is toxic enough that just one drop causes serious pain and even blindness which is why this serpent shakes its head back and forth while spitting, so that it can get as much poison in your eyes as possible. What a git.
11) OAP Ordinance
Termites are pretty freaky looking to start with and termite soldiers come equipped with a pretty impressive set of gnashers to see off enemies with.
Some members of this industrious species actually have a gunk cannon in their face called a fontenellar gun which sprays sticky, toxic glue over everything trapping and slowly killing its victims.
Yet despite this unpleasant range of weaponry, there is an even more impressive example of termite firepower which has secured the insects their place on this list and honestly we couldn’t make it up.
These very creepy crawlies send OAPs from the colony out as suicide bombers.
As worker termites age they develop tiny blue ‘backpacks’ filled with copper and saliva which creates a poison that is deadly to the termite’s enemies.
These elderly time bombs grab their tiny termite walking sticks and head out onto the battlefield where the sacks of poisonous goo burst when they are attacked, covering everything in sticky death and intestines.
The older the termite the more deadly the poison – which means that Danny Glover was wrong after all…