For many people animals are fluffy things which seem to have been designed for the express purpose of creating hilarious clips to watch in their lunch break. But as Tennyson put it, nature is also red in tooth, claw and probably horrifically freakish spindly legs too.
Yep, for every doe eyed kitten fail the animal kingdom also has more than it’s fair share of John McClanes, creatures that straight up don’t give a crap and love sticking it to the man or whatever other hapless being strays into their path.
From immortal jellyfish to shrews that could drink you under the table, here are Mpora’s top animal badasses.
Forget comic book heroes like this one, real wolverines make Hugh Jackman look like a complete pussy.
Honest, beneath that cutesy exterior lurks the heart of a cold blooded killer.
That’s more like it. The wolverine is what you get if you cross a puppy with a bear trap. At just 1 metre long you’d expect this mini monster to be the one getting bullied in the animal playground, but it’s actually him handing out the wedgies.
And by wedgies we mean tearing chunks out of the other screaming animals as he eats them alive.
The wolverine is one of nature’s optimists, and clearly missed the memo about how animals the size of a small child aren’t supposed to take on grizzly bears.
It shows almost no fear. If there’s something it fancies a nibble on it just pops over and takes a bite. And if there’s anybody already eating that thing it takes a bite out of them too.
Wolverines have been known to take on caribou, moose and even wolves. And that’s just for breakfast.
The Immortal Jellyfish
No we didn’t make that name up, this jellyfish, which goes by the latin name of Turritopsis dohrnii, is almost unstoppable. Like a boneless mutant love child of the Terminator and Terry Crews this marine medusa just won’t die.
Blessed with one of the weirdest lifecycles in the whole of nature, the immortal jellyfish is capable of changing from a fully grown adult into an earlier childlike stage and back again via a process called transdifferentiation, which basically means it can change its cells rapidly from one type into another.
The jellyfish does this in response to stress or physical attack making it biologically immortal.
The Hercules Beetle
Been down the gym recently? Feeling pretty good about how many reps you can do? Then just be glad this guy doesn’t have a membership.
The Hercules beetle can lift more than 80 times its own body weight making it the world’s strongest creature relative to its size. Thankfully it’s only 17cm long, though that’s still pretty freaky for something that looks like it escaped from a horror movie.
To put this in perspective a human weightlifter can shift about 17 times their own body weight, meaning that if the beetle was human sized it could bench around 68 tonnes without breaking a sweat. Which is pretty much the entire gym with you in it.
The Honey Badger
The honey badger is another one of those cute at first glance critters that turn nasty when your back is turned.
Honey Badgers will happily take on everything from leopards and African bees to coyotes and monitor lizards, in fact these badgers are so badass that the British army had to officially deny releasing them into Iraq.
In the clip above a peckish honey badger nicknamed ‘Little Man’ is taking a gentle stroll through the bush looking for something with a pulse to eat when he chances upon a puff adder. For those not in the know the puff kills more people in Africa each year than any other snake, using deadly venom and lightning fast strikes.
This particular adder has just bagged itself a gerbil which the Little Man decides would make a great start to his evening meal. Having swiped his furry snack from the poisonous and increasingly pissed off coil of death in front of him, he finishes his dining at a leisurely pace and then starts looking for a main course – which in this case turns out to be the snake.
Why on earth the slithering idiot didn’t slip out during Little Man’s starter is beyond us, but pretty soon the pair are locked in a battle to the death.
pretty soon the pair are locked in a battle to the death.
It’s claws versus fangs and eventually claws wins but not before the snake bites Little Man in the face, injecting enough poison to swell the badger’s cheek to the size of a tennis ball.
Sitting down to enjoy the spoils our stripy hero pauses mid bite and passes out as the poison finally gets to work. However, just two hours later he’s back on his feet, shrugging off the venom coma and enjoying the end of his snake supper.
We’d love to see what he had for dessert.
The Pentailed Treeshrew
So you think you can drink? Maybe 7 or 8 pints a night and a couple of shots? Well how does 12 pints of 100 per cent beer every night for the rest of your life sound?
Meet the Malaysian pentailed tree shrew. This diminutive forest dweller spends pretty much all day knocking back the shrew equivalent of special brew then goes to sleep ready to get up and do it all over again.
Next time you’re down the pub, remember there’s a tiny shrew out there that could drink you under the table.
That’s right, the tiny thing with the big staring eyes is basically on a bender that lasts its entire life, supping fermented nectar from the bertam palm.
The craziest thing is that the shrew does all this without actually getting drunk, which means that despite a diet that consists entirely of alcohol he’ll never end up like this:
So next time you’re down the pub emptying a few glasses with your mates, just remember there’s a tiny shrew out there that could drink you under the table.
And with that adorable little mug he’ll probably get further with the ladies too.
OK, the normal reaction to a cockroach is somewhere between vomiting and reaching for the nearest can of deodorant and a lighter. But these bugs are actually pretty amazing.
Voted one of the creatures most likely to survive a nuclear holocaust, cockroaches have a whole arsenal of super powers at their disposal.
They can hold their breath for 45 minutes, go for more than a month without food and survive temperatures down to -8C, but the real kicker? They can stay alive for weeks without a head.
They can stay alive for weeks without a head
This is because roaches breathe through little holes called spiracles which are located all over their body and so don’t need a head to regulate their breathing. Also the cockroach’s blood pressure is so low that a nasty injury like decapitation can actually scab over and heal.
Without a head the body is still capable of avoiding threats and ‘escape behaviour’. There are videos of this on YouTube but we want you to be able to sleep again at some point.
Scientists have also observed detached heads happily waggling their antenna hours after being removed from the body and theorise that with food and refrigeration this period could be prolonged, though why you would want to is anyone’s guess.
Presumably at some point the dismembered corpse finally dies of starvation or boredom. Either way that gives us a fighting chance when they finally come to take over the earth.
The Pistol Shrimp
Don’t let size fool you, Bruce Lee has got nothing on this little fella. A one inch punch is nothing to a creature that can just click its fingers to knock you out.
The pistol shrimp’s oversized right arm is actually a sonic cannon so powerful it can knock prey out from 4cm away.
As it prepares to attack the shrimp cocks it’s claws just like the hammer on a gun and then closes them at 60mph, producing tiny bubbles that collapse, causing an explosive process called cavitation which sends a sonic shockwave pulsing through the water.
The claw click takes less than one millisecond which is so fast that it creates light called sonoluminescence (invisible to the human eye), sound loud enough to rupture your ear drum and heat of around 5,000C which is almost as hot as the face of the sun.
So yeah, there’s a shrimp out there with a lazer death ray instead of an arm. Just be glad he’s only the size of a your little finger.
The Barnacle Gosling
We’ve saved he best for last. This is one of the most badass creatures in the animal kingdom. Not convinced? Just wait til the little feller gets his game face on.
There that’s better isn’t it?
This is the barnacle gosling, a creature so squishy and innocent looking it seems like it would fall apart if you stared at it too hard. Pillow stuffing potential aside though, this is one of the most hardcore base jumpers you’ll ever meet.
So a basic base jump goes something like this. Pick your jump site, prepare your chute, launch off into space and then rip that chord, popping the carefully packed canopy for a gentle, controlled landing.
For the gosling life is a little simpler, it just steps off the ledge and plummets 400ft until it lands on its face. If you’re wondering what that feels like, here’s a human trying the same thing:
For the gosling there’s no picking the ideal spot or checking if the wind direction is right. There’s also no finely manufactured safety equipment or even a soft patch of ground to aim for.
At the age of just three days old all the little guy has to look forward to is a stomach churning drop followed by a bone crunching landing on the rocks below, all while being yelled at by his parents.
Thankfully these baby heroes are designed to take the blows as they weigh almost nothing and are packed with feathery down which cushions the blow meaning they can fall the equivalent of 40 storeys and live to tell the tale. Sadly (and perhaps inevitably) some of these little guys don’t survive the landing, and others are injured becoming easy prey for local foxes.
But facing all that and still jumping is what makes them the ultimate animal badass. We’re not afraid to admit we’d rather trade places with this guy than with that little goose…