These Animals Have Really Bizarre Defence Mechanisms

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Mother Nature should teach a design class. From blood to bones to barf, there’s nothing animals won’t use to keep their spot on evolution’s guest list. Here are six creatures that have what it takes to survive as a species:

Malaysian Exploding Ant

anti-predator-1

In the animal kingdom, desperate times call for explosive measures. When faced with trouble, the Malaysian exploding ant clenches its abdomen, building pressure until its noggin nukes the enemy with a powerful, stinging venom. The substance can easily blind, paralyse, or kill animals several times the ant’s size. But this weapon isn’t always a last resort. Colonies are known to dispatch senior soldiers on search and destroy missions to eliminate looming dangers. Talk about taking one for the team.

Eurasian Roller

Credit: Francesco Veronesi
Credit: Francesco Veronesi

There are some things even a hungry predator won’t eat. Baby Eurasian rollers will gladly puke all over itself to keep from becoming a meal. Their orange, goopy vomit also signals for mom and dad to return home and protect their messy kids. Whatever works, you filthy featherbrains.

Texas Horned Lizard

Credit: Steve Hillebrand/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Credit: Steve Hillebrand/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This rugged reptile packs an impressive repertoire of defences. It can blend in with its surroundings, bloat itself up into a spiky ball, and blast fierce jets of blood from its eyes and mouth. The chemicals in the blood are foul enough to send the bravest predators in the opposite direction.

Spanish Ribbed Newt

Credit: David Perez
Credit: David Perez

Who needs a chiropractor when you can rearrange your skeleton at will? The Spanish ribbed newt can stab itself from the inside out with its own rib bones to create poisonous spikes. After the enemy flees or becomes a rib-kebab, the newt simply puts its bones back and goes about its business.

Hagfish

Credit: Linda Snook, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Credit: Linda Snook, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This faceless fish existed long before the dinosaurs, and they owe it all to their beauty–err, super sticky goop attack. When spooked, the hagfish expels an immensely thick goo that clogs enemies’ gills, suffocating them. Not even sharks can stand up to this caliber of slime. In fact, the hagfish sometimes gets stuck in its own mess. Luckily, it can twist and turn its way free.

Boxer Crab

Credit: Rickard Zerpe/Flickr
Credit: Rickard Zerpe/Flickr

It may be a lightweight, but the boxer crab has a neat trick. It prefers to attack not with its bare pincers, but with sea anemone boxing gloves. Few predators will stick around to get hit with these poisonous punches. The anemones don’t mind, either – they get to move around and find more eats. When they can’t find anemones, boxer crabs will make do with corals, sponges, or just about any other nearby invertebrate.