Most of you are well aware of our stance on nature here at Cracked: We're against it.
It's scary, it's weird and it keeps trying to kill us. Mother Nature is the world's greatest supervillain, and her cruelty is only outweighed by her deviousness. Sure, none of the diabolical predators below will hurt you personally--that we know of--but just imagine what some of the poor victims go through when these crazy-ass organic ninjas strike.
#6. The Glow Worm Cave
Imagine that you're a moth in New Zealand (please, as if you weren't already). You're whirling around in the dark one night, thinking moth thoughts--how much you like light, you wish you had some light, isn't light great--when you accidentally blunder into a cave. No worries, happens all the time. You don't exactly have GPS here; you're just a stupid moth. So you turn right around and hey! There's the sky right there! I guess you weren't in a cave after all! Isn't being a moth great?
You spread your wings and spiral up, up into that sparkling sea of stars... and smack your face right into one.
Oh god, did you finally do it?! You did! You flew towards the sky-lights so hard that you actually reached it!
You turn to flap away to brag to your moth friends back home, but something is pulling you back. As you're hauled up into the heavens themselves, your last sensation is of something long and slimy chewing its way into your sides.
Considered a stunning tourist attraction by us humans, the dazzling lightshow of the Glow Worm Cave is more like a lesson in nature's callous brutality. What appears to be the fanciful twinkling of the night sky there is actually the dangling mucus strands of fungus gnat maggots illuminated by colonies of bacteria.
The ropes of maggot phlegm operate on the same cunning principle as your porch light, confusing nocturnal insects who navigate by the light of the stars and moon. Once they feel a tug on their festive blue boogers, the maggots reel in the trap, eat the bug and then lower it again once they're done. So yes, it's a wonderful, magical destination; go ahead, grab the whole family to take a gander at H.P. Lovecraft's Carnivorous Christmas lights.
#5. Blister Beetle Grubs
You're a male Habropoda pallida, a type of solitary bee, and we're all very impressed that you're using the Internet right now. But let's play pretend, shall we? Let's say you're out there flitting about in nature, when you happen to glance down and spot a female. You bumble* your way down in typical horny bee fashion to show that honey* what a stinger can do (we don't really understand bee anatomy; the stinger is the penis, right?), but something's not right. It feels different. It feels... wrong.
*Yes, those were bee-based puns, and yes, you're welcome.
That's because you just boned a giant blob of hairy, squirming, baby-eating worms. But... why? Do bees even have tequila? Why on Earth did you do that?
Because broods of the parasitic blister beetle, Meloe franciscanus, fooled you: They clumped together in approximately the shape of a female bee, and then released a pheromone to entice presumably wasted bees with low standards buzzing their way home from last call.
So while the bee tries in vain to find a vagina in a ball of worms, the grubs latch onto his fur and stay there until the next time he mates with an actual female, at which point they'll transfer to her body and hitch a ride back to the bee nursery, free to feast upon the helpless infants within.
So in summation: Meloe franciscanus are, essentially, living parasitic STDS. You couldn't have a worse sexual experience if you went down on C'thulu against a dumpster in the alleyway behind a crackhouse. You ruined sex for everything, Meloe. Thanks a lot.
#4. Portia Spiders
So you're lounging around in a freshly-built web one day--just chillin', hangin' out, all bein' a spider and shit--when you feel the telltale struggles of a delicious little victim. As you prepare to pump your squirming dinner with venom, something goes terribly awry; the "trapped" bug easily scurries out of view, and you feel a pair of tiny fangs sink right into your ass.
Wait, is that irony or does that just suck? You don't know. You don't understand complicated English concepts; you're just a damn spider. Or at least you were.
Now you're dead.
You ran afoul of the Portia spider, and it's not really your fault that it totally kicked your ass at being a spider. See, the Portia displays more brainpower than was ever thought possible in an insect. Each individual Portia employs their own unique and vast arsenal of dastardly impersonations to trick, ensnare and consume their prey.
A Portia spider might strum a pattern on a strand to impersonate the buzzing of a fly caught in another spider's web, while a different spider of the same exact species might opt to catch a real fly to throw in the web and, while the prey spider is distracted, sneak up behind it. It may pretend to be inanimate by moving only in the wind, it may observe and duplicate another spider's entire mating ritual or sometimes it might even build a complete web of its own that attaches to its victim's, thereby creating a trap out of the spider's own trap.
Jesus, Portia, there's being clever and then there's just being a dick.
Portia spiders design a new tactic for every individual spider they hunt, noting the prey's species, behaviors and circumstances before formulating their plan of attack. The Portia spider is so ingeniously murderous, it makes the Joker look like a furious mongoloid with a sledgehammer.
Don't believe us? Think we're exaggerating?
Hell, maybe you're right. Maybe you should tell us. Maybe you should click to leave a comment in that little box down there... .*
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