Animals eat insects, their own poop and sometimes their own children. So what in the hell could qualify as a weird diet in the animal kingdom?
Trust us -- when you think you've seen it all, Mother Nature only takes that as a challenge. That's how we wound up with ...
#8. Bugs That Drink Bitter Tears
An adult moth lives only to mate. It has little need for food (it stores up nutrients during the larval stage and just lives off of them like a trust fund). Instead, it fuels its lifelong sexathon with natural sports drinks.
Normally, this means sipping nectar from flowers, but some moths, who were possibly molested as caterpillars, have evolved to literally feed on sorrow.
Roland Hilgartner / Mamisolo Raoilison
Tear-drinking moths, probably the world's biggest assholes, sneak up on larger animals and poke them in the eyes until they cry so they can drink the tears. Different species favor different victims, but all prefer animals that have no means of brushing them off. Species on some continents target slow, grazing mammals, deer or even crocodiles, while a species in Madagascar attacks birds as they sleep, digging between their eyelids with a proboscis covered in barbs. What a dick.
Because Mother Nature is clearly some kind of sociopath, there are also at least three species of tear-drinking bees, all from Thailand. Like Simon Cowell, these little bastards derive their nutrition from human tears, and are found swarming around movie theatres whenever a new Pixar film comes out.
"We'll eat for weeks."
Though it's not like they're actually eating their eyes, right?
#7. The Shrimp That Eats Eyes
Eyeless, limbless and wormlike, the Ommatokoita is a crustacean, related to lobsters and shrimp, though we're pretty sure it doesn't taste as good with warm butter. Most of its cousins actually work for a living, scavenging the ocean floor, but Ommatokoita is the lazy bum of the crustacean world, as it craves only one horrible, horrible thing.
Ommatokoita feeds off the eyeballs of the Greenland shark, a shark so badass it will eat a goddamned polar bear. The parasite burrows itself into the shark's eye and then just anchors itself there, drinking delicious eye-jelly. It sits there, eating eyeball, for the rest of its life. Just more proof that the ocean is literally made of horror.
Luckily for the Greenland shark, it doesn't actually need eyes to hunt -- it's just that badass. Extra lucky, because almost all Greenland sharks have hell-shrimp in their eyes. Some scientists have postulated that the parasites may attract prey to the shark like symbiotic fishing lures. That's right -- the shark finds itself in a situation where bugs are eating its eyeballs forever and manages to benefit from it.
"Excellent. Sea monsters are eating my eye ... all goes according to plan."
#6. Skuas Eat Terror Vomit
With apologies to the eye-poking moth, there may be an even bigger asshole in the animal kingdom. The skua, kind of a dickhead seagull, is what's known as a kleptoparasite. Next time your roommate raids the fridge and eats your food, call him this and see how he reacts.
While other seabirds waste valuable energy catching fish, the skua takes a schoolyard bully approach and just harasses the shit out of its seagull cousins, dive-bombing and terrorizing them until they're so exhausted and terrified that they have to puke. This is the skua's goal. While the victim is rocking back and forth in a fetal position somewhere, the skua swoops down and slurps up a nice, curdled mass of stinking, partially digested seafood.
Hey, it's a delicacy in some places.
During winter months, terror vomit can account for up to 95 percent of a skua's diet, making it the only thing in nature with grosser eating habits than Guy Fieri. Of course, if the victim doesn't have anything to throw up, the skua will eventually get sick of trying to scare it and will simply kill and eat the bird. Thankfully, schoolyard bullies don't take their tips from the animal kingdom.
Photo by Mila Zinkova
"Gimme yer lunchseal!"
#5. Caecilians Eat Their Mothers' Skin
Though they look like earthworms, these burrowing animals are actually amphibians, like frogs and salamanders, though unlike many other amphibians, the females build a nest where they dutifully protect their babies until they're large enough to fend for themselves. So dutifully, in fact, that they never even leave them to look for food, having evolved an alternative as heartwarming as it is nauseating.
Every three days, baby caecilians employ specialized, temporary fangs to strip the skin from their mother's body and feast upon it.
Photo by Dawson
"We're actually much worse than we look!"
Luckily (or horrifically, depending on how you look at it), the caecilian mother has the rejuvenation skills of Wolverine. So she can look forward to weeks of tiny worm monsters cannibalizing her again and again and again. At this point we forget whether we're writing an article about animals or Dante's Inferno.
Moms of the world, before you bitch at your kids about everything you sacrificed to make them happy, consider for a moment whether you would have let them gnaw your boobs off over and over. Yeah, we didn't think so.