Everyone loves an underdog. Even Mother Nature, with her Thunderdome sensibilities, loves a good underdog story -- or six. That's why, when creating the nastiest animals on Earth, she decided that they were each going to have an embarrassingly adorable nemesis to regularly knock them down a few pegs. Like these guys:
Adders have dark zigzag patterns along their backs and giant, glaring, red eyes with vertically slit pupils. They are a universal symbol for danger and evil. They are venomous, vicious and are all-around well ... snakes.
Yes, it has the eyes of a Sith lord.
Sharing a common territory with the adder is the European hedgehog. The hedgehog grows to a maximum length of about a foot, and though its body is covered in up to 7000 spines, they're more of the "cuddly and/or wuddly" type than the "badass armor" variety.
He dreams of life as Bill Shatner's hairpiece.
While foraging for food, a hedgehog may occasionally come across an adder. They share the same 'hood; it was bound to happen. As expected, upon seeing the horrible serpent, the cute little hedgehog goes into lockdown, doing its level best to set up a lil' spiked fortress -- just trying to protect its face and legs.
His little feet are adorable and creepy at the same time. Kind of like the Alien's little second mouth.
Once this is done, it slides open a slit in its faceplate, waddles its bare face up to the adder and bites it. Because the hedgehog's spikes are significantly longer than the adder's fangs, the adder can't reach any hedgehog's flesh to bite and/or poison it. The snake slithers away, but that's not the end of the story. The hedgehog isn't just trying to protect itself here, or cowering, or even driving the snake away: It's hunting. The snake leaves, the hedgehog follows, and bites again. This harassment continues until the adder is too tired to fight back or escape. The hedgehog then breaks the snake's neck and devours it completely, starting at the head.
The humans in this picture were never heard from again.
Then it curls up into a little ball and drifts off to sleep, dreaming itty-bitty dreams of navigating loop-de-loops with an echidna.
Bothrops asper, more commonly called a fer-de-lance or ultimate motherfucking pit viper (we may have added one of those descriptors -- but only one), are found in Central America. They grow to an average length of six feet, but some have been measured at over eight feet. They are the most dangerous snake in Central America for a slew of reasons, including the ability to strike from any position.
Drug-murders, diarrhea and this: three things you're unlikely to see in a Central America tourism ad.
Also living in Central America are white-faced Capuchin monkeys. Large males weigh in at an adorable nine pounds -- just enough weight to give solid hugs. They're most famous as the dancing organ-grinder monkeys, so you might have to picture this little guy in a tiny red vest and cap for the rest of the entry.
As if you weren't already.
This peer-reviewed paper details one attack by an ultimate pit viper on a troop of white-faced capuchins: At some point in the resulting standoff, a branch fell off of a dead tree, and onto the snake. One of the monkeys apparently remembered the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and immediately seized upon the branch. The monkey then used the wood to beat the snake, and it is simply astounding that this sentence isn't about masturbation right now.
Although we can assume it was preceded and immediately followed by masturbation.
That wasn't an isolated incident either: According to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation, white-faced capuchins routinely attack intruders with sticks, rocks and on one occasion, even a smaller squirrel monkey was hurled at an observer. It didn't even hesitate -- the monkey just plucked up and whipped a tiny version of itself at the nearest threat. That's like seeing somebody on your lawn, so you immediately start hurling your children at him until he gets back on the sidewalk.
Giant desert centipedes are amongst the largest centipedes on Earth, commonly measuring in at almost nine inches. They are found in the deserts of North America and inside your pillowcase, right now, waiting for you to come to bed. They're extremely poisonous and routinely take down larger mammals.
Bugs In The News
Imagine waking up with that little guy crawling up your chest.
The grasshopper mouse grows to about four-inches long, and has the least intimidating name in the entire Animal Kingdom, aside from the long-extinct Parisian cuddle-pig.
But when the Segmented Wang of Poisonous Death steps to the adorable little mouse, shit goes stone cold crazy. It starts when the grasshopper mouse emits a high pitched howl -- seriously, it rage-howls before every fight -- and then initiates combat with an intricate series of cartwheels, back flips, barrel rolls and tiny bites. Unable to grab hold of the flipping, biting melee-mouse, the centipede is slowly but surely deprived of its primary weapon: Its face.
The grasshopper mouse doesn't just eat centipedes, though. This same fighting style, which we'll call Berserker Acrobatics, is used successfully against scorpions, poisonous beetles and even tarantulas: