We have made it our mission to celebrate the underrated badasses of the animal kingdom because in general, Hollywood has taught us to be afraid of the wrong creatures.
For instance, for every animal you'd be terrified to run across in the wild, the odds are there is at least one other beast who sees it as a tasty snack. And often it's what you'd least expect. Like ...
6The Wasp That Eats Tarantulas
So you are a tarantula, the hairy giant of the arachnid world and the absolute worst nightmare of, oh, about 99 percent of humanity. You hunt in the trees and prowl the ground in a manner that leaves little doubt of your absolute, all-consuming terribleness.
Your favorite hangouts include cradles, wood sheds and the bottom of sleeping bags.
As you roam the landscape looking for a late night snack, you spot a potential prey: a silly-looking insect buzzing clumsily around. Raising yourself in the attack position, you confidently prepare for a kill ...
... only to wake up hours later, unable to move, and with a nasty writhing feeling inside you.
A wasp isn't anyone's favorite insect to find flying around in their house, but nobody is going to call 911 if they see one. And when it comes down to wasp vs. tarantula, you'd expect to see the former in the nest of the latter, getting slowly eaten.
But there is a spider wasp called the tarantula hawk that is the boogeyman that small spider children are scared of. To us humans, it looks surreal rather than scary -- like something you'd find in Guillermo del Toro's personal petting zoo.
Seriously, that's Pan's Labyrinth stuff right there.
Of course, there is a reason this kind of bug is called a spider wasp -- its sole mission in life is to transform the world into a never-ending horror movie for its arachnid prey. In this case, the movie is Aliens. The tarantula gets to play the victim; the wasp is the face-hugger. The tarantula hawk will capture, sting and paralyze the tarantula. Then, much as the Alien would, it plants an egg inside the spider's ... ahem, abdomen. Like this:
And, to finish the circle of movie-referencing terror, after growing big and strong on a steady diet of the freaked-out spider's internal organs, the baby tarantula hawk outgrows its home. Yes, this happens exactly as you would expect.