7 Animals That Are One Flaw Away From Taking Over the World

The fascinating thing about evolution is how it finds infinite ways for creatures to be badass. Some can rip every other species in their area to shreds, some are masters of camouflage, some just breed so fast you can't eat them all. But equally amazing is how creatures find a way to survive and thrive even with laughable and obvious design defects.

For instance ...

#7. Mayflies Have No Mouths

These insects may only be a quarter of an inch to an inch long, but apparently most of it is dick.

Mating is all the mayflies do -- as soon as they reach adulthood, they mate in a gigantic midair orgy the likes of which have only been seen inside a Rolling Stones tour plane. Their annual sex swarm is so thick it can even show up on weather radar.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
"There's a strong, sweaty bug sex front approaching from the west. Residents are advised to stock up on lubricant and MDMA."

They cause traffic disturbances and nearly black out skies with their massive swarms of depravity. After they're all sexed out, the females drop the fertilized eggs in the water and carry on with the rest of their lives.

Getty
"I'm going to business school!"

Of course, "the rest of their lives" isn't terribly long in this case, because ...

Their Stupid Defect:

They have no freaking mouths. They can't eat.

Adult mayflies do not develop working mouths. Their digestive organs are completely filled with air, which is the saddest thing we've imagined all week. As soon as they go through metamorphosis and reach adulthood, they begin starving to death. It would be bad enough if they were born without mouths, but the fact that they actually lose it when they grow up proves that nature has gone out of its way to screw them.

Hans Weilenmann
In a manner of speaking.

That means that, like most orgies, after the sex part is done it's a pretty ugly sight. In this case, mayfly corpses thickly litter the streets and beaches of the towns their sexcapades engulfed the night before. Sometimes snow plows have to be called in to clean up the several-inch-thick piles of their lifeless (yet totally satisfied) bodies.

News from the Green House
Then again, if they didn't die so fast the whole world would look like this.

#6. Octopuses Die After Sex

Screw Hollywood: It's not apes that humans should feel threatened by, it's octopuses. We've already covered their amazing camouflage and their deadly poisons -- what we haven't told you is that they're also one of the most intelligent animals in the world. They've been observed using tools and solving complex problems. They can move across land and can pour their bodies through the tiniest holes and crevices because they have no goddamn bones. Also, their tentacles have so many nerve endings that they can act autonomously. In other words, their freaking arms have minds of their own.

Getty
"I have nothing against you, human. My friends here are another story."

For our money, if there was one creature that would seem capable of organizing, developing a civilization and rising up to overthrow humanity, it would be the octopus. Why aren't these writhing, melon-headed bastards riding sharks up and down the coast harassing surfers? It doesn't make sense that these creatures are so smart and have so many astounding adaptations and yet they haven't managed to build a single underwater castle yet. That we know of.

Their Stupid Defect:

They can't have sex without dying. Yeah, that's a big one.

Getty
"Even a tentacle job is fatal."

After a male octopus has mated for the first time its own body will, in a remarkable display of post-coital shame, release a special endocrine secretion that will cause it to drop dead within a few weeks. As for the female, she lives long enough to care for her eggs ... but then that post-partum depression kicks in and causes her to stop eating and die. It's genetically programmed death.

Getty
And you think you've had some bad morning afters.

If these glands are removed, the octopus will continue living up to a whopping six months more. This is one of the most intelligent and adaptable creatures ever, but they simply aren't built to last. It's like nature itself is trying to keep these bastards in check, knowing that they would probably enslave every other species on the planet if they were allowed to build up the numbers.

Getty
Just like us, they're too horny for their own good.

#5. The Portuguese Man-of-War Can't Swim

At first glance you might mistake this gelatinous gasbag for a jellyfish on steroids, but a Portuguese man-of-war is actually a siphonophore -- that is, an "animal" that consists of a bunch of smaller organisms working together, and they all want to kill you. Yes, there's an organized army inside this deceptively innocent-looking murder machine. It's just like the story of the Trojan horse, if horses had poisonous tentacles 30 to 165 feet long and traveled with a posse of a thousand or more other death-filled decoys.

Getty
They might also be the descendants of Cthulhu.

The man-of-war's crazy-long tentacles are covered in venom-filled capsules that paralyze and/or kill fish and other small animals when they sting. The thread-like tentacles then deliver the prey to the digestion section of this coordinated killing contraption. They eat whatever animals happen to come into contact with their tentacles, which can be hard to avoid with their length and tendency to travel in large groups.

While their sting is not typically fatal to humans, it can really mess a person up.

Douglas R. Clifford, St. Petersburg Times
Chicks dig scars, but they're pretty mixed about weeping red sores.

Also, it can even sting after it's dead. How's THAT for badass?

Their Stupid Defect:

They can't swim. Or walk or crawl or fly or slither. Seriously, they have no way of propelling themselves across the water, which sort of sucks because that's where they live. They can't even steer their bodies in a different direction; the Portuguese man-of-war sort of drifts aimlessly across currents, hoping really hard that fish will come its way. The main reason they travel in such large numbers is that none of them can help where they're going.

The closest they come to controlling their destiny is when they surface. There they can use a janky little built-in sail to catch wind...

Getty
They have the look of a pool toy and the maneuverability of a floating condom.

But unfortunately, the surface happens to be where its enemies are. Then the best they can do to avoid predators is deflate some sort of bag and sink for a minute. Then it's back to drifting like a jackass. These terrifying sea creatures often end up becoming lunch for such cunning hunters as turtles.

Or, they can follow the current right up onto a beach, where they wither and die.

D. Gordon E. Robertson
Somehow, this picture reminds us of War of the Worlds.

They're not the only creature that has mobility problems, though ...

#4. Tarsiers Can't Walk

Measuring in at a puny 10 to 15 centimeters, this bug-eyed little primate is as deadly as it is cute. And it's pretty fucking cute. Unlike most primates, tarsiers are 100 percent carnivores -- they refuse to eat anything that doesn't have a pulse, by which we mean that they always feed on their prey while it's alive. The usual victims of these turd-sized predators include insects, birds, scorpions, bats and snakes.

Getty
And that one guy's hand.

Tarsiers live entirely in trees and travel and hunt by jumping branch to branch. They can leap up to 40 times their body length, right onto the back of their victim. They have even been known to take down birds mid-flight.

Once they make the leap, it's just a simple matter of sinking their giant, razor-sharp teeth into the prey's flesh a few times and dinner is served. They devour every piece of their kill; feathers, beaks, skeletons -- you name it.

Getty
We haven't seen eyes that full of wild hunger since the Glenn Beck Thanksgiving Special.

Tarsiers hunt at night, since they can see extremely well in the dark. Their eyes are so big they can't move them in their sockets, but evolution has made up for that by allowing them to rotate their necks almost 360 degrees.

Wild Facts
Holy water makes them burn.

Of course, you already know that they've been screwed in another way ...

Their Stupid Defect:

They can climb and they sure as hell can jump ... but they can't walk. Their flimsy little legs simply can't handle it. If they fall out of a tree, they're screwed -- the best they can do is hop around like idiots. They even sleep and give birth while clinging to a tree, since to them the ground might as well be quicksand.

Getty
They look constantly terrified about the fact that somewhere, ground exists.

For this reason, tarsiers are exceptionally easy to capture. Despite their suction-cup hands, simply shaking a tree limb is enough to knock them loose. Once they're on the ground, poachers are free to capture them with a burlap sack (or predators gobble them up real quick), and unless they manage to bounce or something, there's not much the little devils can do to escape.

Despite being an endangered species and not doing too well in captivity (mainly because of the eating live animals only thing and because they tend to kill themselves), tarsiers are still sold as pets in the Philippines, where there must be a severe shortage of other pets.

Jasper Greek Golangco
Who wouldn't want to cuddle with little Hannibal here and his razor-sharp teeth?

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

776 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!