You may have noticed that, excepting the occasional zombie apocalypse, we humans tend to function best with our nervous systems intact and our brains, limbs and major organs all connected and happily communicating with each other. Well, we feel it's our duty to inform you that not all creatures are quite so picky when it comes to the intactness of their bodies. (And it's not at all because we get a cheap kick out of giving our readers bed-pissingly horrible nightmares. Honest.)
6Headless Snakes Can Still Kill You
When faced with a venomous snake, most people's natural reaction would fall into one of three categories: fleeing, freezing on the spot or OH GOD OH GOD KILL IT CHOP OFF ITS EVIL POINTY HEAD.
While the latter course of action may seem like the surefire way to avoid getting bitten, it turns out that might not be the case. Don't believe us? Well, here's a new one for the Nightmare Department:
If you did not or could not watch that video, we will spoil both it and your dreams: It's a video of a snake head not only refusing to do what any severed head with a shred of common decency should do (die), but also rearing and trying to bite the living shit out of anyone dumb enough to get too close to it.
If you're anything like us, cutting off a deadly snake's head is your best and only move. If that doesn't work, our only follow-up attack is bowing respectfully and doing whatever the hell that severed head wants us to do.
So, What Makes This Abomination Possible?
The snake has heat-sensitive pits at either side of its face, which it uses to detect threats -- and let's face it, if you're close enough for your body heat to be detected, you're close enough to be considered a threat. Oh, and also what the hell are you doing standing so close to a venomous snake's face?
These heat-sensitive pits are capable of detecting a threatening presence for hours after death, which means the snake may continue to defend itself, zombie-style. And yes, this applies even if the body is no longer attached. So anyone dumb enough to poke and prod it to assess its level of deadness may quickly find themselves with a sudden increase in the level of pissiness of their pants when the snake's movement sensors kick into action.
But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom, because a snake's venom loses its toxicity after its death. Except that's a total lie, which means that getting bitten by a dead snake can make you just as dead as getting bitten by a living one, but add to the excruciating pain the severe humiliation, because who the hell loses a fight to a dead animal?
"We vasectomied you after applying the antivenom. Everyone agreed it was the most ethical choice."
Well, a Washington man known as Anderson, for one. The 53-year-old and his son tag-teamed a rattlesnake outside their house and pulled a Walking Dead on it with a shovel, only to have the head rear up and bite him when he went to check out the success of their mission. In his own words: "When I reached down to pick up the head, it raised around and did a back flip almost, and bit my finger."
So what we're telling you here, we guess, is that a severed snake head not only refuses to die, but its svelte new bodiless form can perform freaking acrobatics to get at you with its poisonous bits.
5Octopus Tentacles Don't Know How to Quit
Say you've always had a burning curiosity to know what it would feel like to chew on Cthulhu's face. Hey, we're not here to judge. Anyway, here's what you do: You travel to Korea and order up a nice heaping plate of sannakji.
Here's what you'll get:
In case you're smart enough to entirely avoid clicking on videos in a Cracked article about zombie animal parts, the main ingredient of sannakji is extremely fresh (it doesn't get much fresher than "still squirming") sliced-up octopus, usually served with sesame seeds and a tasty dip -- presumably tasty enough to help you forget the fact that your food is not only moving, but actively trying to escape.
Or possibly using up your minutes.
If you've ever wanted a food that fights you on its way down your throat, this is the food for you. Also, if you've ever wanted a food that fights you on its way down your throat, please get help and stay far away from us.
So, What Makes This Abomination Possible?
First up, you need to understand just how well-developed an octopus tentacle actually is.
"Cooler than your lame-ass arm."
Say you want some food. Your arm is likely going to be the limb you rely on to help you achieve this goal, but it's incapable of doing anything on its own -- your brain has to supervise the movement of your arm every step of the way. To put it another way, your brain is the Michael Jordan of your body, and all of your limbs are the obedient, supportive and essential Scottie Pippens.
Yes, art department. That's exactly what we were talking about.
Now let's say an octopus wants some food. The only command issued by the octopus's brain is "FOOD NOW" -- the tentacle already knows what it needs to do in order to fulfill that goal without any further input from mission control. The movements of the tentacles are controlled by the tentacles themselves, which means there's no need for the brain to still be connected in order for those movements to happen. This is because more than half of the neurons in the central nervous system of an octopus are located in its tentacles.
In fact, James Wood, a leading octopus expert, says that the tentacles are able to process information themselves, with little of that information ever reaching the brain.
In that video above, do you remember watching that sucker latch onto the plate in a last-ditch attempt to save itself from mastication? Here, let us remind you:
That sucker doesn't care that there isn't a brain telling it what to do. It's just doing what it would do anyway -- in this case, trying not to get eaten. Or perhaps actively trying to kill you, as in the case of the six or so unfortunate sannakji eaters who die every year as the result of an unchewed suction cup deciding it's too young to be digested and latching on as some poor sap attempts to swallow it.
Watching it writhe in the sauce is damn near pornographic.
So ... anyone up for sushi?