#2. The Klipspringer Can Jump Across Cliffs
The klipspringer is a type of African antelope that walks on the tips of its toes, as if trying not to wake up other animals that don't look like complete pansies. It's impossible to watch it mincing around without instantly hearing the appropriate cartoon sound effect.
The Featured Creature
That's not its fur, that's its mascara running from all the bullying.
While all hoofed animals technically walk on their toes, the klipspringer is the only one that touches the ground with the very tips. In human terms, that's like a ballerina dancing on her toenails instead of her feet, and looks about as threatening.
Plantigrade locomotion is for failures.
"Klipspringer" literally means "rock jumper," because that's exactly what those special hooves allow it to do. Look at this thing leaping about from rock to rock like it's got actual springs in those things:
And that's nothing -- they have the ability to jump as high as 25 feet (or 15 times their height). Notice how its legs are always together when it lands on a new place? That's not an accident: The hooves allow it to land on surface areas no larger than a silver dollar with all four legs. This means you'll often see klipspringers in high, small, impossible to reach places and wonder how the hell they even got there (especially because they're also pretty agile, so they could have been standing right next to you two seconds ago).
"All right, Scotty, beam me out of here."
The secret is that their hooves are actually rubbery underneath, allowing them to leap onto rocky surfaces without slipping, or just stay on them as if defying all laws of nature. The only question now is why Marvel hasn't created an X-Men character named Klipspringer yet.
Move over, Wolverine.
#1. Japanese Flying Squid Is Not a Sarcastic Nickname
Finding stupid-looking creatures in the ocean is almost too easy. Everything is squishy and weirdly shaped and has big goofy eyes. Sharks don't know how lucky they are. For instance, look at this thing:
Deep Sea News
Airborne cephalopod? Or some pothead's fancy glass pipe?
Those aren't tentacles -- they're a big orange handlebar mustache. That up there is the Japanese flying squid, but ... wait, did we say "flying"?
That is a photo of squids off the coast of Japan using their own water farts to leap right out of the water and into open air.
He who takes flight unleashed the blight.
The squids fill their bodies with water and then spit it out to propel themselves all the time, but these guys do it so hard they can launch themselves right out of the water, which to a squid has to be like a bird flying itself into outer space. And according to biologists, these things aren't jumping or even gliding -- they are technically flying.
Really flying. They can leap as high as 65 feet and remain in the air over a distance of more than 150 feet at a time, going at recorded speeds that are five times faster than they can move in the water. They are limited only by the wind ... and the strength of their water farts.
Finally, a use for the phrase "water farts" outside of discussing Katy Perry.
Basically, once they've shot themselves out of the water, the squids are able to remain in the air by facing backward and using their fins like wings. They do this to save precious time and energy on long migrations during mating season -- like their octopus cousins, squids die after mating, so they don't have any time to mess around.
The reason why flying squids are less known than flying fish is mainly that they prefer to rocket out at night when no one's looking, in order to avoid being snatched by birds. Because this behavior is so recently observed, we aren't even sure how many types of squid can do it yet. That's right -- for all we know, they could all fly.
"How did you think I got here?"
For more animals that could have superheroes based on them, check out The 6 Most Badass Murder Weapons in the Animal Kingdom and The 9 Most Mind-Blowing Disguises in the Animal Kingdom.
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