The 5 Most Impressively Convoluted Traps Set by Animals

#2. Herrings Talk Out Their Ass

Paul Nicklen via National Geographic

Herrings, like many fish, swim together in giant schools for protection. But they need to keep in almost constant communication to bunch together so tightly. So how do they manage to coordinate a whole school without accidentally attracting predators? Simple: They fart.

They have developed ass-based communication. The fart phone. Stinky semaphore. They are ButtTooth compatible.

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
"Bvvvrrrrt!"

It works like this: Herrings gulp down surface air and store it in their swim bladder. When it gets dark, a fish will communicate its approximate location to the school by releasing that air through its anus. If a fish gets lost, he just follows the big cloud of herring fart noises, and he finds his way home. It's like the old saying goes: One fish farting is embarrassing; 600,000 fish farting is ingenious. It's worth noting that the herrings only surf the butt-wide web in the dark -- because even in the high stakes game of survival, nobody wants to make eye contact while attending fartschool.

Now, because it's mostly just air being expelled underwater, the herring farts don't function via smell, but sound. So couldn't opportunistic predators with low dining standards just follow the tiny aquatic squeaks to their gassy meals? Nope: Herring anuses are specially formed to squeak at a higher frequency than other fish farts.

That's right: Other fish farts.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
You don't have to look so damn proud about it.

Apparently everything in the ocean is just farting all the time. Feel free to provide the appropriate sound effects next time you watch one of those gorgeous Discovery Channel documentaries about the quiet beauty of the ocean.

#1. An Amazonian Spider Makes a Scarecrow of Itself

Phil Torres via Wired.com

Look at that thing.

Fuck whatever that thing is. Some sort of creepy bone spider, or at least the molted exoskeleton of some sort of creepy bone spider. It doesn't matter. It's giant and weird and we hate it.

And we have just been outsmarted by an arachnid.

Recently, biologist Phil Torres discovered a spider in the Amazon that makes scarecrow-like versions of itself at a much larger size to ward off predators. After he figured out what was really going on, Torres went in for a closer look and found the actual spider (a tiny little guy) hiding just above the decoy, periodically shaking it to make the fake spider look like it was moving.

Again, this is not anything like molting, and it is not accidental: This spider is self-aware. It knows what a spider looks like, collects random pieces of non-spider-related debris, and constructs a much larger fake arachnid -- even with the correct number of legs -- then stands behind it like a puppeteer, jerking it around to freak out and ward off predators.

Even if a predator isn't scared away by the unsettling spider marionette show and chooses to attack, it will, at best, get a mouthful of jungle garbage while the real spider darts away unharmed. Presumably to construct a taunting middle finger out of sticks and bits of leaves.

Phil Torres via Perunature.com
It's like a Tim Burton version of Charlotte's Web.



Andrew is also an independent musician. You can help him out by liking his page here, downloading his album from it, or both! And Monte Richard does lots of stuff, he just doesn't want to tell you about it.

Related Reading: For some underrated predators with insane hunting abilities, click this link. You'll learn that spiders can hear with their hair- AND that wolves use the earth's magnetic field to plan their attacks. And did you know that centipedes are eating bats now? Because they TOTALLY are. And if that doesn't have you terrified, this article will reveal all the greatest serial killers in the animal kingdom.

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