5 Shockingly Creative Ways Animals Are Using Our Garbage

#2. Moose Use Roads as Day Cares

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It seems like human progress has been especially bad for the humble moose: Evolution made them too big, slow, and comically dimwitted to handle the raging murderection of humanity. Why, look at the dangers posed by speeding cars alone: There were only 25,000 moose in Idaho when the state did a survey in 2007. Compare that to 1939, when there were far fewer roads and ... only 1,000 moose? Wait, what the hell?

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Perhaps the exploding squirrel population increased the demand for Moose sidekicks?

While most animals are moderately to severely screwed when humans move into a new spot, moose actually like what we've done with the place. When we cut down trees, we open up wide areas that those big clumsy behemoths can more comfortably populate, and we promote the growth of shrubs, which are easier for those lovable lumbering bastards to eat. Even more surprising, when the Wildlife Conservation Society stuck radio transmitters on Wyoming moose to check where they go and why, they found that pregnant moose were giving birth closer and closer to the roads that run through Grand Teton National Park.

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Leading to the family car game "Spot the gaping moose vagina."

Why? Because areas near roads tend to be safer. While the risk of being hit by a truck is substantially higher near a road than, say, beneath a pleasant waterfall in the remote wilderness, drivers aren't actually trying to hit a moose, for the same reason they're not trying to hit solid brick walls that can kick you to death.

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"Throw some huge spikes on its head, too; those 1,800 pounds of muscle would be defenseless otherwise." -Nature, apparently

But other things in the park are very much stalking moose -- like the grizzly bear, a vicious carnivore that loves baby moose meat almost as much as it fears roads. The lack of grizzly bears, which are the leading cause of moose calf deaths, makes the open road the best place to raise a baby moose. Of course, there's a downside: Moose have only displayed this behavior in areas with increased bear presence -- they don't just hang out by the highway because they dig the open road, man. And slowly, bears are learning that they have to overcome their fear of roads if they want to eat. That's right: The moose are setting us up for an invasion by the bear army.

#1. Sea Life Love Melting Icecaps


Now, we're not going to argue that global warming is good for us overall. We've seen the documentaries: When the ice caps melt, giant waves will cover the Statue of Liberty, ice storms will freeze cities solid, all of the planet's roads will dramatically crumble beneath the feet of strong-jawed protagonists, and Kevin Costner will swim the Earth as the mer-Messiah.

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"I'm already drinking recycled pee in preparation."

And good lord, it's already happening! As we march inexorably toward total environmental catastrophe, more and more icebergs are breaking off from the polar ice shelves and falling into the ocean, where they melt and release tons of iron and other minerals into the sea. Those minerals are presumably, like, forming together into ocean meteorites that will be launched from the seas by the immense pressure of accumulating carbon dioxide to-

No? They're just being gobbled up by microscopic phytoplankton whose increasing numbers in turn stimulate the entire oceanic food chain from the bottom up? Well, what the hell kind of dystopia is that? We doubt even the raw star power of a Costner or a Cusack could sell that movie.

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"That's what plankton looks like? Better get Will Smith on the phone for this one."

But it's true: A 2007 study in the Weddell Sea found that the growing number of icebergs had increased biological activity by 40 percent. That's good for the fishies, but bad for the two-leggers, right? Not exactly: Aside from feeding animals, the microorganisms that feed off the icebergs are one of the biggest suckers of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Granted, this is a case of fixing with your right hand what you break with the left (climate change is still hitting us pretty hard, and the immense suckage of phytoplankton alone won't stop it), but it's a real testament to the Earth's forgiving adaptability. That's just how Mother Nature works: She takes the good, she takes the bad, she takes them both, and then you have the environment.

Related Reading: It's important to remember JUST how big a thumb our species can stick in Mother Nature's eye. Case in point: laser lightning. For the exact opposite thing, click here and learn about crabs the size of your car. The war between man and nature is an unstoppable conflict, learn the history of that war here.

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