It's no secret: animals are out to kill us. While we spend hundreds of billions of dollars fighting the terrorist threat overseas, animal sleeper cells are biding their time, developing strange and fabulous powers far beyond those of man. Hawks sharpening their talons. Giant squids flexing their suckers. Dolphins waggling their prehensile penises. And leading the brigade, a very special cat that knows when you’re going to die. And that’s only the tip of the furry iceberg.
So, as a public service, we’ve decided to profile some of the world’s most superpowered creatures. As far as we know, none of them are on the Endangered Species list. Though with the help of fear mongering articles like this, and some generous gun control legislation, we can change all that. If we don’t, it just may be us humans living in protected enclosures and spending our days watching pornography to encourage mating behavior like nature's loser, the Panda.
The Power: Atomic Climbing
How It Works: When they’re not using their British accents to hawk car insurance, geckos spend their time scurrying up surfaces with the ease of a machine specifically designed to do the same. But this isn’t just some snail-class gooey shit climbing we’re talking about here. Every square millimeter of a gecko’s footpads contains 14,000 tiny hairs, called setae, each of which branches into around 500 little tiny “spatulae” so small that they are below the wavelength of visible light. Using these invisible, atomic micromicromicrofibers, geckos are able to harness van der Waals interactions on a molecular level, sticking to almost every known surface outside of Teflon. Their grip is so strong, if it used all of its gripping power at once, a single adult gecko could hold aloft 290 lbs. At this point, it’s important to note that our brave men and women in uniform almost all weigh under 290 lbs., making them prime targets for roving bands of gecko hurl-squads.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: Outfit our soldiers with the latest in Teflon bodysuit technology.
The Power: Energy Blasts
How It Works: A number of animal species are able to project ink, foul-smelling chemicals, or feces from their bodies. But in these cases, there is little to fear beyond stained clothing, a tomato sauce bath, or social ostracism. The bombardier beetle, however, takes bodily expulsion to a new threat level by harnessing the power of chemical reactions to release a boiling, exploding liquid from its body up to seventy times per encounter. In short, it shits napalm. We don’t even need to explain what kind of threat this poses to our citizens and toilet paper industry alike.
Additional Powers: Starred in a children’s book that purports to disprove the Theory of Evolution.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: Spiking the beetle’s natural food source with boxes upon boxes of Gas-X.
The Power: Electrolocation
How It Works: Count your senses. If you’re fortunate, you’ve got one hand raised, five fingers splayed in sensorial triumph. If you’re less fortunate, a birth defect or lathe accident has knocked you down to three or four, or else you got your fingers chopped off in a bar fight. But if you’re a Platypus, you get to raise six fingers, all presumably snapped from the hands of girl scouts and dangling from a malevolent bill. Platapi are monotremes (the only other monotreme is the echidna, who we already know are after our Chaos Emeralds), a type of mammal endowed with the sixth sense of electroreception, the ability to sense electric fields generated by muscular contraction. That means they can sense your directional location if you so much as move a muscle. Even a blind, deaf Platypus with no sense of smell knows right where you are, and he and his echidna friends are on their way. With tire irons. And they're angry drunk.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: Convince them that their “protected habitat” is a Faraday Cage.
The Power: Superspeed
How It Works: Hummingbirds do everything fast. They’ve got the fastest metabolism of any animal other than insects, their heart rate can get up to 1,260 beats per minute, and they can flap their wings up to 70 times a second. One can only imagine the horrifying speed with which they’d fire shoulder-mounted rockets at our school buses. This incredible speed makes the Hummingbird the only animal capable of hovering in midair, and even flying backwards. The only device we have that can match them in aerial agility is the helicopter, and that’s got nothing on them for nectar-drinking ability. If terrorists ever decide to design and manufacture Hummingbird pistols, we’re going to be in for mobile, whirling vortices of sheer bullet.
Spirit Animal Of: This guy.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: Because of their speed, hummingbirds need to eat up to five times their own body weight in nectar per day. Destroy the flowers, and we've got these bastards on the run.
The Power: Sharpshooting
How It Works: The archerfish of India and Polynesia feed primarily on insects. Only, unlike normal, International Law-abiding fish, they don’t just wait for a bug to fly into the water and drown. The archerfish uses a specially-shaped lower jaw to shoot a jet of water up to fifteen feet long to knock insects out of overhanging branches. They are such skilled marksman that they can routinely shoot and kill an insect six feet above the surface of the water, while compensating for light refraction. Which is all well and good when they’re only shooting at bugs; let the animals wipe each other out, we say. But how long can we allow our children to cavort and play on the branches overhanging Polynesian rivers before we lose one to these deadly snipers?
Additional Powers: Enough PR to get two U.S. submarines named after them.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: Polluting some of the world’s rivers might fuzzy up their aim a bit. Get on it.
The Power: Agility
How It Works: Your average house cat is already fairly threatening: claws, the evil eye, and an internal “righting mechanism” that guarantees that no matter how high a building you drop them off of, the best you’re going to get is four broken kitty legs. Enter the ring-tailed cat, probably shimmying backwards down a pipe. The ring-tail cat has taken “cat-like agility” to an absurd degree, routinely performing cartwheels on narrow branches in order to change direction, rotating their feet up to 180 degrees, and climbing up cervices in rock by ricochet-jumping back and forth between each side. That’s right; they can’t just out-agile us, they’ve got to rub it in our faces too. Word has it the Russians are busy recruiting ring-taileds for their 2012 floor gymnastics team. All that, and the evil eye is strong as ever.
Additional Powers: The ring-tailed cat is omnivorous. Now, we don’t want to frighten anyone unduly, but did you know that the literal translation of omnivorous is “eats everything?”
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: A nation-wide pole-greasing campaign.
The Power: Post-Mortem Impregnation
How It Works: Even a carpet bombing of the sea floor may not be enough to wipe these things out for good (although it’s not a bad start). Some particularly stubborn anglerfish species are able to procreate even from beyond the watery grave. The males of the species, when they find a female, will proceed with foreplay in the manner any of us would: by biting into her skin, then secreting an enzyme that dissolves his lips and part of her body, permanently attaching himself to her in the form of a decaying food tube. At the other end of the tube are the gonads, primed to release their precious payload at the woman’s discretion. That's the human equivalent of stapling your nuts to an ex-girlfriend, on the premise that "she might need them later."
Additional Powers: Bioluminescent head-lures, extreme resistance to undersea water pressure, camouflage.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: An abundant supply of morning after pills.
The Power: Every fucking thing
How It Works: The Octopus may very well be the biggest threat to national security since brown people. They’re the most intelligent invertebrate in the world, can detach their arms, spray ink, move in perfect cadence with underwater currents, squeeze through any space larger than a quarter, and change color to blend in with their surroundings. Due to the inordinate number of superhuman powers they were granted, current biological studies assert that they may, in fact, be God.
Additional Powers: Not that they need any, but researchers now believe that some octopi are capable of walking on land on two legs, while disguising themselves as a coconut. So the next time you’re going to make pia coladas, blend first and ask questions later.
Our Only Defense, Should They Rise Against Us: If the octopi are attacking, there’s really not a whole lot we can do. The best plan would be to nuke the Earth to hell and start over. There’s a good chance the radioactive mutants spawned in the apocalypse won’t be as powerful or weird looking, anyway.
When not writing for Cracked, Michael is concocting defenses against the imagined sharktopus as head writer and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!