5 Animals That Can Do Amazing Things (With Their Butts)
Certain creatures on this planet seem to have evolved simply for the purpose of making the rest of us laugh really, really hard. We've already talked about a distinguished group of animals that can do incredible things with their penises, so it should come as no surprise that there's a corresponding list of animals that have shaped the world around them using nothing but their asses, because life is occasionally just as wonderful as we always knew it was meant to be.
Tropical Beaches Are Made Out of Parrotfish Poop
With its wide-eyed stare and perpetually doofy "fake teeth from the dentist's toy chest" grin, the parrotfish might be the stupidest-looking creature alive. It's the only fish that looks like it walked into a room in the middle of a joke and is laughing at the punchline anyway because making new friends is hard, you guys.
"Haha,'karate my foot!' I get jokes; nice one."
It doesn't just spend its days hee-hawing good-naturedly through the Caribbean, though: Parrotfish are directly responsible for some of the most beautiful white sand tropical beaches in the world. Or rather, their poop is. That's basically all white sand is -- parrotfish shit.
The parrotfish's pitiable horse teeth actually serve a purpose -- namely, grinding up chunks of coral. Once it finds a particularly tasty-looking reef, the parrotfish will bite off a piece and chew it up with those oversized self-help-guru veneers, extracting the algae that makes up a large part of its diet. The useless coral waste is then passed through its digestive tract and back out onto the reef in the form of pristine anal sand.
That's why sand rushes for your butt crack -- it's trying to get home.
The typical parrotfish can produce over 200 pounds of sand in a year. Much of it ends up washed ashore, forming large parts of the gorgeous tropical beaches you see in commercials and travel brochures. And they're not exactly a new or endangered species, which means the parrotfish population has been dooking out grains of resort icing for an incredibly long time.
"Ho HO! Joke's on YOU, motherfuckers!"
So if you've ever dug your toes into the beaches of Antigua or watched your children build sand castles at a timeshare in the Caribbean, just know you've all been relaxing and building memories in mountains of leering-fish shit.
Manatees Swim by Farting
If you're able to observe a manatee for an extended period of time without going blind from hysterical laughter, you may notice that they're able to rise and sink in the water with almost no perceptible movement or effort whatsoever. How did these floating speed bumps manage to master ocean magic when they look like they're barely aware of their own existence?
Well, if you watch this video closely, you might notice a telltale clue bubbling up from their hindquarters:
That's right -- manatees control their buoyancy through an endless cycle of farting. Manatees can strategically regulate the distribution of their intestinal gases, holding it in when they want to approach the surface and letting loose when it's time to sink (or disrupt a fancy dinner party with charmingly blue collar antics).
He's about to teach the stuffed shirts at the country club how to cut loose.
But don't try this the next time you hit the beach -- a manatee's physiology is tailor-made for this activity. Manatees eat a ton of plants on a daily basis, which causes them to build up a lot of methane -- so much so that their diaphragms are uniquely arranged closer to their lungs to accommodate all the gas, instead of down near the liver like a normal diaphragm. Their diaphragms are also much longer and stronger, which allows the manatee to pressurize the methane and release it at will. This is another way of saying that if you tried to regulate your buoyancy by storing up methane, you would literally explode like the shark at the end of Jaws if that air tank had been sealed with thousands of pounds of pressurized farts.
Termites Build Walls of Chemically Shielded Poo
Once termites show up to feast on your house, boat, or Wicker Man, you have almost no hope of getting rid of them. Biological controls such as introduced fungi almost never do the trick, and dangerous chemical pesticides manage to kill everything else on the planet, in addition to the pests they were intended for. This is probably one reason why every termite colony looks like a supervillain fortress.
It doesn't have a shark tank, but it comes with a ravenous insect swarm.
Those medieval insect castles are constructed from layers upon layers of industrious termite poop. And those fortified walls of poop are what shield the termites from pesticides.
Since a colony of termites can contain millions of individual insects that haven't yet evolved to use the toilet of whatever home they're currently destroying, they have no way of getting rid of the skyscraper of deuce that would inevitably pile up. So, they evolved into a symbiotic relationship with the Streptomyces bacteria, which feeds off of termite poop and in return releases antibiotics that protect the termites from any destructive pathogens we humans spray their way. The next logical step is for the bugs to build their nests almost entirely out of their own excrement, handing the Streptomyces bacteria an endless buffet and creating what amounts to an impenetrable fortress of shitfarts.
Yep. That's like 90 percent poop.
Now that we know their secret, scientists are developing new non-chemical weapons to bypass the poop shield and destroy the bugs within. In addition, we may someday be able to use the termite's hyper-resistant underpants chocolate to develop more effective antibiotics to replace the ones that have grown obsolete and useless. So, your next prescription of amoxicillin might come straight out of a termite's translucent poop spigot.
The Fitzroy River Turtle Breathes Through Its Anus
The Fitzroy River turtle, a species that can only be found in the Fitzroy River in Australia, seems to exist solely to provide the turtle that pees out of its mouth with some real competition in the "Absurd Reptiles" category. Despite having a perfectly good mouth directly in the center of its face like most of God's creatures, it has evolved to breathe air in and out of its anus.
Their version of the Human Centipede would be one really long snorkel.
Now, many species of birds, reptiles, and fish possess the ability to make both babies and toilets out of a single orifice -- an "ass of all trades," if you will. And a small number of turtles can take minor amounts of oxygen from the water via a process called cloacal respiration. But Fitzroy turtles have no time for small amounts of anything.
Instead, thanks to a specialized sac in their cloaca called a bursa, Fitzroy turtles are constantly pumping water in and out of their gaping dinkums, collecting as much as 70 percent of all the oxygen they need to survive. That's almost three-quarters of the air they breathe, sucked in through their assholes.
This one appears to be yodeling.
Consequently, the Fitzroy turtle (which the locals affectionately refer to as "bum breathers") is able to stay underwater for up to three weeks at a time. This, combined with the fact that they are confined to one specific river in a far corner of the planet, resulted in the rest of the world having absolutely no idea the Fitzroy turtle existed until about 40 years ago. This is another way of saying that we've been sharing the planet with a turtle that breathes farts for thousands of years, and we're just now learning about it.
"Your children must learn the way of my people ... for the future."
Skipper Caterpillars Confuse Predators by Tossing Poop With Their Ass Catapults
When you're a baby caterpillar, staying alive can be unfairly challenging. Inconspicuously wrapping yourself up in leaves doesn't help much, since wasps and other predators have the uncanny ability to trace caterpillar droppings straight to their wriggling, delectably plump source, sort of like the Predator if his heat vision only tracked steamy dumpage and he collected voyeuristic bathroom photos instead of bleached skulls.
"Man, now I'm hiding for two entirely different reasons."
However, as the following scientific documentary explains, the skipper caterpillar has found a unique solution -- it flings its turds into the air, far away from its hiding place:
Every time the skipper feels a deuce coming on, it winds its butt up like a trebuchet and fires away. They do this by building up blood pressure under a flap beneath the anus, straining heroically until they're able to generate enough force to fling their morning constitutionals over 40 times their body length away. Obviously, since this is a baby caterpillar and not an elephant, that only amounts to a distance of about 6 or 7 feet, but that's more than enough to lure predators away from the comparatively stinkless leaf in which the skipper has wrapped itself.
In addition, the skipper can fire its poo in any direction it wants, leaving predators extra confused about where the hell they should be going. To put it in perspective, this would be the same thing as a human being launching explosive wads of diarrhea on everything within an 80-yard radius to disorient roving gangs of purse-snatching murderers.
Nice. Just throw your shit all over the wall, why don't you?
According to Martha Weiss, an evolutionary faecologist at Georgetown University (which is apparently an area of scientific study you can totally get a degree in), skipper caterpillars get better at throwing their poo over time. So, like any other talent, whipping your shit all over the place takes practice and dedication to master.
Related Reading: If you enjoyed all these butts, why not learn about this toad with a weaponized mustache? And did you know crocodiles can climb trees? It's terrifyingly true. If you enjoyed all that, click here to read about artificial animals that somehow exist.