7 Silly Strategies Animals Use To Survive
All adaptations, whether by “natural evolution” or by the urban rodent race, evolved for two reasons: to punk some punk-ass fool or to avoid being punked by an entity as such. Fortunately, there are many ways to arrive at said junctures; otherwise, our beloved Sir David Frederick Attenborough would be reduced to narrating CS:GO tournaments and NFT auctions.
Not all animals have the advantage of jaws, claws, and guffaws (hyenas), and some have lucked into the stupid but satisfactory strategies detailed below. So remember, according to theoretical meta-string scientists, our entire existence is simply a hologram of a 2D reality secretly occurring across a black hole’s juicy butt.
Many ancient Greek inventions have been fine-tuned, including Archimedes' steam-powered Handjob Engine, now known as the CNC punch press. Other innovations have stagnated, as per the democratic ideal that consists of a few liver-spotted white dudes embezzling silver-mining profits. Maybe we should look elsewhere for inspiration, like the African wild dogs who practice what may be the world's truest democracy.
Evolutionarily, African wild dogs said sayonara to other dog types around 1.7 million years ago. Still, they prove that awww who's my precious smart little barskter? You are! Yes, yoooouuuuu! is not exclusive to domesticated species.
AWDs live in tightly-bonded packs of up to around 40. They communally care for pups and the needy and sleep all day piled up on each other, as old Speedy Gonzalez cartoons (and "modern" FOX news) told me that all Latin-speaking people do.
More importantly, these African arf-meisters practice democracy via sneezing quorum, which is one of those "science weirder than fiction" sentences. Researchers researching unrelated wild dog relations noticed excessive sneezing but, alarmingly, no "bless you." So they recorded 68 "social rallies" across five dog packs in Botswana, discovering that dogs hold a sneeze-vote before hunting. And that dominant dogs' sneezes count more—a cornerstone of Western democracy.
If a dominant pair or alpha female (it's a matriarchal society) initiates the voting, it only takes about three sneezes to decide. But if a non-dominant individual starts the vote, it requires about 10 sneezes to reach a consensus, mirroring the voting process of the Nordic countries.
Brazilian Frogs Fight With A Venomous Headbutt
Many amphibians, like frogs, newts, and salamanders, are variously toxic. Some ooze deadly neurochemicals. Some spam racial slurs on COD. Others, like the flame-crested salamander, needle their friends' insecurities to feel better about their own.
But none match frogs in cuteness-to-convulsion ratio, in which frogs rank second only to the barb-footed pseudo-koala. Yet the adorably lethal frogs have no poison delivery system other than being eaten. Or so it was thought until science found two venomous specimens, including the Greening's frog, which fits nicely in one's palm.
The accidental G-frog discoverer was scientist Carlos Jared, who unassumingly picked it up while searching for psychedelic apricots in the dry Caatinga forests of Brazil. "Haha, it's trying to headbutt me," he thought as it headbutted him. "Calm yourself, small one. You inflict no umbrage upon the mighty Carlos Jared," he laughed heartily. Its headbutts felt like sandpaper, how odd. And then intense pain surged through Jared's arm for five hours.
The frog envenomates its enemies with its head, as people do on Facebook. Likewise, its head is a fused bony plate of skull and skin that indirectly preserves body moisture in the wet-starved region—after mixing alcohols at dinner parties, the frog shuffles backward into damp holes and plugs them with its head. Thus prognosticating our summers in five years if Lululemon keeps transforming forests into nylon butt-huggers. And to facilitate venom transfer, the frog’s skull is covered in spikes, hence the sandpaper feeling.
Its venom is twice as toxic as a pit viper's but only half as toxic as praising The Great Lizard Lord in schools. But that's nothing compared to the second as-yet-discovered venomous croaker, Bruno's casque-headed frog:
It sports smaller spikes but bigger venom, 25 times more lethal than the resident pit vipers. A single gram of this deadly toxin "could kill more than 300,000 mice, or about 80 humans." Fortunately, a headbutt probably won't deliver that much, so, you know, feel free to go around picking up frogs.
Note from Cracked legal department: by adhering to this article's advice you hereby and henceforth legally surrender all organ donation rights to Cracked.
Two Rare Snakes Scare Away Predators With Self-Defense Farts
Sounds reveal intent. Playing nu-rap on your phone speaker outside the club means you'll spend the entire night re-adjusting your hat and rubbing your hands together. But many other organisms use sound as a repellent, including the snakes that popularly hiss and rattle. Hell, even cats purportedly hiss to instinctually imitate snakes; until rattle-tabbies evolve in 2079. Yet two rare, small snakes from the Southwest attempt to avert assault with a less-threatening sound: farts. It's only fitting they inhabit the heart of Tex-Mex country.
That's one of them, the Sonoran coral snake. Similar to people that learn to fart on command, the snakes are nocturnal or crepuscular, which means "covered in warts," according to this Latvian dictionary I fished out of the Grocery Outlet dumpster. They also sometimes poop in the process. And if you're fearing Daily Mail-ian sensationalism, these are literal farts.
That's a Chihuahuan Hook-Nosed Snake. The snakes contract their cloacal sphincter since snakes have a single hole in a "startling, explosive burst," as drunk dads do after importuning colleagues to "pull my finger." Snake farts last only two-tenths of a second but transmit more than six feet away, resembling a higher-pitched human fart, scientifically termed a squeaker.
The Sonoran coral snake is venomous but non-bitey, with teeny fangs barely capable of bypassing our fat and denim. Still, an unlikely envenomation causes drowsiness, weakness, and muscle problems—symptoms most desk-bound Americans welcome after their 11 o'clock Jalapeno Crispy Ranch Constipator* from the Carl's Jr. experimental menu. (*Now with a < 3% fatality rate in captive apes) And you know it's gonna be good when you have to sign a waiver.
Snake farts were evaluated by premier snake acoustician (soundologist) Bruce Young, who found they "popped" in response to "disruptive stroking or poking," which in humans is called ICR, or the Involuntary Cinnabon Response. Additionally, some are such strong flatulists that they exert enough cloacal force to launch themselves into the air. So keep doing those Kegels!
Geese And Other Birds Fly Upside Down
Birds descended from the flesh-rending dinosaurs who terrorized lesser beings and imposed dominion over the blood-soaked landsca—haha, what are you doing, you goofy goose:
The antediluvian ornithological whiffling is the art of flying upside down. Sometimes birds whiffle for intimidatory purposes, as per this Cooper's hawk whiffling to present menacing talons to a harassing crow that was soliciting the word of our most-high Avian Lord and Saviour, Christus Corvus.
Other birds whiffle for different reasons. Ravens are among the smartest, stateliest creatures in existence—I don't recall any toucans teasing Edgar Allan Poe about his dead lover. Therefore it's not surprising that ravens whiffle whimsically with wantonness to impress potential mates, assert dominance, or just for fun.
It’s an inverse function of bird wings and feathers, adapted through evolutionary trial and error to resemble Venetian blinds. However, non-believers claim that God created fully-fledged Venetian blinds out of dark chaos on a slow sports day.
Regardless of their origin, feathers "lock together to form a solid aerofoil against airflow from below," producing good-ass lift. Therefore, birds can't sustain upside-down flight for appreciable periods. This also demonstrates how whiffling works: inverting the aerodynamic advantage of wings lets birds decelerate quickly and drop from the sky to avoid predators or swoop on a tasty bowl of peas.
The whiffling ideology is helpful in our modern lives when we've overstepped bounds and must quickly reverse, physically or metaphorically. Is your glucose meter running higher with each lunge at that Chunky Monkey pint? Flip the spoon upside for inverted aerodynamics!
The Real Life Slimer (Worm)
The parchment tube worm is an extraterrestrial whose existence suggests every pop-fiction alien designer should be flogged (or, at the very least, be broken a little bit on the wheel) for spreading mis-imagination.
Parchment tube worms live inside tubes of their own construction, which resemble the parchments that held medieval recipes for cat-spine soup or pornographic images of women kneading bread with exposed shins. Also, yes, that's right, while many of us struggle to make rent for a half-room, quarter-bath rat-loft above an industrial smokestack, this worm is a bonafide homeowner.
The worms reach about 10 inches in length and feature a shovel mouth, bristles, piston-like paddles for pumping water, and bags of slime that trap tiny food, like plankton. Similar to exp-grinders in dank dens of masturbation vapors, the worms spend their lives within the cozy confines of their tubes and cannot survive for long outside.
In another similarity to touch-starved 21st-century denizens, if one gently squeezes the worm, it immediately releases small quantities of mucusy goo. And when it's threatened by predators or roommates eyeing that last slice of 'za, the worm slimes its opponent with a sticky fluid that gives off a sustained glow.
The goo is self-powered by a "molecular battery," an iron-storing protein called ferritin, which shines in blue light. And we can make the worm work for us: its tough tube can one day yield a super-material used in 3D printers or buildings. The iron-sensitive goo can also potentially diagnose iron-based disorders or track body tissues with a longer-lasting glow so doctors can image Frosted Flakes causing metabolic syndrome in real time. Unlocking the secrets of extended luminescence could yield futuristic lighting advances that are efficient, biodegradable, and rechargeable.
How promising. 20 years from now, Warframe gamers will bask in soothing illumination while saving enough Lil Wayne Crypto Nickels for the hottest prestige item of the 2040s, Gears of Wars 6 Virtua Volleyball NFTs.
Manakins: The Moonwalkin' Birds Who Use Teamwork To Get Laid
Some say dance is art. I personally wouldn't put spinning around real fast in the same category as a Bruegel canvas, Poe story, or a Pusha T cocaine ballad. Also, dancing is arguably the only art we share with animals: those Bored Panda and Dodo articles about squiggling elephants or chimps squeezing paint tubes into their asses don't really count. But dancing does because it has a clear and intended purpose: getting laid.
Sure, we humans sometimes dance for other reasons. Maybe a richly dressed tycoon is firing a revolver at our feet. Or perhaps we dance to momentarily escape the Draconian influence of a pious pastor father. But mostly it's to get laid, and we share that with many species. Possibly none as amusingly so as the colorful manakins:
These fellows have perfected myriad moves, including the moonwalk, as demonstrated by the red-capped manakin above. The wire-tailed manakin below prefers the wiggle:
Unsurprisingly, manakins have lots of sex. Their horndog lifestyles are possible because their habitat is so abundantly fruit-laden. This fruity paradise makes parental care easy since no effort is needed to secure resources. Therefore, mothers easily do the parenting while fathers dance and bang.
With such paternal freedom, dads spend years perfecting their moves, and the mothers choose their mates based on overall swagger. So manakins make all sorts of weird noises, including whirs, clicks, snaps, and even pops that sound like firecrackers or violin stridulations.
Manakins share another time-tested clubbin’ stratagem with humans, that of wingmanning. Sometimes, a blue manakin will be joined by as many as six friends to assist his dance.
These are orderly affairs, with the lead male always securing mating rights. His buddies don't mind because they get to practice and may score a mate based on secondhand swagger, later enjoying their own turn as captain.
Some Animals Use Camouflage; these Bedazzled Beetles Seemingly Employ The Opposite Approach
Lots of creatures use camouflage to avoid enemies. It's why Warren Buffet wears Wal-Mart joggers and an "I eat ass" snapback while shopping for Winco canned celery. Jewel scarabs and jewel beetles didn't get the memo:
Their iridescence is weird. It isn't from various pigments yielding different colors, but the arrangement of microscopic structures reflecting light in specific ways. These arrangements have cool science names, including "diffraction gratings" and "photonic crystals"—whenever something malfunctions in a sci-fi show, be it a ship, weapon, or sexbot, it's always due to damaged diffraction grating or a faulty photonic crystal, which the grunt has to fix while dangling from a space station’s spinning rim.
Both jewel scarabs (the Joe Pesci-er-looking ones) and jewel beetles (the Daniel Stern-er-looking ones) employ bedazzlement to attain insane colorations or shininess, which made them valuable, venerable funerary gems for the ancient Egyptians.
And since its structure, not color, that's responsible for its shine, the iridescence looks different based on the viewing angle, as when the light hits Subway's sliced "turkey" the right way.
Iridescence can be a brilliant sexual tool: the peacock's gaudy feathering attracts as nicely as a pair of decent biceps. Counter-intuitively, iridescence also provides camouflage. It seems dazzlingly obvious in a museum case or when photographed by the blinding flash tuned to capture the tiniest ass-pores in cosplay studios. But in the natural light of woodsy environs, shininess is insanely inconspicuous.
Truly enough, experiments found that humans and birds failed to detect these features in natural settings due to "dynamic disruptive camouflage," a confusing combo of colors, textures, depths, and distances.
This seemingly silly evolutionary choice is so stupid that nature loves it. Now, about 15,000 species of jewel beetles exist, making it one of the largest beetle families. They eat foliage and live inside rotting logs, the latter being something we humans technically also do, snuggling our ephemeral loved ones in our moldering cardboard abodes.
Thumbnail: David Jahn/Wiki Commons - CC-BY-SA-2.0, Michael Gäbler/Wiki Commons -CC-BY-3.0