We admire nature's diversities and respect the food chain and survival of the fittest. But do we really know how terrifying might be the ways they hunt and kill their prey? Well, we can assure you that some of those top ten methods will drive fear to your bones. So, let's go and get to know those strange killers and their bizarre killing methods.
10. Secretary Birds
After seeing Secretary birds, you may think, "Oh, such a funny-looking animal." But don't let the silly appearance fool you, as Secretary birds are actually ruthless predators. This bird of prey unusually hunts on the land, stomping on vegetation to flush their target. Secretary birds kill by stomping it to death.
Those funny-looking killers are native to Africa, so their victims are beetles and locusts, but also mammals such as mongoose and mice. Their scientific name, Sagittarius serpentarius, translated as 'the archer of snakes,' suggests that those predators sometimes kill even snakes. It has been recorded that Secretary bird has even eliminated cobra with its persistent stomps to the snake's head.
Glowworms may be pretty on the eye and exploited as a tourist attraction in parts of New Zealand, but their glow serves other purposes. A nice-looking effect is actually a hunting technique resulting from emissions of light generated by a chemical reaction of an enzyme called luciferase. Blue-green light emits from an organ located near its tails.
The purpose of this is to lure insects to them, which become trapped by their large sticky webs. Dark and moist places such as caves are a perfect hunting ground for glowworms. They are very territorial, and trespassers are not welcome. The result of other glowworm incursions is usually a fierce fight, sometimes even cannibalism.
8. Komodo Dragon
Komodo Dragon is the largest living lizard on Earth, sometimes referred to as 'land crocodile.' The average size of this carnivore beast is about nine feet, and they weigh up to 200 lbs. Komodo's method of killing is to charge their prey and attack it with sharp claws and serrated teeth. They usually target the prey's throat or its underside. If the initial charge didn't finish the job, the severely wounded victim ends up with a dragon tearing its flesh off and eating it alive.
Komodos are mainly restricted to few remote islands in Indonesia. Although rare, a few fatal encounters with humans have been recorded. Scientists speculate that their teeth contain venom, but this theory hasn't been confirmed. Their extraordinary sight reaches about 985 feet, and their speed goes up to 13 miles per hour. Scarry indeed.
7. Electric Eels
Electric eels are native to South American rivers, usually lurking in the dark and murky waters. Despite their name and serpentine appearance, they are actually knife fishes. They hunt utilizing unusual electric charge to shock and stun unsuspecting prey. Electric eels feed on insects, crustaceans, fish, and even small reptiles and amphibians.
Motion-sensitive hairs on the eel's body detect pressure change in water and trigger two rapid electric pulses that stun and paralyze prey, allowing them to consume it. Most of the eels' bodies are packed with cells that act like tiny batteries. With 80% of body mass devoted to electricity, it's no wonder that they can zap about 600 volts.
We all played with water pistols when we were young but did you know that one animal uses this concept for hunting? Her name is the Archerfish. Obviously, she got her name from the ability to spit an 'arch' of water at its prey. While floating near the surface, it shoots land-based insects with deadly streams of water. Those squirt guns can blast a jet of water up to five feet!
Archerfish can be quite persistent and fire seven streams of water from their mouths at one time. The natural habitat of these gunmen is the brackish waters of Northern Australia and South East Asia. She is among very few animals to utilize surrounding tools for hunting. Hands up, it's Archerfish!
Margay is a nocturnal small cat predator native to South and Central America. This sneaky cat uses the rare technique of mimicry to lure its prey. Margay can vocalize the infant cries of monkeys such as Pied tamarins. With this technique, they save energy and improve their chances for a successful hunt. Basically, they rather lure prey than pursue it.
Margay also hunts squirrels, birds, and lizards, but it can be a vegetarian. They usually weigh between 9 and 20 pounds and reach up to 31 inches in length. Margay has a very large tail that can be about 20 inches long, and it's adapted for true arboreal life. It's the only cat in the world possessing the ability to rotate its hind legs 180°, enabling it to run down trees like squirrels.
4. Net Casting Spider
Deinopidae is commonly known as net casting spider. That name explains its unique hunting technique to catch unsuspecting prey. This nocturnal hunter lives in the tropics of America, Africa, and Australia. Deinopidae utilizes remarkable vision to spot prey before casting their net over the victim in a lightning-quick movement. Helpless captured insects have no means of escape!
Deinopidae possesses a pair of eyes significantly bigger than the rest, appearing to be a two-eyed creature. Those night-vision optics allow it to cast nets accurately in low-light conditions. Deinopidae diets include moths, crickets, and ants. This tiny 'Spiderman' can sometimes make a silk net, three times its size.
3. Bolas Spiders
Bolas spiders use the sneaky technique to lure moths to their doom by mimicking both their sex pheromones. To attract different types of species, they change blend through the night. Bolas spiders don't build a web. Instead, they sling a single line of silk across a gap. Next, they dangle another piece of silk with a sticky glob at the end. When the trap is near completion, they release chemicals imitating the sex pheromones of female moths to attract males searching for mating.
Deceived moths end up captured with a spider's swinging silk lasso. Female specimens are larger, and they are about ½ - ¾ inches, while males are only 1/16 inches in length. Those cunning little cowboys live in America, Australia, Africa, and some parts of Asia.
2. Pram Bug
Phronima sedentaria, or Pram Bug, is well known for her striking physical resemblance with the alien queen first seen in James Cameron's movie "Alien." This creepy crustacean, not much larger than 1 inch, is equipped with four red compound eyes that enable panoramic vision. Pram Bug possesses claw-like appendages that can slice open its victims, allowing the creature to crawl in and devour it from inside.
Phronima sedentaria usually hunts for gelatinous plankton. Females lay their eggs inside the victim's hollow body and declare it home sweet home. Though it seems a bit creepy, turning over another species' body into a floating house and a place to raise children is a good choice for Pram Bug.
1. Emerald Jewel Wasp
The Ampulex compressa or Emerald Jewel wasp is famous for its ability to zombify the cockroach. They have tiny metallic blue-green bodies with red thighs on the second and third pair of legs. Those wasps sting cockroaches to the brain, and while venom is taking effect, the poor insect becomes passive and totally in control of his captor.
Furthermore, the cockroach is guided into a hole, where the female wasp deposits eggs in her. The zombie-like cockroach can walk, run, or even fly if stimulated, but it doesn't try to escape. It's slowly eaten alive by the developing wasp larva. Eventually, a fully developed Emerald Jewel wasp emerges from the roach's body. Could you imagine a more bizarre death?
We bet you didn't know most of these creatures even exist or how bizarre their hunting and killing techniques can be. It is a strange world out there, either in the sky, land or in the oceans. Like it or not, we share our planet with all those remarkable animals, and at least we can do is get to know them no matter how bizarre and scary they are.
So, tell us, what was the most bizarre killing method from our top ten list? We'd love to hear your thoughts about this topic in the comments below. See you there, and don't forget to close your bedroom window before sleep.
Cover photo: YouTube Screenshot