These animals will either make you glad you’re human, or wish you were a new animal with some natural superpowers. Regardless, here are a handful of either obscure animals, or animals that you know of with weird and obscure animal powers. Honestly, when you really get down to thinking about it, this weird bunch of animals could make another generation of X-Men. It would probably be better than some of the movies anyway.
Quick ground rules, we’re not allowed to use bugs, since we already have a list of those: A List of 12 Nasty and Cool Bugs For Your Enjoyment.
10 Weird Animals
Looking at the wombat, you wouldn’t be mistaken for finding it quite simple and unassuming. Maybe you already know something funny about the wombat–they poop in cubes. Which means you could probably build something out of wombat poop?
Wombats live in burrows, which is a pretty big vulnerability when other animals want to eat you. So what’s the wombat’s solution? Jamming its butt against the openings to their burrows to block out potential predators.
Apparently, their butts are essentially cartilage, fat, and four fused plates of bone. It’s enough to protect a wombat from an angry fox or dingo without so much as a scratch. Which basically makes wombat bums indestructible to most predators. Combined with sharp claws and teeth when you really make one mad, wombats can actually be rather dangerous.
Not only to us squishy humans, but their predators as well. Careless foxes have been found dead outside of wombat burrows before.
Apparently some people don’t think narwhals exist? Despite them being nowhere near endangered.
Native to northern arctic waters, the narwhal is really good at hunting prey that hides under thick ice. But nobody really cares about narwhal hunting strategies, we’re here for their horns. Which aren’t actually horns, they’re teeth. Narwhal tusks (which neatly grow in spirals) are actually just really long canines. If you were wondering, yes, it’s 100% possible for narwhals to grow two tusks. It happens too! About 1 in 500.
3. The Platypus
Alright, nobody really knows what the heck is up with the platypus. For starters, the thing looks like a beaver and a duck were glued together. But even aside from that, they get even weirder.
As a mammal, you may expect that the platypus to birth live young. Turns out, there are 5 species of mammal that lay eggs. 4 of which are variations of echidnas, the platypus making up the 5th. Also, as a fun side fact, these mammals are known as monotremes. If you were wondering, the title of “mammal” just depends on mammary glands. It’s got nothing to do with eggs. Just so happens that the vast majority don’t lay eggs.
What’s more, the platypus is one of the few mammals capable of harnessing the power of venom.
Also, they use their bills for the power of electrolocation, which is the same way sharks find prey.
If you were wondering, the platypus is native to Australia. Because that’s where all the crazy animals are.
4. The Axolotl
Hopefully you’ve heard of or seen an axolotl before, because they look really cool. They appear every now and then when you’re browsing the internet, so they’ve definitely got the exposure. So what makes them special?
Well they’re basically the Wolverine. While not as instantaneous as the X-Man himself, the axolotl has some startling regenerative abilities. They can regrow entire limbs, and even vital organs, including but not limited to parts of their hearts and central nervous system. Heck, we’ve even seen them regenerate some parts of their own brains.
Axolotls can even just accept transplant bits from others and use the new parts as their own.
5. Pink Fairy Armadillo
You’ve seen armadillos, but have you seen them be pink fairies? We haven’t either, but there do exist armadillos with the name pink fairy. They’re supposed to be very soft according to some sources, and they still retain their ability to curl up into a little ball.
6. Softshell Turtles
We’re vaguely sure that having a soft shell defeats the purpose of having one in the first place as a turtle, but sure. Softshell turtle shells (say that ten times fast, jeez) does serve a purpose. It affords more flexibility to the turtle’s movement, so there’s that.
It’s also not like they’re made of paper mache, softshell turtles simply lack the hard scales their brethren have. They’ve still got the solid bone underneath.
Yes, turtle shells are largely a part of their skeletons.
You probably have seen or heard of the woodpecker before. If you’ve ever rattled your head around before, you’ve probably felt that disgusting headache before. Heck, if you’ve played football, you’ve probably gotten a concussion this way.
Turns out, woodpeckers are either immune to concussions or constantly concussed. They seem to suffer from near constant brain damage as a result of their habits.
If concussive immunity wasn’t a fun trivia fact for you, perhaps this will be. Woodpecker tongues wrap around their skulls to form their own crash helmets.
8. The Goblin Shark
Does the goblin shark have some insane superpowers like the other animals we’ve listed? Probably not, but they are really ugly.
Native to some of the ocean’s deepest depths, information on the goblin shark is largely hidden from us.
Also they have an extendo-jaw like the Alien.
Goblin shark alien jaws have nothing on the moray eel, whose mouths actually contain two jaws, just like the Alien.
9. Horned Viper
They’re vipers with horns! They’re also normally chill unless you really annoy them. If you do that, they can make a rasping noise by rubbing their scales together.
10. The Mantis Shrimp
Capping off the list is none other than the mantis shrimp. They’ve got some incredible arms, capable of punching with the power of a gun. They even get the explosion part right, moving so quickly they create cavitation bubbles that implode–producing upwards 1,500 newtons. That’s actually comparable to contemporary firearms–and the cavitation bubbles even produce some light.
Their eyes are also insane, capable of seeing somewhere between 12-16 colors. At least they would if their eyes worked like ours. The human eye can only see variations of red, green, and blue (with other colors being combinations of these), where the mantis shrimp has structures in its eyes dedicated to even more colors. We can see different colors because the human brain does a lot of really fast comparisons and can combine wavelengths to produce things in between red, green, and blue.
The mantis shrimp isn’t as big-brained. Turns out, they’re about as good as distinguishing between colors as we are. When it comes to colors, they can still see larger parts of the electromagnetic spectrum than we can.
Also they have three pseudo-pupils in each eye. So they can see on multiple axes at once with one eye.
We don’t know if any of these animals inspired X-Men, but animals surely inspired a lot of Pokemon. Check some out here.