12 Animals With Superpowers
Do you ever wonder why some of the most iconic superheroes in cultural history owe their namesake to the animal kingdom? Batman, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ant-Man… I could go on and on. The comic book industry has long looked to the natural world to glean inspiration for the superpowers for their superheroes. Awe-inspiring abilities like infrared sight, super-strength, or camouflage have existed in the real-world for eons.
Today, we lace up our mountain climbers, stuff a few Cliff bars in our cargo shorts, and venture out into the wilderness to seek out the super-human animals and their strange abilities. So, fill up your CamelBak and prepare for a journey through some of the most incredible animals on the face of the Earth.
1. Hairy Frog
The name “hairy frog” sounds both cuddly and horrifying. But when you dig into the hairy frog’s signature superpower, you’ll stop trying to cuddle with it.
The hairy frog, often referred to as the wolverine frog or “the horror”, has developed an interesting way to fight its way out of tough situations. The hairy frog can break its own toe bones and force those bones to puncture through its toe-pads to form claws that keep attackers at bay. The talons resemble a cat’s claws.
2. Pit Viper
The pit viper is a family of venomous vipers that call Eurasia and the Americas home. The family includes rattlesnakes, boas, and pythons.
While pit vipers are poisonous — which should be a superpower in its own right — they have way more in store. Their real superpower is a literal sixth sense. No, pit vipers can’t see dead people. However, they can see living ones.
A special pit located between the snake’s eyes and nostrils uses infrared to help them detect warm-blooded prey. Like the Predator! Except, you know, real.
3. Mantis Shrimp
Don’t call this little guy a shrimp! Or, at least not to his face.
The mantis shrimp is a marine crustacean that can be found all over the world. At 10 centimeters, they’re small. However, they certainly pack a punch. They’re predators that use their incredible strength and speed to beat their prey into submission.
How fast are they exactly? Well, their fists accelerate quicker than a .22-caliber bullet! Oh, and one more thing, their eye-site is substantially better than ours.
4. Dung Beetle
Most people think that the ant is the strongest animal in the world. Not so. In fact, that crown deservingly rests on the head of the dung beetle.
Specifically, a male belonging to the Onthophagus Taurus species of dung beetle. This species can actually pull 1,141 times its own body weight. To put that in perspective, that would be like a human being with the ability to lift 80-tonnes. Talk about serious gains.
About 410 different variations of the salamander exist around the world. In short, regardless of where you call home, they are fairly common. What isn’t common though, is the salamander’s special ability.
Using their immune system, salamanders have the power to regrow entire limbs, like tails or arms, and even parts of their major organs when necessary. It’s a spectacular feat that, if and when the code is cracked, could prove to be incredibly useful in the world of human medicine.
The Lyrebird is a ground-dwelling bird that’s native to Australia. The male lyrebird is known for its signature tail feather that’s often fanned out in the bird’s seasonal courtship display. I know what you’re thinking and no, the lyrebird’s superpower isn’t mastery of the art of seduction.
The lyrebird’s actual superpower is its incredible ability to mimic the sounds of their environment. They’ve been caught on camera mimicking chainsaws, car alarms, and more.
But don’t take my word for it! Here’s legendary BBC personality David Attenborough on the subject.
Unlike a lot of the other super-powered animals on this list, most of us can recognize a platypus on sight. The duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal is a kid’s book staple. Although you may be familiar with the animal’s look, the platypus still has a few surprises in store.
For starters, the platypus is one of the only mammals in the natural world that lays eggs. While that’s not a superpower, it’s still very interesting.
When it comes to superpowers, the platypus has electroreception. Electroreception allows the platypus to perceive underwater prey using electrical impulses. The ability helps them pick up prey and navigate the dark waters that they call home.
8. Scarlet Jellyfish
The scarlet jellyfish could quite possibly have the most incredible superpower in the animal kingdom. Turritopsis dohrni, as scientists like to call it, can be found in the Mediterranean Sea and the waters of Japan. For the most part, it looks a lot like a regular, garden-variety jellyfish. But, looks can be deceiving.
You see, the scarlet jellyfish is immortal. Well, sort of. When an adult scarlet jellyfish is injured, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor and transforms back to its infant state. Following some growing pains, this remarkable jellyfish is back to full size.
The opossum is a common, large marsupial. While the opossum originated in South America, it can now be found all over the Americas.
Opossums are survivors that have the ability to scrounge, adapt, and endure pretty much anything the natural and unnatural world can throw at it. Which brings us to the opossum’s special power: a super-charged immune system.
Snake venom, rabies, ricin, and the botulinum toxin all fall short of the opossum’s incredible immune system. You see, the marsupial has a serum protein in their blood that neutralizes poison.
10. Pistol Shrimp
If you take any informational tidbits from perusing this list, always remember that shrimp is nothing to mess with.
Take the Alpheidae, or pistol shrimp, for example. It may look like an ordinary shrimp. It may even taste like one. But, for all intents and purposes, the pistol shrimp is much, much different.
Why? Well, this feisty little guy uses its enormous claw to fire bullets made of bubbles at their prey. These bubbles stunning or sometimes kill their prey. What’s more, the sound from the pistol shrimp’s gun is 60-decibels louder than the sound an actual gun makes.
Fleas are gross. They itch and suck blood. Just yuck!
The external parasite, and it’s 2,500 species, can be found all over the world. Plus, each and every one of them enjoys a superpower that’s coveted by box jumpers and ball players alike.
That’s right! Despite being tiny and gross, fleas can jump as far as eight-inches and as high as 5.2-inches. That may not seem like a huge distance. But, when set to scale, it really is quite remarkable. It would be like a six-foot-tall human jumping over a 480-foot building. Oh, the possibilities.
Chameleons are one of the only creatures on our list that enjoy the benefits of not just one superpower, but two. A real embarrassment of riches here.
First, the chameleon reaps the rewards of a visual system that enables them to see their environment in nearly 360 degrees. Furthermore, chameleons can view objects with either eye independently or both eyes together. As if seeing everything isn’t cool enough, chameleons also possess the ability to rapidly change the color of their skin to camouflage with their surrounding environment.
So, chameleons can effectively see all while simultaneously avoid being seen. Talk about an evolutionary advantage!