I really do love how some animals defend themselves. There are obvious animals one would think of when approached with the subject of animal defenses. Some of these obvious ones include skunks, porcupines, poisonous snakes, etc. Those famous creatures that we all know about . . . but what about some of the other amazing animals that have some great ways of defending themselves?
Following are the top five creatures that defend themselves by using some sort of liquid or spraying action. Be ready to be blown away, in more way than one.
Number 5: Sea Cucumber
A sea cucumber is, whether or not the name says so, a marine animal that is somewhat like an eel. When threatened, this creature turns his insides into his outsides by squirting out his very sticky intestines at an enemy.
The intestines entangle the enemy long enough for the sea cucumber to get away and grow back the supplies within six weeks.
Number 4: Spitting Cobra
Even though it would seem no animal would want to mess with a cobra, many do. In order to combat this, a certain species of cobra has been designed with an amazing defense mechanism that can ward off or blind predators.
When threatened, a spitting cobra will rise up its head and spread out its neck in the popular “cobra hood”. If that does not scare off the predator, this cobra will contract muscles in his mouth and shoot out venom at high-speed and distances covering up to six feet. If poison gets in the eye, and without medical treatment, the predator will go blind, permanently.
Number 3: Bombardier Beetle
On many shows, a scientific laboratory is a place filled with bottles of chemicals that, if mixed together, explode. Although the laboratory view of it may be fictionalized, the effects of two unstable chemicals combining can be disastrous, as can be seen in the bombardier beetle.
When threatened, the bombardier beetle will bend its abdomen under its body, aim and squeeze. The squeezing sends out separate chemicals stored in two different glands in the beetle’s abdomen. When combined these chemicals explode and form a horrible concoction that can be fatal for predatory insects and painful to humans.
Number 2: Carpenter Ant
American history has been marked with the deaths of heroic soldiers in order to secure our freedom. For the ant kingdom, a few special ants can make those same sacrifices in order to secure their colony’s very existence.
When a carpenter ant’s colony is threatened by a particularly nasty predator, a few may go out and commit suicide for the sake of their colony. How (and why) do they do it?
On the carpenter ant’s body are two lines of glands filled with a glue-like substance. When the time for heroic sacrifice is needed, the ant will blow itself up and the substance will be sprayed all over their enemies. This explosion is caused by simply contracting muscles surrounding the gland and rupturing the skin. A heroic act that saves the colony . . . this time.
Number 1: Horned Lizard
Now we come to the number 1 spot. Here we have the horned lizard. Although the horned lizard has an excellent defense on his skeleton (multiple spikes), that will not always protect him. So, in order to protect himself efficiently, he must give some of his life-giving blood away.
When close to an enemy that is threatening him, the horned lizard will restrict blood flowing away from the head. This creates some massive blood pressure and the blood exits through blood vessels right by the eyes. This blood can fly almost five feet, tastes extremely bad to canine and feline predators and confuses predators.
Although all these creatures were designed with some amazing defenses, the horned lizard takes the prize for “Best Liquid Sprayer”. I mean, can you shoot blood out of your eyes?