1. Starfish have ghoulish eating habits
It may come as little surprise that these unusual creatures have a few biological eccentricities—they see through tiny “eyespots” at the tip of each arm, for example. But their eating habits qualify as downright grotesque. To consume a mussel or clam, the five-pointed critter pries the shell open slightly, ejects its stomach from its mouth into the shell, digests the animal, then slides its stomach back into its own body.
2. Margays are psychological manipulators
These jungle cats may appear to be friendly if you happen to spot them in the Amazon rainforest, but these kitties are nothing like your typical house pet. The way they survive is downright ᴇᴠɪʟ: when Margays are hungry, they will mimic the cry of their intended prey to lure them over. According to National Geographic, it’s the first documented case of a cat using vocal imitation as a ʜᴜɴᴛing device.
3. Kangaroos are ʀᴜᴛʜless mothers
Don’t be fooled by the ʜᴀʀᴍless seeming kangaroo that just hops around cutely. If in ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀ, a mother kangaroo will sacrifice its baby. The logical reason for this is because a baby can’t reproduce, so it’s up to the mother to keep herself alive so that the species can continue to thrive. A zookeeper from the North Georgia Zoo says that if a mother kangaroo has multiple babies, during times when the mom can’t support them all, she will keep one to be alive. Unlike humans, kangaroos definitely let their kids know who are their favorite.
4. Ladybugs are cannibals
These brightly colored beetles aren’t afraid to turn on each other when food is scarce. If it’s a matter of survival, adult ladybugs will eat other freshly molted or newborn ladybugs. The beetles also have a ᴡɪᴄᴋᴇᴅ defense mechanism: When startled, ladybugs emit a foul-smelling fluid from their leg joints that helps scare away predators.
5. Female penguins will ᴋɪᴅɴᴀᴘ other’s chicks
Those adorable waddling penguins you love can actually be baby-stealing meanies if they lose their own chicks. While the ᴋɪᴅɴᴀᴘping only lasts for anywhere between a few hours to a week, it’s not as if the ᴋɪᴅɴᴀᴘper returns the baby chick when she loses interest. It’s actually worse—the ᴋɪᴅɴᴀᴘping penguin will ᴀʙᴀɴᴅᴏɴ her stolen chick, leaving it to fend for itself and likely ᴘᴇʀɪsʜ.
6. Dolphins like to bully and torture others
We know what you’re thinking—how could such majestic, calm creatures like dolphins be so mean? Well, the unfortunate tʀᴜᴛʜ is that they can be actually quite ᴠɪᴏʟᴇɴᴛ when they’re in a playful mood. Dolphins have been observed using baby sharks like volleyballs and in one instance, ganging up on and ᴋɪʟʟing porpoises in unexplained acts of ᴀɢɢʀᴇssion.
7. Baby spiders eat their mom
Just like the ladybug is a bit of a cannibal, so are some species of spiders. The process is called Matriphagy, and it happens after the mother has depleted her resources by producing a nourishing fluid that they feed to their babies by mouth. Once the mother has no more fluid, the baby will crawl on top of her and start eating its mother.
8. Snails have razor-sharp teeth
How terrifying can an animal really be if it moves at an average speed of 0.03 mph and leaves behind a trail of goo? One look into a snail’s mouth will tell you: Gastropods, including snails and slugs, have thousands of tiny teeth located on a ribbon-like structure called a radula. Depending on the species, they use these teeth as a ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ harpoon, to cut prey, or, in the case of the ghost slug, to seize and devour earthworms.
9. Polar bears are ᴠɪᴄɪᴏᴜs predators
Polar bears may look cute and cuddly, but they are the world’s largest land predator, often stalking the breathing holes seals make in the ice. Using their excellent sense of smell, polar bears wait until they detect the seal’s breath, then reach into the hole and drag the seal out onto the ice. Male polar bears have been known to ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ and ᴋɪʟʟ prey twice their size, including walruses, beluga whales, and narwhals.
10. Slow loris monkeys have ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴous elbows
The doe-eyed slow loris is a popular exotic pet, but these little furballs are one of the only ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴous mammals in the world. Normally no more than 15 inches long, slow lorises produce a ᴛᴏxɪᴄ secretion from the brachial gland in the upper arm that can cause a sᴇᴠᴇʀᴇ ᴀʟʟᴇʀɢic reaction in other mammals. When ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛened, the creatures lick the secretion and bite the predator, delivering the ᴘᴏɪsᴏɴ into the ᴡᴏᴜɴᴅ.