How Freaky Can Nature Be? Hold Your Breath – These Pictures Will Blow Your Mind!By Michelle Stone
Nature is awe-inspiring. Some animals are highly intelligent, live in complex societies, and have mind-blowing self-defense mechanisms. But nature programs don’t always present the whole truth about the natural world. After all, animals can be cute, majestic, and even mind-boggling; but they can also be pretty freaky. Nature is as scary as it is entrancing, and it can sometimes get weird. But that’s not a reason to ignore it: on the contrary, it only makes things even more interesting! The pictures in this article sum up nature’s unquestionable weirdness in a compelling way, proving that the natural world still has the power to surprise every one of us. From mind-controlling parasites to eyeless, hairless cats, there’s a little bit of everything on the list.
An Eye For An Eye
This is probably not the best picture to praise the eyes of a snake. This particular serpent has both eyes in the same socket and looks a little bit like a rubber toy one would see in the toy store. But snakes actually have pretty enviable eyes.
According to ScienceNordic, snakes don’t have any eyelids. Instead, their eyes are covered by a protective membrane that’s renewed when they shed their skin. One can compare the membrane to a contact lens, and it’s believed to provide snakes with optimal vision.
This is the hura crepitans, also known as the sandbox tree and, more colloquially, the “monkey no-climb.” The name is self-explanatory: the tree is covered with dark, pointed spines that make it almost impossible for a monkey even to try to climb it. But that’s not all.
Remarkably, the sandbox tree also has explosive fruit. That’s right, explosive! The fruit is a type of pumpkin-shaped capsule that literally explodes when it’s ripe. The sandbox tree is arguably the world’s most dangerous tree, and one can find it in places such as Hawaii, Vietnam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A Vertical Cat Nap
These divers aren’t swimming next to a set of lost submarines. These large, vertical objects are actually whales taking a cat nap. Weird as it may sound, some species of whales enjoy sleeping vertically, and Sperm Whales are believed to do so for about 7% of their day.
But why? According to a 2008 Nature article, Sperm Whales have some of the boniest heads in the ocean. Swimming around all day while carrying that extraordinary weight can be exhausting, so it’s no wonder these animals use their big heads for a more balanced, pressure-relieving nap.
Too Close To The Elephant
There’s a saying that goes: “if you stand too close to an elephant, you can’t see the elephant.” It means that, sometimes, one needs to take a step back to see the full picture. But seeing the full picture can be costly: after all, one can miss out on the small details when watching from afar.
A case in point is the fact that this is a picture of an elephant’s tail! Elephants are known to be gentle, intelligent, and magnificent creatures, but few people realize they have bizarre-looking tails with some tough-looking hair. Elephants are the world’s biggest animal on land.
Up until the 19th century, medical doctors used leeches to draw blood from patients and treat all sorts of conditions. Today, they’re a fairly unpopular creature that’s still used in medicine but that nobody wants to find in their sock!
This man probably felt a shiver when he realized his sock was “home” to a family of leeches. There are almost 700 documented species of leeches, many of which live in the water. They feed on blood, so it’s usually best to avoid them!
Epic Animal Battles
“Epic Animal Battles” sounds like the title of a great show, but not like a scene anyone would want to see happening on their front porch. Living in the countryside comes with its fair share of dangers, including the possibility of stumbling upon something like this.
A woman witnessed a giant snake and a bird wrestling in her roof and took this snap to immortalize the moment. Nature can be brutal, as proved by these two unlikely rivals. It’s hard to tell who the winner will be, but things aren’t looking so great for that entangled bird.
Anthropomorphism: it’s another mouthful but a word that applies perfectly to this praying mantis. To anthropomorphize something is to attribute human characteristics to a non-human entity. Such as claiming that this quirky-looking mantis is a big fan of martial arts.
It’s safe to say insects don’t watch Jackie Chan movies often (or ever), but this praying mantis looks like he’s a big fan of action flicks. Presumably, this technique has the same goal martial arts once did: intimidate others and keep predators away.
Vegetables Are Getting Scarier
At first glance, this picture looks like something one would see in a scary sci-fi movie. But these are not alien eggs or even eggs at all. Instead, this is the picture of a cabbage field in Japan, making for yet another reason for kids to continue hating vegetables.
Why do these cabbages look like ghost eggs from a distant planet? It all happened in 2019, the year Japan was hit by an abnormally warm winter. Local farmers didn’t even bother harvesting their unwanted cabbages due to the change in weather.
Mother Nature’s Full Of Surprises
Mossy frogs owe their name to their mottled, hardened green and brown skin, which looks just like moss. It makes for a tremendous camouflaging tool. These quirky little animals can be found in Vietnam, China, and possibly Laos and live mainly in evergreen or sub-tropical forests.
Mossy frogs are yet another example of Mother Nature’s incredible diversity. These semi-aquatic animals like to live in caves and rocky cliffs and enjoy breeding in tree holes. Sadly, their natural habitats are being threatened by the increasing deforestation in Southeast Asia.
It’s A Frog-Eat-Spider World
Nature is a dog-eat-dog world, but what about the spider-eating frog? When food is scarce, and resources are minimal, animals are forced to take desperate measures to survive. This frog is risking its life to eat a spider that’s probably a little too big for its mouth.
But in this frog-eat-spider world, one has to take risks to get ahead. This picture doesn’t make for the prettiest representation of animal life, but it surely makes for an accurate one. Thankfully, humans no longer have to hunt with their bare hands to feed themselves anymore.
Nature’s Own Mind-Controlling Mechanism
Cordycipitaceae: the name might be too long to stay in memory, but the characteristics of this remarkable fungus are unforgettable. This parasite affects bugs such as the tarantula in the picture and functions as nature’s own mind-controlling mechanism. Luckily, it does not affect humans.
When an insect is affected by a form of cordycipitaceae, the fungus can actively take control of its muscles and drive it towards an area where fungi reproduction is most favorable. Spiders are scary enough on their own, but mind-controlled spiders? That’s a whole new nightmare!
A Centipede On The Fly
Leaving the zip of jeans open can be embarrassing. But to this man, zipping up could be a matter of pain. He spotted a huge centipede hiding in the fly of his jeans, but he had the ease of mind to keep calm and snap this photo. Centipedes are venomous, and their bites are painful.
It’s a good place for a centipede to hide: it’s cozy, warm, and safe, and the jeans’ zip kind of looks like a fellow centipede! But to the man wearing the pants, this doesn’t look like such a pleasant experience. Wearing jeans just got a whole lot more worrisome…
David & Goliath
It’s the frog version of David and Goliath’s epic battle, and it’s not very hard to spot the Goliath. In fact, the giant, black frog in the picture is known as the Goliath bullfrog. The largest living frog can weigh up to 7.2 pounds and grow up to 13 inches long.
The Goliath bullfrog puts all other frogs to shame, but it is a rare, hard-to-spot species. They have a small habitat range and can be found almost exclusively in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Popular in the pet trade, Goliath bullfrogs are sadly considered an endangered species.
A City In-Between The Walls
Humans tend to think of themselves as nature’s most talented builder, and that’s probably accurate. Yet, other species can also build incredible infrastructures, and wasps make for a pretty good example. This “city” of wasps was found inside a homeowner’s wall and looks like a complex, fascinating insect metropolis.
Finding many wasps inside the wall isn’t exactly a good thing, but the advancedness of wasp civilization should be admired nonetheless. Wasps work together for a common goal, live in a monarchy-like society, and can socialize in groups of over 50,000 insects.
Nature is so foreign and fascinating to humans that, at times, men and women tend to forget they’re part of nature too. And while humans tend to miss the littlest life forms around them, their presence is strongly felt amongst the tiny ones. Like this group of funny, curious frogs.
They look like they were having a lovely afternoon in their tiny nest when they were interrupted by a curious photographer. The whole bunch came out to see what was happening, not realizing they were about to make it to the Internet.
100 Million Years Of Deadly Traps
At its core, nature is about survival. Humans used strategic thinking and handmade tools to make it in the wild. Spiders, on the other hand, like to set traps. And it’s been working just fine for them: after all, spiders have roamed the earth for at least 100 million years!
While many spiders are great at weaving their lethal webs, some make for better architects than others. This impressive spider made the most of a hole in a tree to create a sturdy web that looks like the deadliest trap around.
Upping The Ant
Ants are nature’s little laborers. They work together to achieve the impossible, and they’re incredibly diligent creatures with a lot of power. Ants can lift up to 5,000 times their body weight, and they can perform even better as a group.
Ants are so effective at feeding themselves that they can even steal food from humans. These lucky, hardworking ants are getting ready to have the meal of their lives: two full-sized shrimps! The way they’re able to carry these two comparatively large bodies seems to defy all logic.
The ability to mutate applies to all living creatures, not just fictional characters like in X-Men. While it may look like a comic book character, this unique octopus suffered a rare mutation that caused its tentacles to grow… tentacles. Its arms branched out, just like a tree.
Mutations are an essential part of nature that helps to explain its diversity. According to the theory of evolution, it’s spontaneous mutations that cause certain species to survive in certain environments. According to Charles Darwin, mutation is the source of natural variation.
A Tricky, Tricky Tick
A dog is a man’s best friend, and a tick is a dog owner’s worst enemy. These tiny parasites can lodge in the weirdest of places, and this tricky tick even found its way to the gums of a poor dog.
It’s fair to say even the most resolute animal lovers out there aren’t big fans of the hateful tick. They feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and even reptiles and are said to have existed for at least 90 million years.
Such A Happy Family!
This picture of a mommy spider with her hundreds of babies can be nauseating for some. About 6% of the world’s population struggles with arachnophobia, and many more have a mild fear or disgust of spiders. But all things considered, isn’t this simply a photo of a happy arachnidian family?
Admittedly, this is the sort of “happy family” nobody would like to stumble upon. Considering each one of those baby spiders can grow up to be as big as their mommy, this is some pretty heavy content for all the spider-haters out there!
The lovely entrance rug says “hello,” but the massive conglomerate of insects is screaming, “get out of here!” It’s hard to say exactly how this even happened, but one thing’s for sure: this homeowner will probably sleep in a hotel until the area’s clear.
Many insects are harmless little creatures, but they still have the power to make humans feel very uncomfortable. The idea of accidentally eating a critter or being covered by bugs is nauseating enough to make some people run away in horror.
A Bizarre Squid Fact
The squid is a type of cephalopod with eight arms and two tentacles. They also have several suction cups, pretty similar to the ones on an octopus. Yet, few people know that a squid’s suction cups feature a small row of teeth.
Horrible as it may seem, this well-known fact goes to show that squids are more monstrous than people tend to assume. To make it worse, the teeth are very sharp and almost piranha-like. Squid still makes for a fine delicacy, though, included in some mouth-watering Mediterranean recipes.
In Nature, Size Matters!
Nature’s protagonists come in all shapes and sizes. Common wasps tend to scare some people away, but the bigger versions of the wasp are even more intimidating. In this picture, a huge wasp is showing a spider who is the boss!
The Asian giant hornet is considered the largest eusocial wasp, and it has the reputation of being a very invasive species. Native to East Asia, giant hornets have been spotted all around lately, from the Pacific Northeast to the United States.
When Stumbling Upon A Nest…
Bees can sometimes build huge nests inside the walls of houses, in farm locations, and even in cars. Some, like the nest in the picture, end up getting so big that they constitute a problem. But what should any homeowner do in a situation like this?
Bees are considered a decreasing species, and there’s no shortage of farmers looking to preserve them. In case anyone finds a bee’s nest in an inconvenient place, the best thing is to do nothing and notify the professionals.
The picture of this odd-looking tree has been shared all over the Internet, and people joked about the fact it looked so much like spaghetti. The tree was even given nicknames like “Spaghetree” and “Chef Boyartree.” And yet, this photo holds a dark, daunting truth.
This tree was photographed in the follow-up of a major wildfire, a type of disaster that’s sadly way too common. While the “spaghetti” pattern is a well-known type of tree deformity, it’s still sad to see these majestic perennial plants burned up like this.
We’ve heard about snakes on a plane before, but snakes on a motorbike? It’s impossible to tell if this quirky snake is a one-time visitor or a beloved pet, but it found the perfect hole to fit in. Better still, it gets to travel around free of charge!
Plus, it serves as a deterrent to thieves. Most people wouldn’t like to find a snake in their motorbikes, or any other place, for that matter. But this serpent looks like it can comfortably cruise around town! We do hope it knows how traffic lights and signs work.
Going To The Toilet Can Be Scary
Going to the toilet is one of the most private of all daily functions. Many people enjoy solitude and silence when they’re sitting on the porcelain throne, and some can’t even get the job done if they’re distracted or uncomfortable. But in Australia, going to the bathroom can be remarkably dangerous.
While it’s impossible to tell if this is actually a toilet in Australia, there’s no doubt that the Land Down Under makes would be a pretty good guess. This picture would surely inspire people who don’t check the toilet before sitting to start doing so. Immediately!
A Slimy Pet
The problem with many snails is that they’re so small, discreet, and tiny that people accidentally step over them! But that’s not a risk the Giant African land snail is willing to take. With an impressive eight inches in length, this “beastly” snail is roughly ten times the size of the average land snail.
These snails are so colossal that some people have decided to treat them as pets. It’s undoubtedly an unusual pet choice and one that’s potentially dangerous: Giant African land snails are considered to be an invasive species and can carry a parasite associated with meningitis.
A Squirmy Parasite
The existence of intestinal worms is well-known and documented. These nauseating animals can live inside human beings, especially in underdeveloped regions. Before entering the human body, they’re commonly found in undercooked meat and infected water. And yes, they can look like a scary sci-fi monster!
While intestinal worms are widespread, people tend not to think about them. It’s fair to say the idea that one of these creatures can be living inside our body is too terrifying to even take into consideration. Especially when these little monsters look so creepy.
Definitely Not Man’s Best Friend
Coyotes are a little bit like dogs, except they’re far more brutal. While this furry animal looks like he needs some petting, he’s happy enough to have found some dinner before nighttime. That’s not his tail he’s biting: that’s an unfortunate squirrel.
Coyotes are gruesome predators that feed off smaller animals such as squirrels, rabbits, and mice. In the United States, a Kensignton man once saw his pet dog being eaten by a violent coyote! Coyotes may look like household dogs, but there’s nothing friendly about them.
The Impact Of Deforestation
This strange-looking fish was left to die in the mud and snapped by a photographer. Unbelievably, this picture was captured in the forest of the Amazon, which is actually far less green than people assume. In the Amazon, intense deforestation is taking a heavy toll on the natural wildlife.
Amazon deforestation has been a problem for years, but it reached the highest rate of the decade in 2020. According to Nature magazine, the deforestation area in Brazil alone is estimated to be as large as 2,055 soccer fields! No wonder this fish looks gloomy.
Florida’s Own Sea Pork
A man was fishing when he caught this bizarre, orange blob. The mysterious creature looked like a human organ, as sea porks usually do. Despite their curious name, sea porks are not edible, but they make for one of the most mysterious lifeforms one can stumble upon.
Sea porks take many shapes, and some are pretty familiar. In 2014, Karen Parker found many of these blobs in Florida’s Lake City, and some of them resembled lungs, kidneys, and even human hearts. They’re pretty common in the area.
The food chain is described as a relatively simple system: predators live on the top while the prey stays at the bottom. But nature can be more complicated than that. This death eel, found on a Mexico beach, makes for a good example.
The poor eel was trying to swallow a fish that was too big for its small pharynx. The result was pretty brutal: the eel suffocated on its food and ended up on dry land. It’s a lesson for all the overly ambitious predators out there.
Just Like Wolverine
Turtles are known for their longevity, with the oldest turtle in the world being 187 years old. In Nigeria, it’s even rumored a royal tortoise lived up until the age of 344! But turtles are more than just a durable animal: they also come with one or two surprises.
While few people know about it, some turtles have impressive, terrifying claws that would make anyone think of Marvel’s Wolverine. According to the experts, these claws are mainly an evolutionary remnant, but they have some functions, especially during the mating process.
Timed To Perfection
Nature makes for some of the most impressive pictures ever taken. And this one probably deserves to be added to the list. A photographer captured a frog with its mouth open and realized the frog’s “dinner” had its mouth open too.
This picture makes for a scene worthy of a Ridley Scott’s Alien sequel, but it’s just the result of a well-timed snap. The poor snake is probably trying to escape its certain death while the frog prepares to jump on yet more prey.
Nobody Should Mess With A Black Widow Spider
This family of black widow spiders is dead, and that’s probably a good sign to the man or woman who took this photo. While all beings are entitled to be alive, black widows can be extremely dangerous to humans due to their potent venom.
While many people survive after being bitten by a black widow spider, the list of associated symptoms is horrid. When bitten, humans can experience abdominal pain similar to appendicitis and chest pain so intense it can be mistaken for a heart attack.
Bad Luck Snail
The natural world makes for a complex and chaotic system in which all sorts of animals clash against one another. Wasps are surely a bummer to humans, who hate to find wasp nests in their homes, cars, and gardens. But what about this poor snail?
This very unlucky creature fell asleep at the wrong place and woke up with a wasp nest on top of its shell! The chance of anything like this ever happening again seems incredibly low. Hopefully, this man set the poor guy free moments after taking the photo.
It’s hard not to like ants: they make for a diligent, hardworking, and highly social animal. But not all ants are the same. Unlike their less-violent relatives, woodland ants have discovered the destructive power of ammunition, and they use it to wreck their prey.
No, they have not invented guns yet. But they do have the ability to release a strong-smelling acid from their abdomen and use it to deal with whatever threat may come their way. According to Ripleys, in the world, there are 1.4 million ants per person.
Tiny & Terrifying
The invention of the microscope allowed humans to uncover the fascinating world of earth’s smallest organisms. But with the wonder of learning about the microscopic biosphere also came the horror of catching a glimpse of some pretty terrifying (albeit tiny) real-life monsters.
The hydrothermal worm is a type of deep-sea creature that’s roughly the size of a bacterium. Luckily, these very tiny monsters live very far from humans in hydrothermal vents in the ocean. They’re one of the smallest living organisms ever found and, to be fair, one of the most bizarre-looking.
Sphynx cats may not be every cat lover’s favorite purr-baby, but they’re still uniquely majestic creatures. It’s no coincidence that these pets can cost up to $9.8K, even though some people find them… disturbing. They’re known for their lack of hair, eyelashes, and whiskers.
The sphynx cat in the picture is extraordinary because it doesn’t have eyes. As a result, the poor feline looks a little bit like a mummified cat that suddenly came into life. Either way, we’re sure it makes for a beloved pet, despite its strange looks and temper.
“Caution Remove Slowly”
The warning sign on this truck’s gas lid never made so much sense. When it comes to wasp nests, “caution remove slowly” is as good advice as anyone could ever ask for. But in this case, it’s not the “fuel spray” that “may cause injury”…
Wasp stings are usually not lethal, but they can cause severe allergic reactions. Common symptoms include swelling, itching, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and lightheadedness. Extreme cases can lead to nausea, vomiting, a drop in blood pressure, and even loss of consciousness.
The Eerie Wood Ear Mushroom
There’s something uniquely surreal about spotting a wood ear mushroom. It looks so much like a human ear it’s almost disturbing: as if the trees were growing their own listening devices. Surprisingly, though, this odd mushroom is a fine Chinese delicacy.
An edible fungus, the wood ear mushroom is included in many traditional Chinese recipes. It’s also seen as effective folk medicine, used to treat conditions such as jaundice and sore eyes and throats. In Ghana, it’s used as a blood tonic.
Can Someone Please Call Ace Ventura?
Wildlife can get pretty crazy, and this picture makes for a perfect example of that. This bizarre crime scene location is far from self-explanatory, so it’s better to call the pet detective Ace Ventura. Or maybe even the guys at CSI?
To be fair, even the great Sherlock Holmes would probably find it hard to explain what’s going on here. All we know is that this poor bird met a tragic end when he decided to land in this tree. Something with razor-sharp teeth must have grabbed it.
This otherwordly creature is called the wolf eel, but it’s not a wolf, neither an eel. It’s a fish from the North Pacific with powerful jaws and a lifespan of about 25 years. It looks scary to humans, and with good reason: the wolf eel is not particularly aggressive but can leave a nasty bite.
In certain Native American tribes, the wolf eel is considered a culinary delicacy. Since the fish was believed to have special powers, only the tribal healers were allowed to eat it. That’s why the wolf eels are also referred to as the “doctorfish.”