Best animal daredevils

Posted on Apr 26, 2013 in Behaviour

Best animal daredevils

 

Think you’re a true thrill-seeker? See how you compare to some of the crazy antics such as fishing in rapids or out running leopards on sheer vertical cliff faces – that nature’s gutsiest thrill seekers get up to.

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SPRINGBOARD INSECT – THE CLICK BEETLE

When most insects are rolled onto their backs they will simply try their hardest to roll back over onto their feet – not so with the dramatic self-righting of the click beetle.  This mini daredevil has a lever-like joint which can be used as a makeshift catapult – when tensed up the lever will allow the beetle to flip up into the air with a click, in the hope that it will land back on its front.  Click beetles can bounce up to 30cm (1 foot) into the air, and often use their daring technique to escape predators.

 

WEB-FOOTED AND WILD – THE TORRENT DUCK

Unlike your run-of-the-mill mallard, the torrent duck prefers fast-flowing rapids and death-defying displays to bread crusts and ponds.  It lives in mountain torrents in South America, where it has had to evolve to get used to the extreme water conditions – as a diver it’s a perfect scorer when going down for fish, and is said to be completely unfazed by hunting for food in torrential waterfalls!

 

NO MEAN BLEAT – THE BHARAL

The bharal is better known as a mountain goat – and inhabits all manner of high-altitude ranges across Asia, best known for blending into the Himalayas with their grey-blue coats.  Why are they considered thrill seekers?  Consider their habitat – by their very nature they’re required to be expert climbers, not only to keep living from day to day but also to escape mountain predators and occasionally have the odd fight with one another – you need a steady head to do all that when you could plunge 3,000 feet in a split second..

 

WIND WINDING – THE FLYING SNAKE

Easily one of the runners for ‘weirdest snake in the world’, the flying snake doesn’t so much fly as glide from treetop to treetop – somehow managing to keep itself steadily airborne by twisting as it falls.  Is it an expert glider, or an expert plummeter?  One thing’s for certain – you’re very unlikely to find another creature that likes base-jumping (except perhaps for the flying squirrel!)

 

GRAVITY-DEFYING GLUE – THE GECKO

This keen-looking lizard may look as if it could be blown away by a stray gust of wind at any given moment, but if you knew of the gecko’s insane climbing skills and apparatus, you’d be quickly corrected.  The gecko has some of the stickiest feet in the animal kingdom, allowing it to stick to almost any surface or incline with ease – it could quite easily walk up a wall and across a ceiling without a problem.

 

SWINGING SENSATION – THE ORANGUTAN

Not only are orangutans regarded as some of the most cunning primates on the planet – some have learnt how to pick locks – they’re well equipped for some of the most stylish swinging action rainforests have ever seen.   Their long arms give them tremendous reach to glide from vine to vibe without a care – and they must know what they’re doing, as they build their homes often hundreds of feet off the ground!

 

HIVE OCTANE – SCOUTING BEES

While most bees will happily be followers, learning where food sources are from communicating through dance, some bees have to do the legwork – that is, find new food sources in the first place.  Scout bees are more than happy to do this – and unlike other bees, will look for a completely different food source each time, which is extremely beneficial to the rest of its family.  Such risks are highly dangerous to a creature as tiny as this mini bumbler though – so it must seriously appreciate variety!

 

BOUNCING BABIES – THE BARNACLE GOOSE

Barnacle geese have the bright idea to build their nests high up on cliffs and ridges to avoid predators -fair enough, you might think, but how are goslings going to get their food?  They simply take a running jump off – meaning they require extreme precision at all times in the hope they survive the fall!  While some geese aren’t so lucky to survive this rite of passage, it’s amazing that they can still evolve to do this.

 

Holy guacamole! I really want to...