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Top 10 Animals with Superpowers (You Wish You Had)

by Jodi Lucas

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We humans like to think that we’re pretty cool. And, for the most part, we are. When we put our mind and body to it, we’re fully capable of amazing things.

But while we like to imagine that human beings are the pinnacle of evolution, there is one thing we don’t have…. Superheroes.

For this, we turn to Marvel and DC. But the truth is you don't have to look in the pages of comics to find amazing super abilities.

There are plenty of real-world animals that have powers that would make even the most badass superhero jealous!

From creatures that can smell veins, see colors you can't, and shape-shift, here’s our list of 10 real animals with amazing superpowers.

Go on a wildlife safari in Africa to discover even more amazing animals in real life! 

10. The Jellyfish: Immortality

These gelatinous creatures have quite a bad rep among us, humans. Let’s face it, nobody really wants to have a close encounter with a jellyfish. Onshore they appear limp and blistered in the sun, enough to gross anyone out. In the water, it’s often the brush of a tentacle on exposed skin followed by a sting.

But despite their terrible first impression, jellyfish are among the most fascinating creatures to be found in our deep blue seas.

Aside from the fact that these bobbing beauties have survived for at least 500 million years without brains, eyes or hearts, they also possess a superpower envied by all humans: immortality.

Okay, so that might be an exaggeration. But, certain species of jellyfish are able to reverse their age and essentially turn back into jelly-babies when conditions are unfavorable for survival.

When an adult Turritopsis dohrnii (aka a jellyfish) reaches adulthood (4.5 mm-wide), their bodies shrink and sink to the ocean floor to start their life cycle all over again.

The best part is that they can repeat this process numerous times. So, the only known way they can die is by being eaten by other animals or from a disease.

9. Mantis Shrimp: Super Speed

animals with superpowers

When we think of super speed, super strength, and supervision, the likes of Superman and One Punch Man come to mind. But in reality, dynamite comes in small packages and in this case, it is about 30 cms to be exact.

The mantis shrimp is probably one of the most underrated animals on the planet and despite its small size, this deadly creature will take on any opponent that threatens its livelihood. To put it into perspective, their species is divided into two classifications which are based on how they would go about killing you.

On the one hand, there are the smashers. Much like One Punch Man, these beautiful but deadly creatures are known to deliver seriously powerful punches that knock their opponents unconscious before ripping their limbs off. The power behind the punch comes from sheer speed as they launch their fists, known as “dactyl clubs,” at speeds of 80 km/ph (50mph). That’s faster than a .22 caliber bullet. 

On the other hand, there are the “spearers” who have the ability to impale their opponent in just 20 to 30 milliseconds.

If this wasn’t enough to frighten the heck out of…well… everyone, mantis shrimp also have the broadest visual spectrum in the animal kingdom and are able to detect colors we can’t even see.

Although they’re kind of like an underwater mafia squad, these deadly animals have proven to be quite useful to humans. Scientists are currency trying to mimic their sophisticated visual superpowers to create cameras that can detect cancer cells in their early stages.

8. Sea Cucumber: Shapeshifting

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When it comes to being a superhero (or villain), there is one golden rule; always keep your real identity a secret. And, in the world of animals with superpowers, it’s no different.

The sea cucumber is one of the most inconspicuous marine animals out there. They’re slow, woefully under-armed and look like a rotting pickle more than anything else.

Essentially, they are responsible for keeping our oceans clean but there is more to them than this.

The humble sea cucumber has a few tricks up its sleeve, one of them is the ability to rapidly change its body type - turning from the consistency of play dough to hard plastic.

This in itself is pretty cool, but not the weirdest thing about it. When threatened, some species can shoot their lungs out of their anuses and wave around, because the sticky tubes are covered with a chemical that is toxic to other animals.

I’m not sure if the latter is a superpower that humans would envy, but it is pretty strange and fascinating.

7. Elephants: Super Strength

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We all know and love this iconic member of the Big Five. You can’t think about going on a safari without having daydreams of these gentle giants roaming over the vast savannah, but there is more to them than what meets the eye.

Although these animals are incapable of jumping and have relatively poor eyesight, they are incredibly strong. In fact, they are considered the strongest land animal as they can carry up to 9,000 kilograms.

If this wasn’t cool enough, elephants are also capable of doing math. (Hey, being able to understand math is a superpower!) Recent studies have shown that elephants are really good at basic math and can discriminate among similar quantities with greater accuracy than humans.

6. Salamander: Regeneration

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If you’re as injury-prone as I am, I’m sure you’ve daydreamed about being able to regenerate body parts. Sadly, this just isn’t a reality unless you’re Deadpool, that one guy from Cincinnati… or a salamander.

These amazing and adorable reptiles are capable of regrowing whole limbs and regenerating parts of major organs. When a salamander loses a limb, cells in the region regress to a time when they were just baby cells that had not yet specialized, a process called de-differentiation.

5. The Horned Lizard: Lazer Eyes

With its rugged exterior and beady eyes, the one-horned lizard might not look like tasty prey for desert predators but unfortunately, they have plenty of natural enemies.

When a horned lizard feels threatened, it first tries to camouflage its spiky body. If that doesn’t work, it will inflate its body to appear bigger and more menacing. And, finally, if that isn’t good enough to chase the bad guys away, the North American horned lizard will shoot blood from its eyes.

I’m not sure if this qualifies as a superpower that any human would want, but the horned lizard uses this laser eye technique to drench predators in blood and scare them off.

4. Bee: Sixth Sense

At one point or another, we have all wished we had a sixth sense. I mean, how amazing would it be to have an extrasensory perception (or ESP) beyond our five commonly recognized senses. To be able to perceive something that isn’t apparently there.

Now, I’m not saying that your local psychic is a fake, but this superpower has not really been proven in humans. It has, however, been proven in the humble bumble bee.

Bees are already amazing little creatures because they keep the entire planet alive. Such a huge responsibility demands superpowers and for this, they use an electrical “sixth sense” to find out whether or not a plant has nectar and pollen to spare.

While they’re flying around your garden, giving you small panic attacks, they gather a positive electric charge. Flowers, which are grounded, have a negative charge and when the two meet, the bees can sense the difference and are drawn to the blooms.

3. Sharks: Electroperception

Marine safaris

As if Jaws didn’t give us enough reason to be terrified of sharks, it turns out these apex marine predators have some pretty epic superpowers too.

Like bees, some species of shark use electroreception to hunt while others have amazing night vision and super smell.

On the weirder side of the spectrum, some sharks have light-emitting organs that make their skin glow, are able to give birth without mating, and are immune to cancer. (Instead, sharks just get really, really tan when exposed to the sun's rays).

2. Snakes: Ultra-hearing

Like jellyfish, sharks, and lizards, snakes have a pretty bad rep in the human world. But there is more to them than colorful scales and all-around nightmares.

Snakes are super-fast and this is no exaggeration. It takes about 202 milliseconds for us to complete a blink, but snakes can reach their target within 50 to 90 milliseconds. If humans attempted to accelerate even less than one quarter as quickly as a snake, we would black out.

They also have the amazing ability to hear with their mouths. Yeah, you read that right. One of their hearing systems revolves around their perfectly evolved jaws which are able to pick up vibrations that are sent to the inner ear — that's the second hearing system — and the information is decoded by the brain as sound.

1. Pistol Shrimp: Supersound

At first glance, the pistol shrimp’s main defense mechanism might appear to be its one giant claw. But the truth is, these fierce crustaceans don’t use this claw to pierce or capture its prey. Instead, they channel their inner Aquaman.

The pistol shrimp can snap its claw shut at such a high velocity that it creates a bubble of force that can travel 60 mph and, the force produced by the snap reaches a temperature that comes close to that of the sun and can be as loud as 220 decibels.

A world of strange and amazing animals awaits you. So get out there and go on a wildlife safari to admire even more epic animals with superpowers!

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