21 amazing animals with miraculous abilities stranger than fiction

December 22, 2018 Updated: December 22, 2018

All aboard the discovery train for a celebration of our world’s rich diversity and its incredible creatures that your imagination couldn’t come up with on its own even if you tried.

1. Pistol Shrimp (Alpheidae family of caridean snapping shrimp, 1000+ species)

It hunts for small fish by snapping shut its more massive claw so quickly that it fires off a bubble at over 60 mph (100 kph), reaching a scorching temperature rivaling the surface of the Sun (8500°F/7400°C), and generating a deafening 218 decibels!

©Wikimedia  | Arthur Anker

2.  The Immortal Jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii)

One of only a handful of species discovered so far that can return to its infant stage after reaching adulthood. By being able to repeat its lifecycle over and over, it has effectively overcome death of natural causes!

©Wikimedia | Bachware

3. Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

This remarkable species of bird use their uncanny talent for mimicking anything and everything they hear. There’s evidence of them recreating the sounds of construction site noises, sci-fi space lasers, camera shutters, and other animals!

©Wikimedia | John Manger

4. Moss Piglet (Tardigrada family)

By far some of the most resilient organisms known to man, they are the first-ever-documented animals to have survived the near vacuum of outer space!

©Flickr | Goldstein lab – tardigrades

5. Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

Besides being undeniably cute, these aquatic salamanders sport miraculous regenerative abilities. They can re-grow any missing limbs, complex organs, and even parts of their brain.

©Wikimedia | Adrien Cretté

6. Archer Fish (Toxotidae family)    

These fish are leaving scientists confounded as to why they’re able to recognize, distinguish, and remember up to at least 44 human faces.

©Wikimedia | Chrumps

7. Nocturnal African Dung Beetle (Scarabaeus Satyrus)

The only known insect that navigates the night by taking mental snapshots of the sky and analyzing its position by the light of the Milky Way itself.

©Wikimedia | Udo Schmidt 

8. Alpine Silver Ant (Formica Selysi)

Also known as rafter ants, these have been observed to “lock arms” together to create a floating platform out of themselves when threatened by a flood.

©Wikimedia | AfroBrazilian

9. Freshwater Polyp (Hydra Vulgaris)  

The cells that make up this animal don’t wear out over time, so in other words, they don’t age. Like the jellyfish mentioned above, it is biologically immortal.

©Wikimedia | Przemysław Malkowski

10. Nocturnal Cardinal Fish (Apogonidae family)

What happens when these fish swallow a particular species of zooplankton that light up when threatened? They spit them out immediately, resulting in a scene that looks like they had just cast a magical spell. It’s quite beautiful to behold.

©Wikimedia | Georges Jansoone (JoJan)

11. African Hairy Horror Frog (Trichobatrachus Robustus)

When threatened or agitated, it will break its bones and push out the sharp remains through its skin to use as claws.

©Wikimedia | Gustavocarra

12. Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys genus)

These small rodents have adapted successfully to their hot, arid habitats. They don’t need to ever drink a single drop of water during their entire life!

©Wikimedia | Pacific Southwest Region USFWS 

13. Planarian Flatworm (Turbellaria class)

These worms can grow a new head in the event it gets cut off and retain the long-term memory of the original brain!

©Wikimedia | Bernard DUPONT

14. Feral Pigeon (Columba livia domestica)

In the famous mirror test where scientists try to determine how consciousness works, these birds were able to recognize themselves.

©Wikimedia | Dori

15. Mantis Shrimp (order of Stomatopoda)

These shrimp have the most complex and advanced eyes in the world!

©Wikimedia | Nazir Amin

16. The Fingerprints of a Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Koalas’ fingerprints are almost impossible to distinguish from those of a human. It does make you wonder about all those unsolved cold cases over the years.

©Wikimedia | Quartl

17. Adolescent Issus Leafhopper (Issus genus)

This group of “plant hoppers” is the only known example of mechanical parts being present in a biological lifeform.

©Wikimedia | Hectonichus

18. Golden Tortoise Beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata)

This handsome relative of the common ladybird can change its color by manipulating the fluid underneath a unique transparent shield that covers most of it.

©Wikimedia | Ilona Loser

19. Swift (Apopidae family)

The different species of swifts all share an incredible horizontal flight speed and can stay in the air without needing to land for up to ten months!

©Wikimedia | Madis Veskimeister

20. Narwhal—Unicorn of the Sea (Monodon monoceros)

A recent breakthrough found that the animals use their iconic tusks to gauge the salt level of the water and determine if the icebergs in their native arctic environment are melting or freezing. It helps the animal to avoid getting trapped by ice.

©Shutterstock | wildestanimal
©Shutterstock |

21. Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma genus)

These animals have a very unusual method of self-defense. They can squirt a 5-foot (1.5-meter) stream of blood out the corner of their eye, making potential predators flee before its foul smell.

©Wikimedia | Steve Hillebrand/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service