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Number 10 Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish are often referred to as the ‘chameleons of the sea’ because of their incredible camouflaging techniques. Within a second, they can change the color and pattern of their skin to blend with their surroundings. They detect how light is absorbed in their environment and use that information to mimic it with their own pigments. This is achieved thanks to specialized pigment-containing and light-reflecting cells.
Number 9 Kangaroo Rats
Kangaroo rats own a number of odd adaptations that make them a necessary addition to our list. Their cheeks have fur-lined pouches which are used for storing food. Kangaroo rats can live without any water as they get all the moisture they require from the seeds they consume. Some species live in dry and hot climates so they need to conserve water and energy so they lower their metabolic rate. Despite their small size, these creatures are capable of some pretty astonishing physical feats. They can jump up to nine feet and leap over a distance of six feet, at a speed of 10 feet per second.
Number 8 Wood Frogs
To survive the harsh Alaskan winters, wood frogs have developed an adaptation that enables them to survive while close to 65 per cent of their bodies are frozen. In order to prepare for overwintering, the frogs accumulate large quantities of urea and glucose in their tissues. Once the snow melts, wood frogs thaw out to resume eating and breeding.
Number 7 Worms
They were discovered in 2002 in California’s Monterey Bay by a remotely operated submarine called Tiburon. The fact that they have a broad geographic range seems to suggest the latter.
Number 6 Deer
Most people think of deer as timid herbivores and innocent creatures. Yet, male tufted deer exhibit just that. Mainly found in China, it draws its name from the prominent tuft of black hair on its forehead. The males have fang-like canines which protrude outside their mouth and can grow to be an inch or longer.
Number 5 Salamanders
Unlike other salamanders and many other animal species, salamanders from the Plethodontidae family don’t have any lungs. They’ve adapted to breathing entirely through their skin and the tissues lining their mouths. Sometimes referred to as ET salamanders, because of their resemblance to the character in Steven Spielberg’s film, this is mainly due to the presence of a vertical slit between the salamander’s upper lip and its nostril, called a nasolabial groove, which is lined with sensory glands.
Number 4 Texas Horned Lizard
Texas horned lizards display some of the oddest defensive behavior found in nature. While camouflage and puffing up aren’t unusual adaptations, this next one most definitely is. The lizard can squirt an aimed stream for a distance of up to 5 feet from the corners of its eyes. It does this by restricting the flow leaving the head, thus increasing the pressure and breaking the vessels around its eyelids.
Number 3 Diving Bell Spider
Argyroneta aquatica, also known as the diving bell spider, is the only spider species known to live almost entirely underwater. These fascinating creatures irregularly build diving bells out of sheets of silk and an unknown protein-based hydrogel. The builder typically spins the diving bell between submerged plants and then inflates with air. There’s net regulation of oxygen inside the bell and carbon dioxide out of the bell. The diving bell system has been described as an inorganic form of gill, as the spider will adapt to the oxygen demands of an aquatic environment and inflate it accordingly.
Number 2 Mantis Shrimp
Mantis shrimp are among the planet’s most incredible creatures, for a number of reasons. One of them is that they have the most complex visual systems ever discovered. Our eyes have three types of photoreceptor cells but a mantis shrimp have at least sixteen, in clusters of tens of thousands which make up their compound eyes.
Number 1 Star-Nosed Mole
The star-nosed mole has some of the most remarkable adaptations found in the animal kingdom. It draws its name from the 22 pink appendages ringing its snout, which are in constant motion as this blind mole feels its way around. To compare, the human hand, one of the most tactile-sensitive parts of the body, only has about 17,000 ‘touch’ fibers. This means that in its snout, which is roughly the size of a fingertip, the mole has over five-times more fibers than the entire human hand.