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25 Times Nature Made Us Say “NOPE” (WARNING: This List Might Be Too Scary For You)

You sit around a campfire with all your friends. The moon is bright, the stars are twinkling, and the midnight breeze gently caresses your skin. You are at one with the woods, the earth, and nature in general. But wow does it suck.

As one of the campers strums his out-of-tune guitar lightly, you hear: “Today is gonna be the–” and you KNOW you have to stop it before things get out of hand. “HEY!” you cry out. “Why don’t we tell scary stories?” The rest of the group must’ve been thinking the same thing you were, as they all cry out “yes!” in desperate unison. You hesitate, because even though you know a lot about spooky creatures, you don’t know any fun facts about them to accompany their pictures. Darn, why does everything you do have to feature pictures and fun facts?

Luckily for you, Australia’s absolute worst wildlife expert, Jack Durango, jumps from the bushes to help you along in this artic– um, I mean, story. “Crikel!” he says, not wanting to steal another Australian wildlife expert’s copyrighted catchphrase. “This is 25 Times Nature Made Us Say “NOPE” (WARNING: This List Might Be Too Scary For You).

1. This sheepshead fish that has human teeth! According to the Scientific American, this fish’s unique combination of teeth helps them process their very complex omnivorous diet. If you’re wondering, “What ocean do I have to avoid to make sure I absolutely never run into one of these things?” The answer is, well, most of North America’s coasts (both East and West). Sorry!

2. In Canada’s Nunavut territory, snowy owls will sometimes use lemmings as nests. According to the scientists at PRI, that is exactly what snowy owls will do during the times when the lemming population explodes. Faced with way more food than they can possibly eat, they use the excess lemmings for other means, namely their nests. My, my is that gruesome! Animals using other animals as warmth? It’s just disgusting, only something a wild, uncivilized beast would do! Now, if you’ll please pass me my leather jacket and snakeskin boots, I’ll be on my way. Hey, it’s kind of chilly outside, I don’t want to catch a cold.

3. They’re called “The devil’s fingers” fungus. And I can certainly see why! Putting aside the fact that devil’s fingers fungus are red, creepy, and curly, they also look like what would happen if you crossed a bleeding octopus with the eggs from Alien! That or the devil has been hitting the sauce too hard on Independence Day. The worst part is that, according to First Nature, these plants set off an odor similar to that of rotting meat. Mmm mmm MMM!

Twitter | @DJHbutterflies

4. This mother centipede protecting her young. According to the pest experts at Orkin, typical indoor centipedes will give birth to about 35 eggs, and some will even give birth to live you. Neat! Anyways, look at the SIZE of that thing! Not something you’d want creeping up on you in the middle of the night, that’s for sure. And those babies… Definitely faces only a mother could love. Heck, her face is a face only BABIES could love! 

5. This oddly shaped lava formation looks like twisted bodies of the damned. Wow! For a second there, I thought we had actually found the entrance to the underworld! But no, it’s actually a lava formation in Hawaii, according to the folks at My Modern Met. Listen, if we ARE going to find Hell, I can tell you it’s probably not going to be in Hawaii.

6. The island of ants. Yes, it’s true, you should keep your enemies close but your friends closer. Close enough to make an island out of their corpses — should the opportunity arise. While this practice may make for some awkward moments with humans, ants apparently have no qualms about surfing on their dead buddies. According to Snopes, while it may be unnerving, it’s commonplace for ants to do this during floods.

7. The Immortal Frog. Apparently what happened to this poster is that they found a dried up, dead frog on the ground. The poster’s buddy suggested (probably in some twisted, eyebrow-raising joke) pouring water on the frog to return it to life. And… it worked. Before we all start crying about the messiah, frogs are apparently pretty resilient. According to the wildlife experts at Awesci, there is an amphibian known as the wood frog that freezes itself, dies and then comes back to life!

8. Skinless Snakes. Oh, so reticulated pythons are just racist? Actually, they’re, um, alright. I did mention I was Australia’s WORST wildlife expert, didn’t I? Honestly, I couldn’t find any research that told me WHY these pythons separate themselves right after birth, which is what these snakes apparently did, so I guess we can assume they’re just racist. Come on guys, it’s 2018. Have you not seen Donald Glover’s “This is America?” The fourth movement he does while dancing with the schoolchildren the second time is a metaphor for this exact situation. Trust me, I have a YouTube channel.

9. Man Eating Caribou. What? ELKS are trying to kill us now? First off, it’s actually a caribou Reader, can’t you READ the title? And no, of course not, I’m being cheeky in my typical down-under way. However, the truth is actually pretty gruesome. According to the folks at Wide Open Spaces, this elk, wait, no caribou is actually “shedding its velvet.” The skin on the outside of their antlers provides the nutrients for the antlers to grow, but once they’re fully grown the Cari- I mean El- I mean deer looking beast has to scrape the skin off their antlers themselves. Crikel!

10. The surprise centipede. Surprise! Reminds me of a scene from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 where Drax cuts himself out from that giant inter-dimensional creature. This female viper made a similar mistake of swallowing a live Scolopendra, which according to the researchers down at BBC, ate the snake’s insides and then chewed through its skin, eating it’s way out. Note to snakes: KILL your centipedes before eating them!

11. The beacons of heck. Woah, more entryways to underworlds, Jack? If you’re so keen on getting to hell, why not jump in front of a bus? Because dear reader, if Satan wants to get his hands on THIS true blue Australian legend, he’s going to have to drag me down to his domain himself. No Reader, this is actually a tree from Nebraska that was struck by lightning and was still burning the day after.

12. The county of wasps. Jeez! What kind of dystopian society is this? Have the wasps taken back their land from the humans? Is this their grand revenge scheme for killing off all their pals, the bees? Well, yes and no. Honestly, it’s just a wasps nest wrapped around some wind chimes the poster thought was cool, but I CAN give you a fun fact about wasps! According to good ol’ National Geographic, the wasps “create their familiar papery abodes from wood fibers scraped with their hard mandibles and chewed into a pulp.” So, you know, that’s what that is.

13. The parasite. BLEGH! Man, that is one nasty case of tapeworm, my fishy friend! This parasite, known as Cymothoa exigua, is as metal, hardcore, and finally, terrifying as it looks. Also known as “the tongue eating louse,” National Geographic once again reports on this (huge quotes here) “amazing” parasite. They say that this little bug will crawl through a fish’s gills, eat out their tongue and then REPLACE it.

14. The unfound tribes in the Amazon. There are still plenty of uncontacted humans hiding away in the Amazon rainforest. They keep signs like these up to warn travelers and explorers not to come too close to their territory, lest they become the newest piece in the warning sign. Unfortunately, these are just dead flowers buds found in the poster’s garden and have nothing to do with undiscovered humans. Ooh, psyche! And ABC wanted to stop my funding!

Reddit

15. The Maddening fish. While this may look like a certain Family Guy character (I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding, put down the pitchforks Simpsons fanboys and girls), it is just about as interesting as a decrepit, greedy old billionaire named Carter Pewterschimdt (kidding, kidding, etc). It’s actually a juvenile goblin shark, which grow up to be pretty gross and ugly themselves. Oh, fun fact, according to the shark experts at How Stuff Works, these sharks are sometimes called a “living fossil” because they are the only surviving members of a species that died 125 million years ago.

16. The Snake Head Caterpillar. While it may be super stylish to wear snake skin, this caterpillar does it for defence. According to the caterpillar experts and keepers of all caterpillar knowledge (that last part was tongue in cheek) at Telegraph, these caterpillars known as snake mimic hawkmoth caterpillars will fold their legs up to look like, what else, a snake!

17. The house that oozed. Eww, looks like they’re taping Uh Oh! in your walls! What’s that? How can that joke POSSIBLY be dated! Uh Oh! was on the air… from 1997-2003? Oi vey, looks like I’m not young and hip anymore. But I’m not old and wise either, what does that make me? Oh, right, I’m writing an article. Quarter life crisis aside, this picture was the result of the poster having too many bees inside their wall. So that’s what all the BUZZ was about! What’s that? Still not young and hip?

18. The sculpture that whispered. This, my gorgeous Jack Durango fans, is the result of a shed going unused for many, many years. It’s a hornet’s nest fused with the head of a statue. I hope they make their nests in the same way wasps do so I don’t need to look up a new fun fact. And…. it’s chewed wood and saliva! YES! Please refer back to the previous winged insect entry for your fun fact.

19. The doll in the forest. Boom, looks like another wasps nest folks, except this one is much more ominous as it was made out of some creepy doll and was put up in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. And I don’t know much about hornets, wasps or their nests (actually, apparently I do, but just go with it) but I don’t think the eyes are supposed to follow you…

20. The two ended lizard. In nature, some species of lizard can replicate themselves at the other end of their bodies if need be. However, sometimes things take a turn for the ugly when the two ends have to fight to see which one gets to survive. I’m just kidding of course, although that’s not far from the truth. As you may or may not know about lizards, the website UCSB ScienceLine reports they are able to regrow their tails and sometimes their limbs.

Reddit

21. The worm from the beginning of time. Well, it certainly LOOKS prehistoric, doesn’t it mate? In the very least, it looks like something crafted by Satan himself. And while it very well COULD HAVE been, these worms are found less in hell and more near Antartica and Southern Ocean waters. They’re called Eulagisca gigantea, and they belong to a family known as “bristle worms,” because of their tendency to react angrily or defensively. I’m kidding, it’s the bristles, which they use to crawl across the ocean floor.

22. The Hidden Spider. Oh, arachnophobes, look! A picture I’m certain you’ll enjoy! No, believe it or not this is NOT a spider, it’s just a hermit crab using a baby doll’s head for a shell. At least, we HOPE it’s a baby doll…

23. The Zombie Spider. BRAAAAAAIIINNNSSS…. Oh, and once again title writing Jake, this is not a spider. Spiders usually have 8 legs, you dummy. And I thought I was the worst wildlife expert in the media! It’s actually a type of wingless fly, known as Penicillidia, and they are exclusive to bats. According to the researcher from Live Science that has been researching these gross bugs: “These insects know the value of a good host, and once they land on the furry back of a bat, they never leave it again.” How deliciously eerie!

24. The trapeze bug. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Buggy Flynn and the press conference rag. Notice how his mouth never moves… Almost. This picture is actually that of a cicada bug, which according to the experts at National Geographic, sometimes come out of their shell like this. According to the poster, it was at this moment he decided to show his kids that dormant cicada shells could be cool and not scary, until…

25. The cult of the Red Fox. Let’s deconstruct this gruesome little scene, shall we? Before we start blaming evil, Fallout-esque cults for our little foxy friend here, it actually is probably a lot less sinister. The Suedkurier, a wacky German newspaper (wacky because they’re German, not because they’re inherently wacky), reported on this very incident in 2017. Apparently, the person responsible for the ice found the little guy frozen in the lake, dragged him out and left him there as a means to warn others not to go on the lake. Gruesome yet effective. Oh, and uh, Crikel!

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