Do You Know How These Unique Animals Attack?

By: John Miller
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Every creature on Earth has to eat, but most animals don't have access to a microwave. Instead, Mother Nature equips predators with myriad weapons and techniques to kill their dinner. Do you know how these unique animals kill?

How do gladiator spiders catch their prey?

Gladiator spiders build a net and hold it with their front legs, and when prey stumbles into just the right spot, the spiders cast the net over the victim and then pounce. Lunchtime!

What's special about a gladiator spider's eyes?

Not only do gladiator spiders build nets to trap prey, but they have ultra-sensitive eyes to spot their victims. Their eyes are more light-sensitive than a cat's.

As it stalks its prey, how does the cookiecutter shark blend into light beaming down through the water column?

The cookiecutter shark has light-emitting photophores on its belly, helping to disguise it from animals below. Then the shark can begin its hunt.

How did the cookiecutter shark get its distinctive name?

The cookiecutter shark has unique bandsaw-like teeth, and it's not afraid to attack larger fish. It simply descends onto its prey, snaps out a cookie-shaped hunk of flesh, and swims off into the darkness.

How do boa constrictors kill prey?

Boa constrictors wrap themselves around their prey … and then they start squeezing. They constrict their muscles until their prey suffocates.

What do boa constrictors do with their prey after they squeeze it to death?

Once their prey is dead, boa constrictors swallow the animal whole. It can take weeks for the snake to digest a large animal.

What weapon does the blanket octopus use to stun prey?

The blanket octopus will literally rip the stingers off of venomous jellyfish and then carry the stingers for its own purposes. It can use the stingers to ward off attackers or stun prey.

How can a blanket octopus possibly obtain a deadly jellyfish's stingers for its own use?

Over the course of countless generations, the blanket octopus developed an immunity to the Portuguese man o' war jellyfish. So as the jellyfish helplessly drifts, the octopus yanks the stingers right out of the creature's body and takes them as his own.

What sort of creature is the tarantula hawk?

The tarantula hawk is a hand-sized wasp that hunts tarantulas for dinner. They have one of the most painful stings in the entire insect world … and yes, some of them live in the United States.

How long is the tarantula hawk's stinger?

The tarantula hawk's stinger is enormous relative to the size of other wasps -- it's about one-third of an inch long. But trust us, when that stinger plunges into your hand, it will feel much, much larger.

Epomis ground beetle larvae lure amphibians into trying to eat them by using their ____ as lures.

The Epomis ground beetle larvae wave its antennae in the air, daring amphibians to attack. When they do, the larvae latch on to the larger creature and make a meal of it.

How do the Epomis ground beetle larvae eat their (much larger) prey?

The larvae are relentless and refuse to let go of their prey, which is much larger. The little larvae then patiently suck the amphibian dry.

How do tentacled snakes catch their prey?

Tentacled snakes have a fascinating evolutionary trick, in which they can frighten fish in a predictable pattern. What is that pattern? A straight line into the snake's mouth.

How do crocodiles capture prey?

Crocodiles have some of the most fearsome jaws in the animal kingdom -- saltwater crocodiles, for example, have crushing power of about 3,700 pounds per square inch. They wait near the edges of watery areas and then lunge toward animals on the banks, seizing them with their teeth.

What special killing motion do crocodiles use?

Crocodiles grab their prey and then immediately begin rolling ... a "death roll." The violent act often dismembers victims and sometimes ends in drowning, too. But either way, it's dinnertime.

If a jaguar attacks you, it will likely aim for your _____.

Here, kitty kitty. Jaguars are headhunters. Unlike a lot of big cats that go for the throat, jaguars cut to the chase and aim for the heads of their prey, in an effort to cause instantaneous death.

When attacking the heads of their prey, how do jaguars manage to kill hard-headed animals?

Jaguars work their teeth through the eye and ear holes of prey. That way, they can quickly kill even large, armored animals that have few vulnerabilities. Are you hungry yet?

How does a platypus obtain much of its prey?

The platypus is one of Earth's weirdest-looking creatures, a mammal that has a duck-like bill. It uses that bill to dig various water creatures out of a riverbed, and then it devours them whole.

How do golden eagles sometimes kill much larger animals?

It's a horror movie in real life. Golden eagles can be merciless -- they'll grab or frighten animals and make sure that they tumble down a steep cliff to their deaths. Then, it's dinnertime for the eagle.

How do black widow spiders consume their prey?

Black widow spiders, like many other species, ensnare prey in a web and then inject it with digestive enzymes. Then, the spider sucks out the goodies. Female black widows are notorious for killing and eating their mates.

How does the South African spitting scorpion attack potential predators?

The South African spitting scorpion spits venom at potential predators. The venom is so powerful that it can cause convulsions in just seconds.

How does the South African spitting scorpion adjust its attack when threatened?

The South African spitting scorpion adjusts the amount of venom it sprays depending on the perceived threat. It also sprays venom in a wide area in an effort to shoot that venom into an attacker's eyes.

How do Brazilian wandering spiders catch prey?

Brazilian wandering spiders are one of the biggest and most venomous spiders on Earth, so they don't have time to sit around and wait in a web. Instead, they wander the forest floor, ambushing prey at will.

Brazilian wandering spiders are from the genus Phoneutria, which is based on a Greek word that means ____.

Let the nightmares commence. These spiders are one of the few that are so venomous that they can kill humans. Their genus name -- Phoneutria -- is based on a Greek word that means "murderess."

How do driver ants kill much larger creatures?

Driver ants groups may exceed 100,000 individuals when they attack animals. They use their sheer numbers and powerful bites to overwhelm unfortunate creatures.

How did driver ants get their common name?

As they swarm across the landscape in terrifying numbers, driver ants will literally drive their prey in front of them. Some animals outrun the onslaught … many are not so lucky.

How does the peacock mantis shrimp attack prey?

The peacock mantis shrimp is equipped with a built-in club. It slams the club down on prey with incredible force and speed, stunning creatures and then devouring them.

How fast is the strike of a peacock mantis shrimp's club?

The peacock mantis shrimp's club strike is as fast as a .22 caliber bullet. The strike is so powerful that it can break glass aquariums.

What weapons does the marble cone snail wield?

The marble cone snail has a venom-tipped harpoon hidden in its shell. It can lance prey and then eat it, or use the harpoon for defense … and the venom can kill humans.

How do Iberian newts ward off threats from other animals?

Iberian newts are seriously disturbing. When threatened, they push the sharp ridges of their rib cages through their skin, which is venomous to other animals.

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