Shoebill: The Death Bird

The Shoebill is one of the scariest and largest birds you can find on the entire globe. Standing at about five feet on average and a wingspan of about eight feet, these stork-like birds can be found in the tropics of East Africa. Named for its enormous shoe-shaped bill, the Shoebill is usually grey in color with a yellow-orange bill. These birds were once classified with storks, a very close morphological bird but, have since been classified into their own genus and species (Balaeniceps).

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Shoebills are not like many other birds on the planet today. Like all birds, the Shoebill evolved from dinosaurs millions of years ago. Not until, about 65 million years ago, however, did the Shoebill believe to start its life. Like most things in prehistoric times, Shoebills had to survive fiercely. Their bill is not only a defining characteristic of their species but a dangerous weapon. Its sharp ends and immense strength allow it to decapitate six-foot fish, swallow eels, and even crocodiles.

So, are these immense and powerful birds dangerous to humans? The answer in short is yes and no. The Shoebill has the capability of being lethal to a human but, it would only happen in situations where a person provokes the animal. This includes getting too close, causing a threat to their young, and hunting. To stay safe from this animal, you should approach with causing and awareness.

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One of the craziest things people say when they see this bird is, how does it fly? The Shoebill might look like it weighs close to a hundred pounds but it is actually much less than that. Due to the adaptations of birds and their morphological structures such as porous bones, these birds weigh only about 15 pounds! This makes it easier for their large wings to create lift and fly short distances.

Giant Squid: Gigantisms Scariest

The Giant Squid was thought to be a legend for many years. However, the Giant Squid truly roams the deep oceans, fighting whales and preying on animals. The Giant Squid is an example of deep-sea gigantism with lengths of females growing up to 13 meters or 43 feet! Deep-sea gigantism is the idea that animal counterparts that dwell in the deep parts of the ocean will grow tremendously in size when compared to those in shallower areas. This is due to the vast size of the deep ocean and the ability to expand is immense.

If you are traveling the oceans, do not be worried about your boat or ship being attacked by one of these squids. First off, there are thought to be only around 700 in the entire world! Although they can be found in nearly every ocean in the world, they are typically found at depths of 1,000- 2,000 feet deep and rarely come near the surface. So, the chance of you coming in contact and getting attacked is extremely rare.

The Giant Squids’ body is exactly like other squids. They have eight tentacles with suckers that help grip on to objects and prey and they have two feeding tentacles that act like hands to bring food to their mouths.

At the top of the squid, it has two flaps called its fins. These help guide and direct the animal in the correct direction. Below the fins is the mantle. The mantle is a portion of skin that covers the main body of the squid. In some squid, this area is highly developed with chromatophores. These specialized skin cells can change colors to hide from predators and attract a partner for mating.

The giant squid’s eyes are very unique. It has one large eye and one small eye, each on different sides of its body. This configuration of eyes is extremely useful when defending itself from predators but, having only one eye on each side of the body results in a loss of depth perception.

The Giant Squids’ diet consists of many of the same things as squids that are in shallower parts of the sea. They use their tentacles to trap shrimp, fish, and possibly oven small whales or sharks. Even though a Giant Squid consuming a large animal like a whale has never been seen, many of these animals return from the deep with suction cup wounds and marks that are related to a Giant Squid.

Otters: The Animals That Hold Hands

Otters are one of the most loved animals in the entire world. Their cute features and playful manner always has people picking them as their favorite animal. Otters are mammals in the family of Mustelidae. This means that they are related to badgers, ferrets, wolverines, and about 63 other kinds of subfamilies. They are carnivorous animals that feed on invertebrates and fish.

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Otters can range in size with the largest otters weighing up to 90 pounds and the smallest otters weighing as low as 10 pounds. When thinking of an Otter most people pictures the North American River Otter. They have a long narrow body like a ferret, short legs with webbed toes to act as a paddle when swimming, a flattened head to cut through the water like a knife, and thick waterproof fur.

Otters need to live in a community. They constantly interact and work with others of their species to make decisions and work to survive together. When Otters sleep they will interlock arms and create a chain so they do not lose family and friends. Research has found networks of sleeping otters as large as 1,000!

Although Otters have a fun and playful personality, this does not mean you should try and touch them in the wild. In the wild, they are extremely dangerous. Their large sharp teeth used to feed on their prey can also be used for defense against large animals like humans if needed. If you find yourself in contact with an Otter you should keep a distance of at least 25 yards.

One of the coolest things about Otters is how smart they are. On top of creating communities that work together to survive they use tools! Yes, I said tools! They use rocks as a hammer and anvil to break hard-shelled objects open. Then, when they acquire what they are looking for they will store it in a pouch located under their armpit.