5 Surprisingly Bizarre & Violent Animal Behaviours
The animal kingdom is a magnificent part of planet earth that has long been studied by humans… And we have come to realize that all the different species each have their own way of doing things, that when compared to our way of life, seem so strange and often at times barbaric…
So from the serial killer personality of the Shrike bird, to the disturbing reproduction of the Ichneumon Wasps, here are five of the weirdest and most bizarre animal behaviours within the animal world…
5The Strike Bird
Shrikes are a cute little songbird that can be found in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
There are around 31 species that vary in size, although generally they are around 8-10 inches in length, with a mixture of grey, black, brown and white feathers…..but these are not as cute as they look…
They are a ruthless merciless predator that prey on mainly mice, lizards and fellow small birds, and they will often imitate the songs of other birds to lure them to their death.
They kill by drop pouncing from a high place and then pecking their prey’s head and neck until they die. However due to their lack of strength, they can’t hold their prey to eat it, so they impale it onto a spiky plant or object and then rip it apart…..
But worse still, if they aren’t hungry they will still kill, although instead of eating them they will leave their prey skewered and return to it often weeks later…. Resulting in a collection of victims left on thorny bushes that serve to stake out their territory and attract mates…
It seems they are not that fussy about what they kill and will impale anything from small mammals to insects, but it is thought that although they will kill small reptiles, they will often leave them impaled and uneaten….suggesting the Shrike bird is the true serial killer of the wild and kills just for fun!
The praying Mantis is a fascinating insect that is distributed worldwide in warm and tropical environments.. They get their name from the position of their front legs which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer.
But there is nothing saintly about these insects as they are in fact, formidable predators and sexual cannibals.
They are lightning quick when catching their prey and snare them with the spikes on their legs…this is usually moths, crickets, grasshoppers and other small insects. However they also a bit partial to eating each other!
During mating, the female praying mantis will sometimes eat her partner either during or just after the mating ritual. It is thought that this happens 25% of the time.
The female will start by biting off her partner’s head, before slowly eating the rest of his body. It has been speculated that a female will even encourage a mate just so she can get a quick meal…although this has not been studied thoroughly enough as of yet…
Despite this bizarre behaviour, it does not seem to deter males from reproduction, and it is thought that this ultimate sacrifice may be giving the male a reproductive advantage.
Recent studies proved that females who ate their partner produced more eggs than those who spared his life, and by eating the male the widowed female ensures her man is still providing for his offspring through his nutritional value… In fact, cannibalistic females produced about over 50 more eggs than those who didn’t eat their mates… A pretty strange mating ritual, but it’s got nothing on this next one…
3Male Honey Bees
Now if you believe in reincarnation the one thing you don’t want to come back as is a male honey bee…
Honey bees live in colonies that consist of a single queen, a few hundred males called drones and thousands of workers who are infertile females.
The Queen is like the mother to all the other bees and is the only fertile member of the colony. She is chosen when she is a larva and fed royal jelly to ensure she grows into a fertile Queen.
The workers do everything, they feed the larvae, they tend the queen, clean the hive, collect food and build the honeycomb, and if they sting you they will die….
But male drones have it worse, their job it is to mate with Queens from outside of their own hive… However, they pay a terrible price for this ritual.
The Virgin Queen will go on a mating flight with a dozen or so eligible drones, which takes place over a period of 3 days, where she will mate with as many as 15 drones…..Sadly for the unfortunate males during all this, his genitals will be ripped of, his penis will remain inside the Queen, and she will then fly off leaving him to die…..
The Ichneumon Wasps are cousins to the familiar yellow and black stinging wasps that we all know except they are much slimmer and have a much longer antenna… The females also have a needlelike appendage at the tip of the abdomen that is used for laying eggs.
There are thousands of different species of Ichneumon in North America, with colours varying from brightly coloured to drab colours and they are typically around an inch and a half in length.
But what is horrific is the way that these parasitic wasps reproduce. They are a parasitoid, meaning they lay their eggs inside a host and the way this happens is pretty disturbing!
The female wasp will hunt down various unsuspecting hosts, usually a grub, caterpillar or pupa or a variety of insects including butterflies, beetles and moths. She will then use her stomach appendage to inject her eggs into the body of her victim….
Once inside the hungry larva ichneumons devour the host from the inside out, consuming the fatty deposits and digestive organs first to ensure the host stays alive for as long as possible. The young then hatch, eat what is left of their host and literally burst out of it…
The Tasmanian devil is mostly associated with the Looney Tunes cartoon character but just how close is this to a real-life Tasmanian Devil?
Well surprisingly it’s not far off, the real thing is known to be cantankerous and short tempered, and they literally have to fight to survive, and their aggressive fights are usually with each other, which earned them the name Devils.
These feisty little animals can reach up to 30 inches in length and weigh around 26 pounds and pound for pound they deliver one of the most powerful bites of any mammal. They survive on small prey such as snakes, birds and fish, and can be extremely violent and loud when feasting together on large carcases.
Like Taz, they will eat pretty much anything, and when they do find food, they are insatiable, devouring everything including hair, organs, and bones and whilst eating, they literally nibble at one another’s faces, often drawing blood…
It’s hardly surprising they have no manners as right from conception, their life is violent. Males fight over females and the winner then grabs the female by the scruff of the neck and drags her back to his Den where mating occurs.
The male will then defend the female from other males until moving on. The female can give birth to up to 50 pea sized young…. However, this is a problem because she only has four teats and for the young to survive they have to fight each other for their mother’s milk… Only a handful will survive, the rest are literally killed off by their brothers and sisters!
Sadly in recent years the Tasmanian devils have become endangered, after farmers tried to eradicate them, blaming them for killing livestock, and this feisty little creature is now a protected species…
For the Top5s video version of this article please click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrKG8v-P-Mw