|Diabolical Predators - The Exclusive Sequel
|If you enjoyed my writings about blister beetle sex dolls, crafty assassin bugs and
other ruthless killers on Cracked.com, you may enjoy the entries that got cut from
the article. Oddly enough, these were entries I threw in when Cracked asked me to
add a few more, so I have to agree that these were perhaps a bit less shocking
than the animals they kept, and my humor began to ran fairly dry at this point.
Regardless, these are mighty cool creatures in their own right!
|The Alligator Snapping Turtle
Imagine you're a hungry little minnow in the Louisiana swamps. You're scouring the
murky ooze for a snack when you catch sight of every fish's favorite; a perfect, pink
nightcrawler. It sits there seemingly in the middle of nowhere, squirming at the base of
an old rotten log. You approach with caution, but it doesn't even flee. You close in to
take your first little nibble...and in the blink of an eye, you're gone. Moments later, the
worm comes back. A hungry little minnow does not.
With a beak that can easily sever human fingers, the alligator snapper is a powerful
predator and the second largest fresh-water turtle in the world, but very rarely bothers to
get up and hunt for its prey. Instead, it has a strategy virtually unheard of in any other
reptile; lying perfectly still amongst sunken logs and branches, the only part of its
gnarled body that doesn't blend in is a pair of light pink filaments on the tip of its
tongue, enticingly wiggled in the water until something comes within range of its
lightning-fast extendo-neck. While boozed-up humans have been doing this for
centuries with expensive bait and tackle, the alligator snapper has been living off the
same trick for millions of years without so much as a six pack to break up the monotony.
Now, we did say this tactic was just virtually unheard of in reptiles, and to be precise,
there's only one other example known to man; certain juvenile rattlesnakes pull the
worm trick with the tips of their tails, hiding the rest of their bodies under leaves and
sand to ambush small birds who have no doubt suffered life-long nightmares of this
exact fucking situation.
Say you're a fish with a bad case of the sea-lice. You don't have a whole lot of options
when it comes to medical attention, but you soon spot the unmistakable markings of
the cleaner wrasse, a little critter you can always count on for a thorough
debugging....or so you thought. You've done this countless times before, but you never
remembered it hurting so much. Come to think of it, it hurts like hell...and you're still
fucking covered in crabs. You would have a juicy malpractice suit on your hands if you
weren't just a dumb fish.
Cleaner Wrasse are an entire group of tiny, stripey fish who specialize in providing a
free pit-stop to sea life in need, advertising their services with an adorable little dance.
Everything from smaller fish to larger sharks will patiently line up in front of their
cleaning stations, waiting their turn for the wrasse to pick parasites and ick from every
nook and cranny of their bodies. Even fierce predators will allow them in and out of
their mouths and gills, harming neither the cleaner nor their fellow patients. Everyone is
equal in the eyes of Dr. Wrasse.
Unfortunately, even in the coral reef, wherever there's demand for something, some
asshole is going to take advantage of the gullible. The Sabretooth Blenny or "false
cleaner" isn't even a type of wrasse at all, but shares the distinct shape and striping of
the real deal. When sickly fish come knocking at its door expecting help, the
impersonator skips the parasites and helps itself to fresh, delicious chunks of meat, not
unlike the dentist who felt you up for an hour and charged you for a root canal. These
back alley frauds can have a severe impact on the health of local wildlife, as other fish
decide to just avoid cleaners altogether and the honest ones are driven away. If only
the oceans had set up better medicare. You know, instead of all those damn
|I decree.....MORE BARNACLES!