A combination of adaptation and natural selection has produced some beautiful and elegant creatures. It also causes some animal body parts to be completely strange. Have sponges lost their brains? What’s so strange about the mantis shrimp’s seemingly telescopic eyes? Why do sheephead fish teeth look so weird? What made researchers think of origami when confronted with the mystery of salamander wings?
Yes, arachnid legs function “kind of like… tongue, nose and fingertips.” Of all the places where tentacles could grow, why would nature choose snakeheads? Skilled combatants claim that almost anything can be used as a weapon, but unlike aquatic salamanders, they may even draw a line across their ribs. Shoe stork is nothing if not an innovative hunter.
When mating season comes, male venomous platypuses don’t have to worry about being cuckolded for good reason. The proboscis monkey’s nose may strike one as plain, but the females of its species seem to appreciate it, and another of its appendages is — well, for now, let’s assume you’ve been warned. .
The appendages that grow from the face of the tentacled snake are unique. No other snake on the planet is so equipped. If its tentacles also make the reptile look rather sinister, its approach to hunting, author Bec Crew says, is downright “diabolical.”
Although it breathes air, it can stay underwater for 30 minutes before resurfacing to take its next breath, so it’s right at home in its native habitat, among the lakes, streams, and rice paddies of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
When the snake is on the hunt, its tentacles waver about, as their nerve cells detect prey lurking about in the “muddy water” of their environment, Crew explains. The water is so “murky” that, without the aid of the tentacles, the snake would not discern the presence of its food.
When it has found its prey, the snake ambushes its victim. In the process, the predator turns a fish’s defensive posture to its own advantage. By flicking its tail, the snake prompts the fish to adopt its defensive “C” shape, which, Crew explains, normally allows the fish “to zip away from anything trying to grab or bite it.” In the process of reacting, the fish flips “right into [the snake’s] waiting mouth,” and the end of the hunt concludes “in just 15-20 milliseconds.” The prey “never had a chance,” Crew concludes.