When I was just a kid, my siblings and I would play “pretend.” We would pretend we were somewhere magical and we would have epic adventures. Sometimes, we would pretend we had magical powers like Harry and his gang in Harry Potter or superpowers like the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Every time I was asked what superpower would I choose, I would always say I want the powers of Dr. Strange or the Scarlet Witch. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have superpowers like so for real?
We, humans, can only dream of having such abilities. Maybe, there are a selected few who do have superpowers. But did you know that your furry family member is a natural superbeing? Yep, they are! And, they are not the only animals who possess such unique abilities. Hundreds of other species also do. This makes you think why we have come to the conclusion that we are the “most evolved,” huh?
Not only do chimp genes show greater evidence of positive selection than ours, making them technically more developed, but the various species have also chosen diverse evolutionary routes to better adapt to their individual habitats. As a result, many animals have evolved abilities that we can only admire as actual superheroes. (Human) Superheroes always tend to make themselves known. But in the animal kingdom, superheroes are more humble and not as showy. Here are a couple such creatures.
We need look no further because our pet dogs are one species that sure do have superpowers. In the article, “Animals With Powers, Nature’s Superheroes” of the OpenMind BBVA website, man’s best friend already has abilities that we would want to have, like a sense of smell that is tens of thousands of times more sensitive than ours, allowing them to discern scent trails in the air as readily as we follow a track with our eyes. Dogs’ olfactory aptitude has been compared to the capacity to identify a teaspoon of sugar in two Olympic-size swimming pools or to detect one bad apple in two million barrels.
Their enhanced sense of smell is a million times more sensitive to subtle changes in odor linked with epilepsy and may be trained to identify cancer by scent. They can assist doctors in making early diagnoses by detecting the unique odor of cancer cells. Their chilly, wet nose can detect heat from a long distance, which they may undoubtedly utilize to locate prey.
Even more remarkable is their recently found ability to navigate the Earth’s magnetic field. They also have superior night vision.
Cats have so many superpowers. According to the article, “The 9 Amazing Abilities of Cats” of the Vetstreet website, they have psychic whiskers. A cat’s whiskers are so sensitive that it doesn’t even need to contact an object to detect close movement — variations in airflow are sufficient.
They also have lightning-fast feet. Over short distances, certain cat breeds may attain speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.
Super hearing ability. Your cat’s cone-shaped ears can detect sounds and movements up to five times farther than human ears, allowing him to determine the exact location of the source.
Superb flexibility. Frequent standing, arching, and stretching help keep the cat’s 30 spinal vertebrae (excluding the vertebrae in the tail) supple and robust. This is, most likely, the reason why they always tend to land on their feet whenever they accidentally fall. The thin shoulder blades allow for a great range of movement, while the narrow chest and absence of a genuine collarbone allow your cat to fit through small openings.
Super vision. Cats have a far wider range of vision, roughly 200 degrees, which is 20 degrees wider than humans. They also have excellent night vision and do not require frequent blinking, making them dangerous nocturnal predators. This is according to Kaylee Herzog’s article “10 Superior Powers of Feline Friends”.
For those who have frogs as pets, did you know that wood frogs (in my opinion) are the best to have? Kate Kershner points out in her article “10 Superhero Powers of the Animal Kingdom” that these frogs freeze as soon as their skin feels the sting of a severe cold. The water in their bodies freezes, but the syrupy liquid inside their cells remains sticky. A wood frog in winter resembles a dead frog: no organ function, no breath. It could stand frozen for up to eight months!
As the ice melts, the blood of the wood frog begins to circulate. The frog begins to operate around 30 minutes after the ice melts, with no harm done. Isn’t that great? Imagine, if you, its owner, had to be gone for a couple of days, you could simply have it freeze for a while until you come back. No worries, right?
Here is another pet you could leave for a period of time without worrying whether it is eating or not because they don’t have to. How can they if they bury themselves by then?
Lungfish are living fossils. They are the closest thing we have to an existing missing link between terrestrial vertebrates and their marine ancestors, and while they may appear like other fish, they are profoundly different in many respects. Another funny fact about this fish is that, this kind of fish cannot stay in the water too long or else, they will drown.
According to the article “Lungfish Fish Facts” of the AZ Animals website, lungfish take in air. They have gills and lungs, but they must breathe air to survive – unlike other fish – and will perish if they do not rise from the bottom of the ocean to gulp air.
So the earliest fish had lungs! Lungfish are the only fish that have maintained them.
Lungfish may survive times of dryness in their aqueous environments by digging tunnels in the mud and breathing via their lungs. When the water runs out, they burrow into the mud and vomit mucus to create a home that allows moisture and air to enter.
They may sit in a condition of torpor, or reduced activity, called aestivation, thanks to their lungs. These incredible fish may live buried in the mud for up to five years, with just a breathing tube providing oxygen. This is what allows them to endure lengthy periods of drought.
These are just a few of known animals with superpowers. There are still many more of them to learn about. You may check out the latest documentary called, “Super/Natural” of the National Geographic on the Disney channel if you want to see more of the ‘naturally’ superheroes of this planet.
About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She has been a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.