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    12 Facts That Prove Nature Is, Like, Really, Really Hardcore

    So...spiders can fly. On gusty enough days, spiders will plant their feet and raise their abdomen to the sky, letting out silk. The silk is caught by the wind, and they take off.

    1. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the one that covered cities like Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash, was so hot, it turned someone's brain into glass.

    Graphic of Mount Vesuvius

    It's believed the brain vitrified. "Vitrification," a new word I'm scared of, is the process in which something heats until it liquifies, then cools into glass instead of an ordinary substance.

    A brain scan

    According to National Geographic, "Charred wood nearby suggests that the temperatures in the building potentially reached 968 degrees Fahrenheit. This was seemingly hot enough to ignite body fat, vaporize soft tissues, and melt brain tissue."


    2. Cat teeth purposely have a little dent in them called a "blood groove."

    A cat's teeth

    The way their teeth are shaped mean that when they bite into prey, they create a suction effect with their mouths.

    The "blood groove" is on their canines and work so when they bite into their prey, the blood drains and doesn't pool in the cat's mouth. I feel like it makes me more queasy the longer I think about it, so let's just keep scrolling, OK?

    A tiger showing its teeth

    3. Spiders can essentially parasail through something called ballooning, where they release silk into the air that's caught by the wind.

    How does it work? On gusty enough days, spiders will plant their feet and raise their abdomen to the sky, letting out silk. The silk is caught by the wind, and they take off.

    They also use the Earth's electromagnet fields to aid them in their flying. They can fly anywhere from a few feet to thousands of miles, even crossing oceans. Terrifying!

    4. Male anglerfish will die unless they find a female. When they do, they bite into her belly, feeding on her blood supply.


    Like, the males fuse onto the females. Scientists have seen females host up to eight males at a time.

    Eventually, the male's eyes and fins wither away, and they are permanently attached to provide sperm on command.

    5. The USDA estimates $6 billion is spent annually on damage control and medical treatments caused by fire ants, which are an invasive species.

    Fire ants

    Imported fire ants were brought into the United States unknowingly in shipments from South America between 1910 and 1930.

    A fire ants sign

    Fire ants carry the most venom in the summer, which is when their stings can be the most powerful.

    Fire ants

    6. Tasmanian devils have 30-40 babies, but only four nipples. The first four babies that make it into mom's pouch survive. The rest of them die from starvation.

    An embryo

    Here's some bonus Tasmanian devil content: The cartoon is not far off. When a real devil is under attack, it'll shriek, bare its teeth, and run around in circles.

    7. There is no antivenom for a blue-ringed octopus bite, and one milligram of it can kill a human.

    A blue-ringed octopus

    They carry enough venom to kill up to 20 people. Once bitten, people can experience paralysis, even if fully conscious. Those bitten can typically see and hear everything, but can't respond. The venom doesn't affect the heart or brain, so if someone can artificially respirate a victim (give them mouth-to-mouth), they can survive without long-term consequences.

    A "Danger: Blue ring octopus" sign

    The octopuses are typically docile unless provoked, but their size (between 5-7 centimeters) and their tendency to hide under sand and beneath rocks, makes it easy for humans to unknowingly come in contact with them.

    Someone looking at a blue-ringed octopus

    8. In 1931, a swarm of grasshoppers so thick they blocked out the sun, annihilated Midwestern US crops. It was said you could shovel grasshoppers by the load, there were so many of them.

    A grasshopper

    According to, swarms can happen during drought conditions. The eggs are typically vulnerable to fungus, which can only survive in wet soil.

    A group of grasshoppers

    While there hasn't been a swarm like that in the United States since, parts of Africa and Asia are still susceptible to regular swarms of insects. It's estimated these swarms can swell to 70 billion insects at a time.

    A swarm of grasshoppers

    9. Sand shark embryos cannibalize each other in-womb, so only the "strongest" shark is born.

    Researchers hypothesize these are embryos from different male sharks competing to be born, so the dominant male's genes are the ones being passed on to offspring.

    A sand shark

    One shark embryo will feed on the rest of the embryos in the womb, during which they go through a growth spurt. When they're born, they're around three feet long.

    A sand shark embryo

    10. Wasps have the ability to paralyze ladybugs with a virus, and plant their eggs in the ladybug. The wasps emerge from the belly of the ladybug, and weave a cocoon between the ladybug's legs.

    A wasp and a ladybug

    The ladybug twitches its body to ward off predators while the baby wasp grows.

    And the wasp eats all of the ladybug's organs in the meantime (all of the non-essential ones, that is).

    A ladybug

    11. The Skrillex song "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" acts as a sort of mosquito repellent.

    A man slapping a mosquito

    According to research in Malaysia, mosquitos bit less and mated less while listening to the song.

    A mosquito

    Because mosquitoes use sound to communicate, evaluating frequency and vibrations in the air, the researchers chose the song due to its loudness and pitch.

    View this video on YouTube

    WMG / Atlantic Records / Via

    12. Finally, white-tailed deer have been found eating human bones and baby birds.

    A white-tailed deer

    The deer found eating a human rib used their teeth to make a zig-zag pattern in the bone to add minerals like calcium and sodium into their diet.

    Eating birds is a habit researchers think deer adopt when they're missing parts of their diet. There is also a hypothesis they need the protein from the meat to grow horns. Who knew deer could be so menacing?!

    A white-tailed deer chasing birds