This lizard's unique means of escaping predators involves literally walking on
water. It is capable of moving in this fashion at an impressive speed of
five feet per second. Humans would need to drive their legs back and forth
at 65 miles per hour in order to accomplish such a feat - a muscular
exertion 15 times greater than we are capable of.
Possessing a muscular physique and 60 sharp, serrated teeth, the Komodo dragon
is a giant animal with a fearsome reputation. It usually preys on deer, but
is known to hunt larger mammals such as water buffalo and even humans. When
hunting buffalo, one Komodo will attempt to bite the animal's leg. The wound
may not be enough to kill the buffalo, but the Komodo's bite contains venom
that prevents the wound healing. Several Komodos will track the buffalo for
days, or even weeks, as it slowly weakens, before they are able to move in
and devour it.
Found in the sandstone plateau that overlaps Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, the
pebble toad has to contend with predators such as snakes, scorpions and
tarantulas. Although seemingly defenceless, it is capable of simply flinging
itself from its perch, curling up into a ball and bouncing off boulders and
down steep slopes to safety.
Regal horned lizard
When the horned lizard is approached by a hungry foe, it uses an equally
unusual method of self-preservation. It will raise its horns and tilt its
back to appear too large to eat, before flipping over to reveal a wide,
white underside. The shock of this transformation will usually induce the
snake to flee. It is also capable of squirting a jet of distasteful blood
from the corner of its eyes.
With their cartoonish appearance and missile-like tongues, chameleons are odd
by anyone's standards. But the Namaqua chameleons - found in the Namib
Desert - are perhaps the most peculiar. It has adapted to its surroundings
in many ways. It can sprint (unlike other chameleons), it can disguise
itself as a pebble to avoid birds of prey, and even has the ability to be
different colours on each side of its body (dark and white) so that one side
absorbs the heat of the morning sun and the other prevents it escaping.
Finding a mate in this vast habitat is rare, and an opportunity that can't be
missed. If a female shows no interest in the male's advances, he will beat
her into submission with head-butts and bites before climbing on top.
Afterwards, he may run after her again and again until she finally gets
One of the strangest sights in nature is the courtship dance of the lesser
flamingo. Groups of flamingos will begin to march across the water while
flicking their heads and making distinctive calls. More and more birds will
join the parade until thousands of flamingos are seemingly gliding together
as one. Pairs will couple up and leave to mate, while the dance goes on.
Great white pelican
Dwindling fish stocks off the coast of South Africa have forced pelican to
look elsewhere for their food. Many have turned to eating offal found at
farms in the Cape Town, while others have taken to eating other seabirds.
The pelican's huge bill means it is able to swallow the chicks of gannets,
tern, cormorants and even African penguins.
One of the rarest hummingbirds, the spatuletail is found only in Peru and is
unique in appearance. The male's tail feathers are twice the length of its
body and end in disc-shaped 'spatules'. In an attempt to impress a passing
female, the bird will hover in the air and pirouette back and forth over its
branch, all the while displaying its dazzling blue feathers. Occasionally, a
rival might appear, resulting in a dancing 'face-off' until one retreats.
The male Vogelkop bowerbird will go to extraordinary lengths to attract a
female. It builds a roofed bower, complete with moss flooring, and ornaments
from the surrounding forests - including fruits, berries, acorns, butterfly
wings and deer dung. The males defend their bower against opportunistic
thieves and wait for females to inspect their creations. If they meet her
standards, mating will follow.
A close relative to the lemur, the aye-aye's shaggy fur, huge ears and long,
thin fingers make it one of the world's strangest animals. Around the size
of a domestic cat, it creeps around the rainforests of Madagascar, drumming
its fingers on tree trunks - up to 40 times a minute - listening for subtle
variations in pitch. Once it finds a cavity - likely to contain insects - it
will bite into the wood and use its bizarre middle finger to fetch its
Strawberry poison frog
Known for its incredible variations in colour, the strawberry poison frog is
capable of up to 30 different appearances. It is also unusual for exhibiting
a high degree of parental care, while it is unique in that it is the female
that approaches the male to mate, not the other way around.