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22 Animal Species So Gross, They’ll Make Your Skin Crawl

Lions and tigers and ... glowing roaches? Oh my.

Sea-cucumberArmando Veve for Reader's Digest

Sea cucumber

The sea cucumber’s slothlike speed should make 
it easy prey. But this bottom-feeder possesses a 
secret weapon. When under threat by, say, a crab, some sea cucumber species shoot out their guts—their intestines and respiratory tracts, and even their reproductive organs!—from their anuses. ­Believe it or not, certain predators find this ­appetizing. As they dig in, the sea cucumber hides ­under a rock or in the sand and plots its escape. Going on with life after you’ve literally spilled your guts isn’t easy, and afterward, the sea cucumber finds itself in a kind of suspended animation for 
a few months, regenerating its organs and getting ready to escape the next unsuspecting crab. Too gross? Try taking a look at these 12 animals species that are probably smarter than you.

Elephant Shrew on rock with open mouth and bent snoutRiaan van den Berg/Shutterstock

Elephant shrew

Although they may appear like everyday mice, the DNA of the elephant shrew is more closely related to its jumbo namesake. Despite being smaller than even other elephant shrew species, the mammal genetically resembles an elephant way more than a mouse, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.

Enigma-mothTatiana Ayazo/rd.com

Enigma moth

This new species of moth was only recently discovered. They are so unique because they only live for one day. Within 24 hours, they emerge from their cocoon, mate, reproduce, and then die. IFL Science describes it as an evolutionary wonder.

Honey-badgerArmando Veve for Reader's Digest

Honey badger

The 30-pound honey badger has been dubbed the most fearless animal in the world for its willing­ness to take on larger beasts, such as lions and buffalo. Aside from an incredibly powerful jaw and a thick, rubbery skin, the honey badger defends itself by turning the pouch in its rear end inside out to spray enemies with a musky, suffocating stench. This action sends predators fleeing, which 
is exactly what you would do if someone you just met pulled the same stunt. Here’s another factoid: The honey badger usually lives alone. Gee, wonder why. Want something a bit less terrifying? Take a look at the most amazing animal photos taken in 2018.

Ant with Cordycepsshunfa Teh/Shutterstock

Mind-control fungus

If the Jedi mind trick is your fantasy superhero power, you might find yourself envying this fungus. The Brazilian species makes its home in an ant’s brain, and NationalGeographic.com reports that it controls the ant until it kills it off, then it takes its spores elsewhere.

One young Muntjac in the jungle. Muntjac known as barking deer and Mastreani deer, are small deer of the genus Muntjacs.Wanida_Sri/Shutterstock

Leaf deer

Smaller than a standard beagle, the average adult leaf deer weighs about 25 pounds and measures about 8 inches tall. Its name came about because Myanmar locals claim it is so small that it can be wrapped in just one large leaf, reports The New York Times.

Eurasian-roller-birdArmando Veve for Reader's Digest

Eurasian roller bird

Imagine you saw some people to whom 
you wanted to say hello, but as you approached, they opened their mouths—and vomited on you. You would give them a wide berth, right? In the case of young Eurasian roller birds, they have a good reason for this rude behavior: They assumed you were going to eat them. Rollers have been known to travel from Europe to central Asia, and along the way, they encounter countless snakes, rats, and other predators. When the young birds hurl their orange, putrid-smelling intestinal fluid, it keeps the bad guys at bay and alerts their parents to potential trouble. Too gross? Take a step back and have a laugh with these 50 funny animal photos you need in your life.

Glowing-roachTatiana Ayazo/rd.com

Glowing roach

A new species of cockroach uses bacteria to glow in the dark, as reported in Time.com. Great — now we'll be able to hear and see creepy crawlies scuttling away in the night (said no person ever!)

Bombardier-beetleArmando Veve for Reader's Digest

Bombardier beetle

This creature gets its name honestly: It fends off attackers by bombing them with chemicals hot enough to burn human skin. The flying half-inch beetle 
has two separate glands. One contains hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone, which also can be engineered in a lab and used commercially as a skin-­bleaching agent. The other harbors a mixture of enzymes. When the contents of the two glands are mixed, they create a chemical that can reach a temperature of 212 degrees F. This combination is then shot out from a remarkably 
accurate nozzle-like opening located on the rear of the beetle’s abdomen, an action it can repeat up to 20 times in a row before running out of ammunition.

close up image of a Smooth Guardian Frog from BorneoSIMON SHIM/Shutterstock

 Fanged frogs

The Limnonectes larvaepartus is a frog with fangs that was discovered in 2014. It has two projections on its lower jaw that make great defensive weapons. The species gives birth to live tadpoles, then uses its fangs to fight off predators. If you need a break from all the grossness, take a look at these photos of the most adorable animals you probably didn't know existed.

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