Simple Animals with Super Powers That Are Larger Than Life


By Patti Dobranski

Considering the popularity of all of the Marvel Comics movies, it’s pretty easy to see that everyone enjoys super powers.

All of the high leaping over buildings, shooting of poison gases, transforming from one shape or form to another, incredible feats of strength and immortality do make captivating stories. They allow our imaginations to soar.

Humans may be limited to super powers on the big screen, but there are some simple and sometimes unseen creatures, whose super powers are not imaginary at all. Let’s meet some.

Super Strength

When you compare the jumping distance of fleas to their 1/50 of an inch size, they are tiny Supermen. The top jumper is the bird flea, which leaps 220 times its size. For a human, that would mean a jump over an 820-foot tall building.

The Incredible Hulk has nothing on the punch of the four-inch-long mantis shrimp. This Australian crustacean can hit as fast as a bullet.

Flame On

A dragon millipede is 1.2 inches, but eyecatching with its hot pink exoskeleton. Get too close and you’ll get a hydrogen cyanide cloud blasted in your direction.

The two-inch pistol shrimp is aptly named. This animal has two claws — one small and the other almost half its body size. The larger creates cavitation bubbles almost as hot as the sun that emit tiny sonic booms of up to 218 decibels!

Change is Good

The idea for Wolverine may have come from the hairy frog, a little amphibian with claws that burst through its skin when threatened. It breaks its own toe bones and pushes a sharp tip through the skin.

Many animals can change colors to blend into their surroundings, but the mimic octopus is a true magician. This sea resident can pose as a dozen different species! Try that costume changing, super heroes!

Forever and a Day

Cats may have nine lives, but the Turritopsis Nutricula jellyfish appears to live forever. When it gets old or sick, it starts its life cycle all over again.

Tardigrades are bear-like organisms only 6/100 of an inch, but their super powers are off the charts. Their abilities include withstanding temperatures ranging from -328ºF to 302ºF and not eating or drinking for 100 years. They may even be able to survive zero gravity space.

Up, Up and Away

The final animal super hero is the smallest bird on Earth: the hummingbird. It can fly 385 times its own body length per second. They are the only birds that can hover in mid-air and fly backwards.

Who needs imaginary human superheroes? There are tiny, powerful and real creatures we already share our world with!

Extension Questions

  • Do you know of any other animals with super powers?
  • If you could have one of these animal super powers, which one would you pick and why?
  • Why do you think some animals have these super powers?