Evolution has equipped many animals with formidable strength and survival skills. Bacteria can thrive in just about any environment while roaches have a reputation of being hard to kill. But then there are those animals that seem to miss the mark in more ways than one. It really is a miracle as to how and why they’re still around. Even zoologists are left baffled by their questionable survival skills, or lack thereof. This article outlines five animals who should pretty much be extinct by now.
What do you expect from an animal that was named after a sin? Everything they do is slow, like really slow. Climbing up a tree, moving from one branch to another, eating and… going number two. Unlike other arboreal species, sloths don’t just do their business while up in the tree. They take their sweet time to climb down the tree, dig a little hole, use the bathroom and then cover it up. As you could imagine, they take forever and before they’re even done they’ve most likely been snatched up by an opportunistic predator. What a sad way to go out!
Pandas, although cute and cuddly, really deserve the number two spot when it comes to incompetent animals. First, despite their love for bamboo, panda guts are not properly equipped to deal with digesting the leaves due to their carnivorous lineage. As a result, they become really sedentary and vulnerable to predators as they spend the majority of their time chewing on leaves. We also throw in the fact that they’re terrible breeders with low birth rates; when they do manage to have a successful pregnancy, panda mothers have a weird tendency to cause death to their own newborns. So yeah, pandas are weird.
This one’s not the babirusa’ fault but still, it hardly makes sense to us. Babirusas are a species of wild pig with two sets of tusks that grow unusually large in the males. On their own, tusks are a great defense system to ward off predators. But for some reason, the upper pair of the pig’s tusks continue to grow longer and longer, until they finally curve backward and down into the animal’s skull. What’s the point of being able to pierce your own brain? Mother nature certainly missed the mark with this one, didn’t she?
For those of you who are just hearing about this for the first time, a kakapo is a small species of owl parrot that can only be found on two tiny islands off the coast of New Zealand. Other than human interference, the kakapos’ low population of just 200 is due to their naive and somewhat silly nature; they never developed a true defense mechanism, they just sit still and hope that they blend into the background. Sometimes it works, but not with humans and their hunting dogs. And like pandas, kakapos are slow breeders and sometimes even attempt to mate with non-kakapos.
Killdeer are a type of wading bird found only in the Americas, both north and south. The name isn’t a bad attempt at being creative, but an actual description of the bird’s odd way of handling predators. Adult killdeer, at least the parents, will protect their young by feigning a broken wing in order to distract any hungry animal coming towards the nest. Sadly, this often leads to their demise in the process. Another tactic is called the “ungulate display,” where the killdeer will lower its head before blindly charging at its enemy. And once again they’re often hurt in the process.
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