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Interesting & Unusual Animal Defense Mechanisms

close-up of a bengal slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis) sitting on a branch at night.

The natural world is filled with animals that have to defend themselves, and some of these animals have some pretty unusual defense mechanisms! In the wild, these animals have to fend for themselves, and some do it in pretty strange ways. 

1. Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber
A grouping of small sea cucumbers in Komodo National Park. Image via Nhobgood Nick Hobgood, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sea cucumbers can expel their internal organs when they feel threatened. Their organs are sticky and sometimes even toxic – scaring off predators. But the best part is, that these creatures can regenerate their organs after they are forced to use this unusual defense mechanism!

2. Horned Lizards

Texas Horned Lizard
Texas Horned Lizard, also known as the “horny toad”. Image by Thomas Park via Unsplash

Horned Lizards chase potential predators away by squirting blood! That’s right, these reptiles shoot blood from their eyes. The blood contains chemicals that taste horrible to predators, putting them off their attack.

3. Bombardier Beetle

Bombardier Beetle
Image by Filipe Resmini via unsplash

The Bombardier Beetle shoots out a hot, poisonous chemical spray from their abdomen to deter predators. And they do this with impressive accuracy!

4. Pufferfish

Puffer fish
Striped puffer (Arothron manilensis). Near of island Rao, west of Morotai, Indonesia. Image via Rickard Zerpe, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pufferfish inflate their bodies with water or air to ward off threats. In this process, they increase their usual body size several times! Some pufferfish species also have spines sticking from their bodies that contain a potent toxin – so beware!

5. Opossum

North American Opossum with winter coat. Image via Cody Pope, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, we can’t have a list of unusual defense mechanisms and not include the opossum! These animals play dead when they face a predator! Successfully avoiding a potentially deadly clash. 

6. Hairy Frog

Hairy frog, Trichobatrachus robustus. Image by REPTILES4ALL via depositphotos

These frogs break their own toe bones to create claws that pierce through their skin to make a weapon they can protect themselves with. Earning them their other name, the Wolverine Frog!

7. Malaysian Exploding Ant

exploding ant
Image by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

These noble ants sacrifice themselves to protect their colony by self-destructing. They rapture their bodies and release a sticky and toxic substance that is strong enough to kill predators!

8. Slow Loris

A Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) at the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina. Image via David Haring / Duke Lemur Center, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Slow Loris provides a toxic bite when battling a predator. The toxin in their saliva causes allergic reactions so bad that it scares off their predators!

9. Portuguese Man o’War

Image by pstedrak via depositphotos

These siphonophores have long tentacles covered in stinging cells they use to protect themselves. The painful stings they deliver not only ward off predators, but humans too!

10. Electric Eel

Electric Eel
Electric eel in Aqua. Image by yourth2007 via

Closing up our list of animals with unusual defense mechanisms, is the electric eel. These animals can produce a shock of 600 volts that stun predators and allow them to get away safely!

The Unusual World Of Animals

Short horned Lizard. Ninety99nineTK, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unusual defense mechanisms in the animal kingdom. And although some might seem strange, it’s incredible how these animals have adapted and the cool ways they protect themselves!

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Sea Cucumber
Sea Cucumber. Image via Depositphotos

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