We often find articles and news reports that make us believe that the most beautiful and resourceful animals are now extinct because of our environmental impact. Given that a majority of these reports are drafted and published from the points of view of experts and scientists, it would be safe to conclude that the environmental footprint of humans is not animal-friendly.
But on the flip side, taking into account the enormity of the impact, there are still animals today that are living their best lives. They are some of the coolest animals you will come across, and looking at them will be a source of peace for sore eyes. Not only that, but you will find that they are ingenious in terms of their role in the food chain, survival instincts, movement, or all of the above.
Let’s take a closer look at 20 of these coolest animals ranked by Reddit users:
1. Pilot Whales
The most talked about and mentioned animal is, hands-down, the “pilot whale.” A Redditor describes them as “the only animal with a higher brain: body mass ratio than humans and they regularly commit mass suicide in the hundreds or sometimes even thousands via beaching. It’s thought that this occurs because of essentially a malfunction of echolocation technology that occurs around certain shapes of landmass. They live in structured familial groups and communicate with sound.”
This comment is seconded by multiple other Reddit users who paint an intriguing picture of this animal. One user said, “Imagine the way some whales see the world: they can look at each other with ultrasound, and each looks transparent: each can see what the other ate if it’s pregnant … it’s thought one whale can “hum” a 3-D image to another of something it’s seen, essentially projecting a hologram with sound. Now imagine injecting a bunch of boat engine noise, sonar, etc., into this soundscape.”
Another one speaks kind of in favor of this by saying, “That’s an interesting, if creepy, idea, that they can see inside each other, but do you have a source for that? Everything I’ve read says that whales/dolphins/bats/ use echolocation frequencies from 10-100 kHz. (Some bats go up to 250 kHz. Fun fact: The vibration of the bats’ larynx muscles at this frequency is believed to be the fastest muscle contraction speed of any mammal). Medical ultrasound imaging units operate at frequencies between 2-100 MHz (2,000-100,000 kHz). I wouldn’t expect those lower (relatively) frequencies to be able to penetrate a surface at all. And if they did, it’s hard to imagine that they would reflect a strong enough echo to be detected at any distance.”
Although unexpected, pilot whales are a popular favorite.
2. Cuttle Fish
The cuttle fish is mistaken for a ‘cuddle fish’ by the Reddit community but is also a prominent choice. Users comment that the “cuddle fish are proof that we’ve already had extraterrestrials visit Earth.” They are also said to be “the closest things to aliens on Earth.” Their out-of-this-world appearance is commented on by another Reddit user who says that “they are sea aliens and honestly something out of a movie.”
They’re truly one of the strangest creatures, as a user comments: “I’ve always been fascinated by the Cuttlefish. They’re very strange creatures.”
Unbelievably for us, spiders have also been listed among the coolest animals on Earth. A Reddit user comments that “a lot of people give these little guys a bad rap, but spiders are cool. They make extremely high-tensile strands of silk from their own body and make them into intelligent, complex webs to catch their food. And that’s just the orb weavers. Some spiders hide under trapdoors and shoot silk ropes at their prey to trap them. I’m talking about prey as big as birds and a spider that can fit in your hand. Plus, some of them can cling to walls and ceilings with a force greater than 170 times their own weight. If a human had the proportional abilities of a spider, they’d be able to run at around 160 mph, lift around 16,000 pounds, jump around 280 feet in the air, and cling to walls with a force of around 23,000 pounds. Not to mention a rope made of spider silk that’s as thick as a pencil would be strong enough to hold a private jet in place.”
This is supported by another user who states that “there’s a whole comic strip about spiders. One that also points out that if we think all the coolest animals are extinct, well, we might not even have any idea how weird things were back then, and darn is that a shame. Good thing there are weird animals to watch today, at least.”
Now, we’ve found another way to look at spiders: weird but strong, swift, and resourceful.
4. Mantis Shrimp
Another one that has been mentioned by a majority of Reddit users is the ‘mantis shrimp’ as the “dopest animal ever” and “freaking dope.” A noteworthy comment describes them as “quite amazing iirc. All rainbow colored and very deadly,” while another states that the “thing is a straight-up beast. A beautiful, magnificent, flamboyant beast.” Also known as the rainbow shrimp, it was described as “so crazy and awesome.”
In terms of its predatory habits and strength, a Reddit user detailed that: “It punches so hard it creates bubbles and can see far more colors than we will ever be able to.
Because they strike so rapidly, they generate vapor-filled bubbles in the water between the appendage and the striking surface—known as cavitation bubbles. The collapse of these cavitation bubbles produces measurable forces on their prey in addition to the instantaneous forces of 1,500 newtons that are caused by the impact of the appendage against the striking surface, which means that the prey is hit twice by a single strike; first by the claw and then by the collapsing cavitation bubbles that immediately follow. Even if the initial strike misses the prey, the resulting shock wave can be enough to stun or kill.
Compared to the three types of photoreceptor cells that humans possess in their eyes, the eyes of a mantis shrimp have between 12 and 16 types of photoreceptor cells. Furthermore, some of these shrimp can tune the sensitivity of their long-wavelength color vision to adapt to their environment.”
The rainbow colors of the mantis shrimp didn’t go unnoticed. A Reddit user comments that “it can perceive 16 colors.” Another user responded to this by saying, “Correct, its ability to distinguish colors is actually relatively poor, despite having the most spectral sensitivities of any animal. I know neurobiologists in Australia who conduct really neat behavioral experiments with these little guys, trying to understand their visual capabilities. They’re trained to respond to stimuli of specific colors in order to receive a food reward. It’s pretty adorable watching them drag the stimuli back into their lil pipes.”
Other distinguishing abilities of the mantis shrimp are highlighted as well, where a user states that “the mantis shrimp is also capable of producing a cavitation effect, but by punching faster than a rifle bullet.” A response to this states “I saw a video of that last week on Nat Geo online and it blew my mind. The Mantis Shrimp was chasing a crab, and the crab hid inside a glass container. The Mantis Shrimp first snapped its leg out And shattered the glass (underwater!), then snapped its leg and shattered the crab.”
A light-hearted comment that seconded the previous one goes as follows: “They’re tiny but punch with the force of a bullet and so quickly that the water around their pincers boil! And they look darn cute doing it.”
An interesting comparison was drawn by a Reddit user who appears to have been an educator:
“Can either be a lancer or a smasher. Lancers have a lance-like claw, while smashers have smashy smashes. They have incredible speed, and when a smasher hits its target, the target is also struck by tiny exploding bubbles. They aren’t kept in aquariums because they slaughter everything else and/or smash the aquarium’s glass to pieces, trying to break out. Also, they have incredible vision. People look at me funny when I try to explain how shrimp is one of my favorite animals. Google is at your service.”
Needless to say, the mantis shrimp was a popular choice in the community.
5. Pistol Shrimp
After the mantis shrimp, the pistol shrimp gained a lot of traction. Users comment that this shrimp is “basically a walking concussion gun. Blasts its prey from a distance with sound by snapping its claws superfast immobilising them. Has been known to shatter aquarium glass.”
Another comment states that: “These little things shoot bubbles at stuff. Those bubbles hit hard, at least enough to almost always stun the prey. They then go stabby and stab the prey when it’s unconscious. Also, they form colonies or live together with a type of fish. The fish makes a cave, and the shrimp shoots stuff. Perfect roommates. The ocean is full of sounds from these things because the “gunshot” is really loud. I heard that noise is annoying to military tests, by the way.”
They are said to be “the greatest real-life gunslingers have to be the pistol shrimp, aka the snapping shrimp, hundreds of species with an enormous claw they use to fire bullets of bubbles at foes, knocking them out cold or even killing them. The resulting sound is an incredible 210 decibels, far louder than an actual gunshot, which averages around 150.”
6. Grizzly Bears
This one will get your brain cells tinkering. Chosen by one Reddit user, grizzly bears are described as follows: “Stop and think for a minute about that monster. Seems normal to us, but if that wasn’t extinct a few thousand years ago, we’d be thanking the stars it wasn’t around anymore.”
Interesting. Isn’t it? Other Reddit users have commented in support of this and have compared them to mantis shrimps in these words: “Whenever I remember bears are real and can kill me without even caring, I freak out a little. I hike and camp a lot, and, wow, any of those trips could be the end if I run into the wrong bear. I was backpacking once in the fall when bears were in the hyperphagia (sp?) stage, and I walked through a valley where two bears were casually eating berries. It’s amazing.
They’re so darn cool. They can destroy a car to get a sandwich. They can literally scalp you. They are gigantic, and yet you don’t really see them when you’re in their territory. They’re smart, they’re cute, and they have an insane sense of smell.
All of the animals are cool. But bears are the best. Tell me you’d rather be a mantis shrimp instead of a bear. No. Because bears are straight-up powerful. Mantis shrimp are cool and all but bears are undoubtedly better.”
It looks like their strength is perceived as cool and scary at the same time.
7. Water Bear
Tardigrades, commonly known as water bears, are another kind of bear that the Reddit community has commented on a lot.
One of them goes on to state that “the tardigrade or water bear is the world’s toughest animal; it can survive in its tun (sort of like a cocoon) state in space and be perfectly fine, then once they feel the water on their bodies, they will just get up and continue with their life. They have six legs, nozzle-like mouth parts, and only 1mm in size. The Dwayne Johnson of the micro world.”
In terms of their survival instincts, “they can live decades without water; they can live in temperatures from -200 C to 150 C; they can survive 500x the radiation that humans can survive, and they can survive in the vacuum of space. I’m convinced that they got here from an asteroid. They’re borderline invincible.” Another one states that “tardigrades! They can survive in space and in a nuclear reactor, probably the most invincible animal ever thanks to how well it can repair its DNA.”
In similar words, we found another comment stating, “They can also survive in space unaided for two weeks and can be frozen for decades and thawed. Give it 100 years, and we’ll have Tardigrade/Human hybrids.” All these comments are seconded by a very enthusiastic member of the community: “TARDIGRADE! THOSE… CAN SURVIVE SPACE!! IF YOU DON’T THINK THAT’S COOL… I DON’T KNOW, YOU MAKE ME SAD OR SOMETHING..? WHATEVER, THEY’RE GREAT.”
They appear to be very strong creatures based on community comments such as “good luck killing these off humans” and “they don’t harm us, but they are virtually indestructible.”
This comment perfectly summarises their capabilities: “True, they are only microscopic, but they don’t become extinct anytime soon…they can withstand fatal (to other creatures) conditions such as dehydration and starvation, extreme radiation, temperatures, and pressure, and a lack of air.”
8. Polar Bear
Speaking of bears, how can the community miss the polar bears? As the community remarks, “Polar bear, the apex predator of the Arctic. Routinely target whales and walruses when hungry. They are known to sniff out seals through ice and smash holes to pull them out. Most importantly, after a bloodbath, they will take a 15-minute dip in the water to stay fresh.”
The most pondered creature was the jellyfish. We found many comments about them describing them as follows: “Turritopsis doohmii, or more commonly, the immortal jellyfish. It has found a way to cheat death by actually reversing its aging process, according to National Geographic.”
“The immortal jellyfish things. Like, if you keep one as a pet and you take care of it properly, it’ll live forever. That’s insane.” Another user added, “There is a species of jellyfish that ages backward when threatened or injured.”
“Turritopsis dohrnii; the biologically immortal jellyfish. Once mature it can reverse back to a polp, its child form. It can die, but only from disease, starvation, or a predator, but apart from that, it just keeps living.”
We couldn’t help but wonder, along with another user: “How in the living world do those things even work.”
10. Sea Dragons and Bearded Dragons
Dragons have emerged as another favorite for a handful of Reddit users. Sea dragons are the first most-loved creature for which users comment that “sea dragons are the most fascinating creatures ever! They look so mystical in a sense” and that “they’re like seahorses but so majestic.”
Bearded dragons are another kind of dragons ranked among the coolest animals. A user comments, “They are like the cats of the reptile world. My mom and grandparents are constantly asking about him. They are amazed when I tell them that he just sits under his lamp for 12 hours.”
We found a very interesting analogy on the kangaroos by one Reddit user who comments that “they can be really jacked. They’re the only land species that use five-footed locomotion. They use their tails for locomotion!!
Their toenails are like two spears that they can use to disembowel you, and they have enormous claws. They might not have opposable thumbs, but they have fine motor skills and are bipedal.
I believe that if Mankind wiped itself out, and since they are isolated in their own continent in Australia, they have the highest chance to spawn an intelligent species eventually. An intelligent species that uses five limbs to jump/run at 70 km/h coming to stab you with their spear feet.”
12. Killer Whales
Orcas, commonly known as killer whales, are also listed among the coolest animals on Earth and are commented on as “freaking amazing.”
As described by another Redditor, killer whales are “pretty… sweet. They look cool, they’re extremely intelligent and they have amazing social skills. They’re one of the most, if not the most, widespread marine animals, capable of living in a variety of environments and using a variety of hunting techniques to take down all sorts of prey.”
13. Blue Whales
When it comes to whales, the comments on blue whales surpass those of blue whales. However, browsing through the comments, it soon becomes evident that the blue whales won a lot of points for their sheer size. These are only some of the comments musing over the whale’s size:
“The blue whale is larger than the biggest discovered dinosaur, the dreadnoughtus. It’s insane how big those things are.”
“It’s the largest animal known to have ever existed on the Earth; no known fossil species come close.”
“Blue Whales are still the largest vertebrate that we know of ever existing.”
“Largest animal to have ever existed.”
“Blue whale is the largest animal to ever live. We haven’t even hunted them to extinction yet.”
“Literally blows them out of the water.”
“Biggest animal EVER”
“Simply because it’s the largest animal to have ever existed.”
“biggest animal that EVER lived”
“Quite an amazing specimen. No other animals in the history of the Earth have grown to the size that a Blue Whale has been documented to.”
“They are bigger than… Dinosaurs are strong as hell.”
“largest creature in existence. Larger than the largest dinosaur (Titanosaur, was it? )”
“Utterly totally gigantic; nothing larger ever existed. In terms of absolute superlatives, it’s the only creature in the modern world that surpasses ALL previous animals in any significant feature or dimension. Except us.”
Apart from this, we also found comments on their strength and intelligence where a user describes them as follows: “They are also highly intelligent, and can talk to and hear each other at a distance of over 4000 miles (!).”
From the above comments, it is evident that blue whales are cooler than the killer whales.
14. Tongue Eating Louse
Here’s one you’ve probably not heard of before, but it has one of the strangest and coolest capabilities we found.
According to a Reddit user, “This parasite enters fish through the gills and then attaches itself to the fish’s tongue. The parasite severs the blood vessels in the fish’s tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish’s new tongue.”
Here’s another uncommon name, but they are the cutest-looking creatures. They also have a mindboggling ability, highlighted in one of the comments: “Adapting their reproduction method based on the length of nights is fascinating, and being able to produce with or without reproduction is truly impressive. Even more so is switching from viviparous parthenogenesis to oviparous reproduction. It’s no wonder they can proliferate so easily, and I would love to study them in a formal environment.”
16. Mimic Octopus
We have all heard of octopuses, but counted as one of the coolest animals on Earth today; the mimic octopus was another new one that we found.
As the comment states, it is “probably the coolest animal in the world. Not only are they able to change color AND texture, but they also got their name by doing stuff other animals do. Spooky guy over there? Nah, lemme transform into a poisonous jellyfish. Spookier guy that eats jellyfish as well? Nah, lemme transform into a flatfish to max the stealth stat. Spookiest guy that eats everything and is super perceptive? Heh, I guess I’ll turn into a rock.”
17. Hammerhead Shark
What could be deadlier than a shark that can kill? A shark that uses electricity. That’s right. The community brought to our attention the hammerhead shark. A Reddit user comments that:
“These things can sense stuff using electricity. Think of a metal detector that instead is a flesh detector. I think a couple of other sharks might do this as well, but hey, who can compete with that sick head shape?”
Crocodiles have been around longer than we can imagine. Reddit users had a lot to say about them:
“Crocodiles and other crocodile-like things (gators, caimans, etc.) have basically not changed in terms of body structure in several thousand years. Nature saw a croc and said, “Yeah, that’s scary imma leave it be” and decided to just leave it alone. Prehistoric Crocs are basically identical to modern-day crocs (barring sizes and some fiddly details).”
Another one states: “They’ve been around since the dinosaurs and have evolved fairly little compared to other animals. They’re literally living prehistoric dinosaurs that can grow up to 25 feet sometimes and kill you with such ease. They pop out of the water, and you don’t even see them coming. And they do this all while looking like logs.”
In conclusion: “The saltwater crocodiles are an almost perfect predator, and they’re absolute units.”
When it comes to “coolest” animals, one would not expect to notice chickens, but the Reddit community has surprised us once again.
Users comment that: “Literally, feathered pseudo-dinosaurs that run around on the ground scratching with their claws and voraciously eating anything they can peck, snatch, and swallow (mostly) whole. Mice, snakes, rats, nasty bugs like ticks, fleas, and anything else they find. They also are capable of recognizing individuals by face.
They are vicious omnivores that eat everything, require minimal care, and have a high enough reproductive rate that a few handfuls can keep a family fed, and as a bonus, they provide high protein butt-nuggets on a near-daily basis once matured. Useless extra males can be eaten, and producing females when they stop providing breakfast, and almost every part of them is useful or edible.”
We almost did not include this in the list, but the comments made lots of solid cases. The first one will have you convinced:
“Humans are pretty rad.
We have the highest endurance of any animal, letting us chase prey to exhaustion. We are bipedal, which is pretty unique when almost all other mammals walk on four legs.
We are apex predators. Nothing hunts us. We domesticate smaller animals for companionship.
But what makes humans truly special is our big brains. These things are so massive babies are born before they reach proper development to even fit through the birth canal. Sure, they’re the most helpless babies when born, but they have the most potential.
Tools and critical thinking. Humans use that massive cerebellum to create new devices to overcome obstacles. Faster travel? Leave the horse in the barn; we got a combustion engine! Humans figured out how to use micro-explosions to make a two-ton hunk of steel move.
Air travel? Flying isn’t just for the birds and bad Bethesda physics anymore. We can use airplanes to fly across the planet.
Water? Not only can we go on the surface, but we can go down deep, too. Not too deep, though; we weren’t built for that.
We weren’t built for any of this. Buy-out giant brains are so amazing; we figured it all out.
We even landed on the moon. We took what we knew from submarines, air pressure, and vacuums, our experience in aviation and engines, and said, “Let’s get someone on that rock up there.”
Here’s another one:
“Humans are amazing creatures that can truly do almost anything. The only problem is how selfish they can be, along with ignorance and prejudice.
There’s a lot of good ideas on how we can make the world as a whole a better place, but we just can’t seem to work together long enough to make it happen.”
Wear your sense-of-humour cap for the next one:
“We strapped ourselves to a can of explosives and made it safely to the moon. We are just on a different level of cool.”
In favor of humans, two users comment about the advancements we’ve made in the field of tech and science, stating that “we’re like the most technologically advanced organisms that we know of by a mile. It can also be argued that we’re the pinnacle of evolution” and “just look how far we’ve come; besides, we’re technically animals.”
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.