This Beetle Can Survive Being Run Over by a Car

The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle is one of the most resilient beings on the planet. Its protective shell can withstand forces that would pulverize most other living things.

In 2015, when entomologists told Jesus Rivera that a beetle found primarily on the west coast of North America had this “superpower” that allowed it to survive being run over by a car, he didn’t believe them. So he staged a rudimentary experiment, laying this nondescript black beetle on a a pillow of dirt in a parking lot and had a friend run it over with a Toyota Camry, twice. The bug played dead afterwards, but as he was poking it, Rivera realized it was very much alive. The bug scientists were right, this beetle could easily survive being run over by cars. Jesus ended up spending his doctoral career studying the beetle’s superpower to find out what made it so strong.

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Hero Shelters Hundreds of Stray Dogs in His House to Protect Them From Hurricane

A Mexican animal rights activist has been praised as a hero by animal lovers around the world after it was reported that he sheltered around 300 stray dogs and many other animals in his home to protect them from a hurricane.

On October 7, at around 5:30 in the morning, Hurricane Delta made landfall in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Hours before, Ricardo Pimentel, an animal rights activist from the town of  Leona Vicario, was busy making sure that the facilities at the Tierra de Animales animal shelter he founded were prepared for the strong winds and heavy rains that were about to hit the region. The most radical thing Pedro did was fill his own house with over 300 hundred dogs, as well as some cats, chickens, rabbits and even a hedgehog, to make sure they were safe from the hurricane.

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Researchers Find Extremely Rare Half-Male, Half-Female Bird Specimen

Researchers at the Powdermill Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania recently came across a “once in a lifetime discovery” – a half-male, half-female rose-breasted grosbeak.

Annie Lindsay and her colleagues at Powdermill Nature Reserve were catching and banding birds with identification tags on September 24, when a fellow researcher called her over via walkie-talkie to supposedly see something extraordinary. The moment she saw her colleague’s find, Annie knew what she was looking at, an extremely rare half-male, half-female creature known as a gynandromorph. The rose-breasted grosbeak exhibited male-characteristic plumage on one half of its body, and female coloration on the other.

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Snake Named After Knife Slices Into Victims to Feed on Their Innards

Small-banded kukri snakes, named after the curved Kukri knives used by Nepalese Gurkha soldiers, apparently use their sharp teeth to slice into certain victims and then proceed to eat them from the inside.

Scientists already knew that kukri snakes used their curved teeth to tear into eggs, but a recent study revealed that they sometimes used their knife-shaped fangs to slice the abdomens of poisonous toads, before sticking their heads in side them and feeding on their intestines. According to the research published in the Herpetezoa online journal, the victims are basically eaten alive from the inside, which the authors themselves found to be a macabre feeding strategy.

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Nekobiyaka – The World’s Only Black Cat Cafe

The Japanese castle town of Himeji is home to the only known black cat café in the world, Nekobiyaka, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink in the company of about a dozen black felines.

There are hundreds of cat cafes all over Japan, but only one dedicated exclusively to black cats. Nekobiyaka opened in 2013 and has since become somewhat of a tourist attraction in Himeji. The owner, Ms. Yagi, came up with idea of a black cat café as a way of increasing the felines’ chances of finding a forever home. As in most places around the world, the rate of adoption for black cats in Japan is significantly lower than for all other colors, and many of them end up euthanized. At Nekobiyaka, visitors get to interact with black felines and discover that the stigma and superstition surrounding them is simply ridiculous.

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Chinese Company ‘Hires’ Alpaca to Help Its Human Employees Relax

A Chinese video production startup has been getting a lot of attention on social media because of its adorable office pet – a two year-old llama-alpaca mix.

We’ve written about companies bringing pets into the office to help their human staff unwind, but that usually meant cats and small dogs. Now, a Wuxi-based company has ‘hired’ Tuo Baiwan, a young llama-alpaca mix to strut around the office and just be his adorable self. The furry animal loves attention and treats, and his human colleagues are more than willing to give him both. In return his simple presence help relieve stress and puts a smile on employees’ faces.

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Baudet du Poitou – The Donkey That Grows Dreadlocks

Poitou, or Baudet du Poitou is a French donkey breed known primarily for their large size and their distinctive coat which, if left ungroomed for long periods of time, will form dreadlocks.

Originally bred in the Poitou region of France, Baudet du Poitou was once highly sought after all over the world, because of its size and strength. Before the industrial revolution, Poitou donkeys were raised to be used in breeding large mules known as Poitevin, once “regarded as the finest and strongest in France”, and exported to various countries for the development of other donkey and mule breeds. In the former province of Poitou, donkey breeders would  traditionally leave the animals’ coats ungroomed, causing their long locks to form shaggy lumps known as ‘cadenettes’ or dreadlocks. These would sometimes grow so long that they reached the ground.

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These Moth Caterpillars Build Tiny Log Cabins for Themselves

The caterpillar of the bagworm moth is known as somewhat of a gifted architect, building impressive and durable cocoons out of twigs, leaves, seeds and other organic materials.

As larvae, bagworm moths look for a place to settle down and feed, such as a leaf or the branch of a tree. Once they’ve found a suitable location, they go out looking for building material to reinforce their cocoons with. Materials like twigs, dead leaves, seeds and even dirt are most often used, and depending on the species of bagworm moths, the cocoon can end up looking like a pile of leaves or a carefully planned miniature log cabin.

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Care to Buy a Living, Breathing Wish-Granting Cat for $127,000?

Forget wish-granting goldfish and genies in a bottle, you can now own your very own magical cat and have all your wishes fulfilled for the modest price of 10 million rubles ($127,000).

A Novosibirsk woman recently posted a bizarre ad on Russian classified ad platform Avito, asking people to pay a small fortune for her pet cat, a Scottish Fold named Vincent I, or Vinsik, for short. The woman, known only as Elena, told Russian journalists that she discovered her cat’s wish-granting powers by accident, but has since tested its effectiveness three times, to impressive results. She now wants to share its magic with others, but is asking for a considerable fee as reward for her kindness.

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This Mossy Twig Is Actually a Moth Larva in Disguise

A wildlife photographer recently captured one of nature’s most extraordinary camouflage masters on camera – a moth larva that looks like a mossy twig on a moss-covered tree.

Over they years we’ve featured a bunch of natural camouflage artists on Oddity Central, from the butterfly that looks like a dead leaf, or the moth with a disgusting scene painted on its wings, to the terrifying assassin bug, but the larva captured by wildlife photographer David Weiller in the Madagascar rainforest is definitely up there with the most impressive. Looking like a bulbous patch of moss and lichen with a twig-like body attached to a moss-covered tree, this fascinating creature looks like part of the tree, not a living thing.

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Tiny Assassin Bug Wears the Bodies of Its Victims as Camouflage

The assassin bug is a fascinating insect for many reasons, but the one that really stands out is its gruesome camouflage, which consists of the carcasses of its victims glued to its back.

There are around 7,000 known species of assassin bugs in the world, ranging from 4 to 40 mm in length and sharing the same formidable weapon – a sharp, curved, needle-like structure called a “rostrum”. It’s this rostrum that they use to stab their prey – usually other insects – and inject them with a poisonous saliva that liquifies their innards. When the victim stops moving, the assassin bug will start slurping away at its inside, until only the shell remains. That shell is used by some assassin bug species as camouflage, and some specimens have been observed walking around with a mound of insect carcasses glued to their backs.

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Thailand’s ‘Pesticide Ducks’ Clean Rice Fields of Pests and Stubble

Every year, flocks of thousands of hungry ducks are released into vast rice paddies to clean the fields of unwanted pests and rice stubble left over from last harvest.

Humanity has witnessed unprecedented technological advancements over the last few decades, but in Thailand, the world’s second largest rice exporter, farmers still use a centuries old solution to keep their rice paddies in optimal condition. Every year, they rely on duck farmers to unleash thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of young, hungry ducks onto their fields, to clean them of pests like cherry snails and apple snails, as well as weeds and leftover rice stubble. Apart from acting as a natural pesticide, the ducks also fertilize the fields with their droppings.

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Man Leaves Window Open for Five Months, Finds Apartment Invaded by Pigeons

A UK student who left his apartment window open before going away for five months found his home covered in bird droppings after it was taken over by pigeons.

20-year-old Oluwageorge Johnson had to leave his rented apartment in Nottingham in a hurry back in March, after his parents turned up to take him home, because of Covid-19. He forgot a window open, and after seeing no activity for several days, pigeons decided to make the apartment their home. No one disturbed the birds for over five months, until a few days ago when accommodation workers heard some strange sounds coming from the flat and went in to investigate. They found the whole place covered in bird droppings, eggs in the kitchen sink and pigeon feathers everywhere.

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World’s Most Expensive Sheep Just Sold for Half a Million Dollars

A Texel lamb named Double Diamond and described by many as “genetically perfect” recently became the world’s most expensive sheep, commanding a price of 350,000 guineas ($490,000) at a Scottish auction.

Texel sheep, originating from the tiny island of Texel, just off the coast of the Netherlands, routinely command five-figure prices at auctions, thanks to their lean meat and wool used for hosiery yarns, but a particularly special specimen just made other Texels look cheap. Double Diamond, am outstanding lamb featuring the best genetics, had sheep breeders in the whole of the UK up in arms trying to somehow get their hands on him. Even before the Scottish National Texel sale in Lanark had started, some breeders had already partnered up to bid a higher price for Double Diamond.

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Orchid Bees – The Living Jewels and Expert Perfumiers of the Insect World

The Euglossines, aka Orchid Bees are often described as the world’s most flamboyant bee tribe, and looking at their brilliant metallic coloration, it’s easy to see why.

Orchid bees are probably the closest thing to real living jewel. Sporting bright metallic colors – with green, blue and gold being the most common – and very few hairs compared to other families of bees, these pollinators really stand out as some of the most visually striking insects on Earth. But it’s not just their bright, shiny exterior that sets them apart from other bees. Euglossines don’t make honey, they don’t build hives, most species of the tribe are solitary, and perhaps most fascinating of all, males collect and mix fragrances which they then use to impress females.

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