From using deceptive looks to attain what they want, to gaining a headway from uncontrolled circumstances, these cunning animal cheaters might make you think that cheaters at times do win.
Most of us know what a fox is. Foxes are medium-sized animals that are smaller than a domestic dog. They have long, narrow snout, erect ears and a bushy tail. Foxes regular diet includes; rabbits, rodents, fish, birds, amphibians fruits and berries. But did you know that these animals have a great passion for birds' eggs! However, some birds like the Rhea are bigger than them, so foxes designed a cunning way to snatch the eggs. They wait patiently until mother Rhea leaves her eggs and then quickly steal them. But because Rhea’s eggs are bigger and foxes can’t grab it in their mouth, they use their snout to roll the eggs and knock them against hard objects hoping the eggs will break down eventually. Isn’t that a cunning move?
Rats are such cunning cheaters when it comes to food. In the United Kingdom, rats are considered food menace and villains. Rats are cunning cheaters, using every advantage they have in their possession to gain the upper hand. With a population of around 70 millions, rats eat their way through more than 200 tons of waste food each year. Add to this, rats are hard to kill, for they are extremely fast, clocking with a 60 miles/hour top speed.
“Liar” that is the real meaning of the word “Chameleon” in some languages and true enough Chameleons are great liars and cunning cheaters. Their main features include the eyes, tongue and skin. So remarkable are chameleon’s eyes that it is able to observe separate two different objects at the same time. Isn’t it incredible, but before you say Ah! Let us examine a chameleon’s tongue. It has a tongue that is larger the size of its body and can extend faster than the human eye can follow. Also, a chameleon‘s tongue has a muscular and sticky tip it uses to catch prey.
Another cheating act a chameleon is good at is its ability to hide its presence from probable prey or enemy by changing its skin color. These colors may include red, pink, orange, blue, green, yellow, black and brown. Some varieties of chameleon use, their color-changing ability to blend in with their surroundings, as an effective form of camouflage. Also, change in color depends on the animal’s health status, presence of mate, dangers from enemies, temperature change and other environmental factors.
A caterpillar can be treated as a cunning trickster, employing all the skills he got just to ensure his survival. Some caterpillars are good at mimicking their surroundings, including leaves and branches just to blend in. There are those who can mimic other things, like bird droppings! Other caterpillars are poisonous to predators. They are tricky bandit; stealing poisons and getting their toxicity from the plants they eat. Generally, the brightly colored larva are poisonous; thus warning their predators not to harm them or else take the risk of being poisoned. And did you know that a caterpillar native to Hawaii owns the record as the only flesh-eating caterpillars in the world.
Alligator Snapping Turtle
The Alligator Snapping Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world. You can easily recognize it from other turtle by its large head, beak-like jaws, and a spiked shell and thick, scaled tail. Alligator snappers spend most of their lives in the rivers, canals, and lakes. So strong are its jaws, that a single bite can take your finger off. However, the cheat is its unique hunting skill to lure its bait.
The interior of the alligator snapper’s mouth is camouflaged, and the tip of its tongue sports a worm-shaped flesh. This worm-like appendage mimics the movements of a real worm that serve as bait to lure a prospective meal. The turtle, then opens its mouth and wait motionless, and if a suspicious fish moves in for a closer look, the turtle’s awesome speed and its mouth brute strength completes the ambush. it’s a simple ‘now you see-now you don’t’ case of cheating.
When we speak of fireflies, what come to our mind is a romantic moment with a bright evening sky setting. However, with more than 2,000 firefly species, there’s a big possibility that some individuals may have some sinister intentions. Generally, these fireflies or lightning bugs emit light to lure mates. However, the female Photuris fireflies are known to be good cheaters! They mimic the luminescent signals of other “lightning bugs” to attract them as possible meals, as well. Aren’t they sly cheaters?
Having a Hindu monkey god for a namesake could be the best ticket to fame! Thus, the Hanuman monkey took this privilege to the limits. Since, Indian holy men usually travel bringing along with them Hanuman monkey, this highly respected monkey has been blessed with an “Eat all you can” card. Many people leave them unmolested and even allow them free access to anything in their hands could grab–foods, drinks, toys, hankies and other small objects. However, this has made the Hanuman monkey fearless and a total cheat for it steals with impunity! Guess it is not fame he gets but shame.
The Virginia Opossum is about the size of a house cat. It is typically 38–51 cm long and weigh between 4–6 kg. Its ears are thin and hairless, short legs, clawless big toes and a grayish brown fur. The Virginia opossum has adapted different cunning ways it uses to survive. Among these behaviors are: running, belching, urinating, growling, belching, and even defecating.
But one intriguing behavior Virginia opossum exhibits to cheat death is by attempting to fake death. This is where the term “playing possum” originated, meaning an attempt to pretend to be dead or injured with intent to deceive. This marsupial will roll over, become stiff, and produced a slow and shallow breathing. It will remain in this state for several hours or until its predator walks away thinking that he really is dead. What a cunning way to cheat death.
According to several researches, experts agreed that orangutans are the world’s most intelligent animal other than humans. They are more intelligent than chimpanzees when it comes to higher learning and problem solving ability. And like humans, orangutans have learned the skill to craft tools out of the objects they found.
For example, they have found a way to keep dry during rainy days by making umbrellas out of leaves, also, they have used the leaves as cups for drinking water. However, orangutans use their craftiness to cheat on humans– often using their tools to pick the locks of their own cages. Zookeepers in return, use orangutans to test other zoo animals cages security stability.
Topping our list of cunning animal cheaters is the female cuckoo bird. Though most cuckoo species are monogamous, the Anis and the Guira Cuckoo are exceptions. And unlike non-parasitic cuckoos that lay white eggs; these two species are parasitic cuckoos; laying colored eggs which they put in communal nests.
In accomplishing this feat, femaleAnis and the Guira Cuckoos raid other birds nests and snatch the eggs. Then they will leave their eggs behind as a replacement for the stolen eggs. That is cheating #1, soon as the eggs are hatched, the young cuckoo must learn to adapt to its new environment along with the other chicks to ensure its survival. There goes cheat #2 and what a classic “Mother and Child” tandem.