Animals That Possess Super-Senses And Super-Abilities

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There are many animals that possess senses and abilities that could be considered ‘superpowers’. However, some of the most notable examples include the Silvertip Grizzly Bear, which can smell something from 18 miles away, and the Planaria Flatworm, which can regenerate its body.

We might as well admit it… we all love superheroes. Just watching them use their superpowers and perform unbelievable stunts to kick a villain’s butt gets our adrenaline pumping. For the duration of the movie, it feels like we’re a part of their awesome world.

Marvel and DC Comics have completely revolutionized this industry and boosted the amount of interest in these peculiar “abilities”.

However, do you know what most of these superheroes have in common?

Most of them derive their powers from animals.

Whether we’re talking about the lovable Spiderman or the haughty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they all took some inspiration from the natural world.

Here are some animals that possess senses and abilities that are quite similar to “superpowers”:

1) Silvertip Grizzly Bear

Silvertip Bear

Power: These predators can smell something from 18 miles away!

Calling all explorers out there! These majestic beasts can literally smell your fear. When a silvertip bear enters a clearing, you’ll be in trouble, even if you left that spot 48 hours earlier. All the crying and sweating to escape this monster will do you no good, as you’ll still be leaving a clear trail for it to follow.

Reason: Bears have an incredible sense of smell due to a particular area of their brain that manages their sense of smell (called the olfactory bulb). This area is at least 5 times larger than the same area in human brains, even though a bear’s brain is only one-third the size.

A bear’s sense of smell is 7 times better than a blood hound (which is 100 times better than humans), meaning that a silvertip bear’s sense of smell is 700 times better than a human.

Talk about a nosy beast!

Also Read: 6 Animals That Attack To Defend Themselves From Predators

2) Planaria Flatworm

Planaria Flatworm

Power: Can regenerate their bodies.

We wouldn’t even give these flatworms a second look if we ever came across these ‘insignificant’ beings. However, you shouldn’t dismiss these tiny creatures as ‘ordinary’, because they are remarkably difficult to kill. They wouldn’t even care if you chopped and diced them like onions; they would just grow into separately functioning organisms.

planaria-regenerationReason: Regeneration depends on the activity of stem cells, which are distributed throughout the flatworm’s body, but many important questions about the regeneration process have remained unanswered. Scientists have yet to reach any solid conclusions, so this superpower remains a bit of a mystery…

In other words, this creature is one lab experiment away from becoming a real-life monster!

3) Hammerhead Sharks

Hammerhead Sharks

Power: They can ‘smell’ electricity or electric fields.

As if hammerheads weren’t terrifying enough, with their razor sharp teeth and a size comparable to a small boat, they also come equipped with superpowers.

Hammerhead sharks have an enhanced ability to detect electric fields, and incidentally, also have a better sense of smell and a wider scope of vision than most sharks, include 360 degrees of vertical binocular vision.

These fast-swimming beasts can detect half a billionth of a volt. A fair perspective would be getting zapped on a car handle after driving on a hot day. This happens because your body builds up roughly 8,000 to 10,000 volts of static. That is more than a trillion times the voltage needed for a hammerhead shark to find you at the bottom of the ocean.

hammerhead-sharkekeReason: All sharks have receptors called ampullae of Lorenzini, which are super-sensory organs. Hammerheads simply have more of them, and they are spread out over their giant heads, giving them something similar to electricity-detecting radar on their face.

We should be glad that these mighty creatures don’t live on land, or we might need to re-shuffle a few food chains!

4) Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

Power: Super-strength.

These tiny beetles may not possess Hulk’s bulging chest, but their strength is certainly comparable to that world-famous superhero.

Dung beetles are actually the strongest creatures in the world. They are able to pull 1,140 times their own body weight (I can’t even do a pull-up.)  This is the equivalent of an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people.

Dung Beetle
Credits:Four Oaks/Shutterstock

Reason: Males of the community beef up their strength in order to overpower their sexual competitors, i.e., other dung beetles. Their sole incentive for developing this unbelievable strength is sex.

Marvel should introduce ‘Dung Beetle Man’ as their next superhero (minus the poop-eating habits, obviously).

5) Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp

Power: Super Sight

If the power of vision determined a species’ place in the hierarchy of life, mantis shrimp would rank higher than eagles with night-vision goggles. The stupefying abilities associated with their eyes is almost incomprehensible. They can see the following: the spectrum of light visible to humans, polarized light, infrared and ultraviolet waves. They can even see heat!

Basically, it can see the same spectra of light that requires humans to use thousands of dollars of equipment.


Reason: This shrimp comes equipped with 12 different types of color photoreceptors, whereas humans have only 3.

However, surprisingly, an experiment conducted on these shrimps concluded that humans were still better at discriminating between colors.

After reading about all of these incredible creatures, which animal has the potential to be the best superhero?

Also Read: Are There Any Transparent Animals?

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References (click to expand)
  1. Grizzly bear - Wikipedia. Wikipedia
  2. Planarian - Wikipedia. Wikipedia
  3. Hammerhead shark - Wikipedia. Wikipedia
  4. Dung beetle - Wikipedia. Wikipedia
  5. Mantis shrimp - Wikipedia. Wikipedia
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About the Author

Ishan is a Mechanical Engineer from Mumbai University, India and is obsessed with science, food and all things football. He is a self proclaimed cyclist, runner and a professional procrastinator.