Science Studies

Antlers and Horns (Let's Look at Animals Discovery Library) by Jason Cooper

By Jason Cooper

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Gulls use this behavior, too. They carry clams and other shelled animals into the air, and then drop them onto rocks and roads. Crows likewise drop snails onto hard surfaces. Song thrushes hold snails in their beaks and bash them against favorite stones, which are known as thrush anvils. A bird called the snail kite is named for its habit of eating almost nothing but apple snails. Its slim, hooked bill fits neatly into the spiral of an apple snail’s shell. The bill’s sharp tip snips a muscle in the snail, releasing the snail from its shell.

Perhaps other animals’ ink also affects their predators in ways yet to be discovered. ” It rolls onto its side, rounds its back, and goes limp. Its tongue lolls from its open mouth. Its eyes close halfway—just enough to let it keep track of its predator. An opossum will keep playing dead even if the predator bites it. It does not revive until the predator goes away and the coast is clear again. Hognose snakes also use other defenses before resorting to playing dead. A frightened hognose snake will first raise its head, spread its neck wide, and hiss.

Some species can also squirt blood from the corners of their eyes. The blood can shoot out up to 3 feet (1 m). The blood tastes bad, so the squirt both surprises and disgusts a predator. The armadillo lizard of southern Africa is also spiky. It makes the most of its spikes by rolling into a ball and grabbing its tail in its mouth when threatened. This turns the lizard into a prickly doughnut. Mammals also make use of spines for protection. Porcupines, for example, fend off predators with spines called quills.

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