Smart defences in the animal kingdom

Illustration of a hairy frog
Illustration: Rama Ramesh

Maybe you know jujutsu or karate to keep away risky characters, but you had to learn it first. Meet the creatures who are lucky enough to have their own inbuilt, uber-cool mechanisms that are as amazing, strange as they might be.

Froggy Horror

Imagine a situation when the only method of defence is to break your own bones and use them as weapons against the enemy? Sounds straight out of a psycho horror movie, doesn’t it? Well, this is pretty much routine for the hairy frog. When the frog detects an attacker close by, it cracks its own toe bones and pushes them through its skin to form claws that are excellent for swiping at the attacker and warding it off. Scientists believe that when the muscles relax, the bones slide back into the toe pad. At least, the frog doesn’t have to break and push them back inside again. Whew!

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Rama Ramesh
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Rama Ramesh

Rama Ramesh is a creative writer who has written stories and features for children’s magazines and has co-authored a series of nanotechnology books for kids.