– by Mark MacDonald –
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It’s a bug eat bug world out there and even if you’re at the top of the food chain, you had better watch your back. Nature is filled with some epic match-ups, here’s a look at some of the best.
1. Tiger vs Python
Whether or not it is a common occurrence in the jungle, in the history of the world there has certainly been at least one occasion when a tiger squared up against a giant python. The battle was captured in 1932 by Frank Buck, who had set up a series of cameras near a watering hole in Malaya as part of his jungle documentary entitled Bring ‘Em Back Alive. A 30-foot python battles a Bengal tiger, the result of which can be see at the Youtube link below (I won’t spoil it for you). Buck and other observers believed it was likely that the tiger had fought pythons before, given the way it attacked the snake, leading one to believe it possible the two species duel on occasion.
2. Fox vs Eagle
In the snow-capped mountains of the Scottish Highlands, meals are hard to come by. On account of this, predators must always keep a watchful eye in order to fend off would-be scavengers looking to steal their kill. Such was the case when a hungry fox sought to rob a golden eagle of its dinner. The battle was caught on a hidden camera and uploaded to the BBC Springwatch Facebook page. Large birds such as eagles are known to square off against foxes and coyotes when scavenging, and the fights show you just how frightful both species can be. Watch the footage below:
3. Hornet vs Bee
In the world of insects, there is no mercy. Japanese giant hornets, which can grow to four cm long, are proof of nature’s capacity for utter cruelty. Once the hornet locates a beehive, they release a pheromone that attracts nest-mates, who converge to attack the colony ruthlessly. Each individual hornet can kill up to 40 bees a minute, and a group of 30 can destroy an entire hive (some 30,000 bees) in approximately three hours. The hornets not only massacre the bees ferociously, but also dismember them-feeding the bees’ thoraxes to their larvae while leaving the heads and limbs behind. The bees don’t always go out quietly, however, as they have developed an ingenious way of fighting back. Signaling their strategy to each other by waving their abdomens, the bees swarm a hornet scout, smothering it with their bodies. Hundreds of bees engulf the hornet and vibrate, raising their temperature beyond their victim’s upper limit-roasting it alive. Here’s a link to some great footage of the maneuver:
4. Kangaroo vs Kangaroo
Joeys (young kangaroos) train from a young age to prepare themselves for the duels they will face in adulthood. The animals essential box one-on-one to assert dominance and the battles are so fierce they can cause serious internal injuries. Opponents balance on their thick tails and kick each other (even ‘below the belt’) as well as lock with their forearms and even try to gouge eyes. Most of the time the entire group of kangaroos (incidentally called a mob) watches the fight, an example of which can be seen at the link below:
5. Mongoose vs Cobra
Most creatures wouldn’t want anything to do with a cobra, but not the Indian grey mongoose. Primarily found in southern Asia, the carnivore, for the most part, preys on small animals like rats but is also known to hunt the venomous cobra. An agile, quick hunter, the Indian grey mongoose also has a thick coat and a uniquely mutated acetylcholine receptor, making it resistant (near immune) to snake venom. To see a classic mongoose vs cobra battle, check out some footage from National Geographic:
6. Sperm Whale vs Giant Squid
There is certainly no video footage capturing a sperm whale fighting a giant squid, but the epic battle surely takes place at the dark depths of the ocean on a regular basis. Giant colossal squid have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales, leading scientists to believe the mammals prey on small, juvenile giant squid and possibly encounter adult ones in their hunt. Large scars have also been seen on the skin of sperm whales, further confirming the notion. Though we may never see the epic duel take place, it is likely to be an incredible affair, as the squid wraps is tentacles around the whale in an attempt to prevent itself from being eaten alive.
Whether it’s giant sea creatures fighting in the depths of the ocean or insects warring in the forest, nature is filled with battles of epic proportions. Let’s just say, I’m glad I’m not a honeybee.