Article up here.
This is the first Cracked article I've worked on that wasn't my own idea. Austin Black and I worked on this basic pitch until it was accepted, while Monte Richard was doing his own. The editors decided to combine them during the editing process.
So of the original ones I did, I did numbers 1 (humpback whales) and half of 6 (snakes). I did the Predator-vision/heatmap part of the snake entry, which was one of the coolest things ever to research.
Annnnnd here's some of the entries that didn't make the cut:
Glaucus Atlanticus- only 3 cm long, it preys on other, larger organisms
or its own kind. It's immune to the poison in the organisms it eats, but
it STORES it and reuses it later against other creatures.
Flying Snakes- 5 species of snakes can fly. Ranging
from two ft long to four ft long, they launch themselves from tree
branches and then glide. Scientists are unsure if they use this to hunt
or not, but the image of a poisonous, flying snake descending on prey it
pretty fucking intense.
The Net Casting Spider Brings the Net to the Prey- This spider will wait for hours at a time without twitching a single muscle, even in very strong wind.
Rather than living on a permanent web like other spiders, this one will
move from place to place and hold a rectangle of blue web from its
front legs. When prey passes beneath it it quickly drops down, catching
the soon-to-be-food in the net. And we mean quickly.
Plethodont (Lungless) Salamander Has a Piston for a Tongue- Well that doesn't seem too
impressive, right? Did we mention it moves at speeds over 15 mph?
That's actually too fast for a muscle to handle, so the tongue basically
moves via ballistic projection- it pre-loads elastic tissue and then
the built up stored energy is released to let the tongue shoot out.
Which means that not only does it catch its prey with its tongue, but it
probably addles their damn brains when it hits them with that much