The 5 most extreme newborns in the animal kingdom

For wild animals, it’s all about survival right from their birth. And some of them have to take extreme measures in order to increase their chances just to see the next day. Following is a transcript of the video.

Human babies are kind of pathetic. We can’t run from predators, feed ourselves, or even lift up our own heads. But not all newborns are totally helpless. After all, it’s a treacherous world out there, and some babies must go to extremes to survive.

Take barnacle geese. They lay their eggs 120 meters up the side of the cliff, away from predators. That’s the same height as a 36-story building. But there’s no food for the chicks to eat up there. So when they’re a few days old, still incapable of flight, they leap off the cliff. Thousands are injured or killed on impact. But the lightest, fluffiest chicks survive by floating down and landing on their soft stomachs.

Baby marine iguanas also have it rough. They don’t have to leap off a cliff, they just have to outrun swarms of hungry snakes. Mothers lay their eggs in underground burrows for protection, but they don’t stick around after laying the eggs. By the time the babies hatch up to four months later, the Galapagos racer snakes have gathered for a feast. So the hatchlings have two options: stay put and starve or make a run for it. The snakes are attracted to movement, so the second the iguanas take off, snakes give chase, and only the quickest survive.

While iguana hatchlings must be fleet of foot, greater guinea pigs are speedy in a different way. Pups can have babies of their own, just one month after birth. That’s like humans giving birth at 11 months old. And unlike other rodents, the pups are born with furry coats, open eyes, and can walk on their first day. They’re pretty much just mini-adults. Disturbing, right?

Just wait till you hear about braconid wasps. Their babies are extreme predators from the moment they hatch. Adults hijack a caterpillar and lay over 100 eggs underneath its skin. Once hatched, the larvae feed on the caterpillar’s internal organs, and once it’s on the brink of death, the larvae chew their way out, spin cocoons, and emerge as fully formed adults. Ready to have deadly babies of their own.

Speaking of which, sand tiger sharks eat their own siblings before they’re even born. You see, mum has many suitors, and they all fertilize her eggs at different times. So the eggs that are fertilised early on develop sooner in the womb before the rest, and once they’re big enough, they eat their less developed siblings. And you thought you had annoying siblings.

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