15 of the Animal Kingdom’s Greatest Survivors


(images via coda, solutionassoc, and waine)

Physical power, sharp teeth, and speed are characteristics of some of the most fearsome creatures in the animal kingdom.  However, there are other animals who survive because they are physically tough and able to adapt to difficult situations with ease.  There are many unlikely animals that are able to endure or adapt to harsh environments.  Here are some of the greatest of these survivor species. 

Camels: Ultimate Desert Dwellers


(images via angeloux, faceymcface1, and xikita)

Camels are an obvious addition to this list.  The two-humped Bactrian Camel thrives mostly in Asia, while the one-humped Arabian Camel (a.k.a. dromedary) is found in Western Asia and Northern Africa.  Not only can these creatures go without water, they are not affected by wild change in body temperature and can sweat 25% of their water content without becoming dehydrated.

Tardigrades: Microscopic Survivors


(image via Goldstein lab – tardigrades)

These eight-legged microscopic animals can live virtually anywhere, though they are most often found on moss and lichen.  Sometimes called Water Bears, they can survive in boiling water and freezing arctic conditions.  They are also able to withstand 1,000 times more radiation that humans.

Cockroaches, Mosquitoes, and Earthworms


(images via jpockele, tanakawho and pfly)

Cockroaches are difficult to kill with bug sprays, poisons, and even high doses of radiation.  Legend has it that this prehistoric creature will be one of the only survivors in a nuclear apocalypse.

Mosquitoes lack the hard shell and menacing appearance of the roach, but they are prolific breeders and, with their penchant for carrying diseases, are probably the most universally feared creatures on earth.

Earthworms have the rare ability to regenerate.  It is theoretically possible to pull a worm in half and, eventually, have each segment completely regenerate.  Worms are also prolific breeders, which each animal having both male and female sex organs.

Cassowary: Deceptively Deadly Birds


(images via Joshua Davis and takomabibelot)

Though it is smaller than an ostrich or emu, this flightless bird, found in New Guinea and Australia, is more menacing.  Their sharp claws and swift kicks can cause puncture wounds that can be fatal for animals and humans.  These normally shy creatures have also been known to run after victims and attack even after the victim is no longer a threat to the bird.

Crows and Sparrows: Urban Survivors


(images via wolfpix and Tambako the Jaguar)

Everyone is familiar with the carrion crow.  This large bird thrives in the human realm, not allowing oncoming cars to interrupt its meal of roadkill until the last possible second.

Urban sparrows are also able to thrive in the vicinity of humans.  They have developed the ability to sniff out an easy meal at an outdoor cafe or in a parking lot and can survive harsh winters.

Siamese Fighting Fish, Lungfish, and Remoras


(images via richard ling, Paul Matthews in Korea and tanakawho)

Remoras thrive off of the seas’ most feared creatures, sharks.  These sucker fish attach on to sharks and other large creatures for transportation and also for protection.

Not only are Siamese Fighting Fish able to survive in small bowls and rip other tank-mates to shreds, these fish are able to survive in shallow puddles and ponds in the wild because of their ability to breath air because of an organ called a labyrinth.

Lungfish are so named because of their un-fish-like organ.  These fish, found mostly in Africa, use their lungs when they burrow into mud and survive during the dry season without water.

Coyotes: Able City Dwellers


(image via ru_24_real)

Unlike their larger cousins, wolves, these canines have shown the ability to survive on the fringes of cities.  They have been sighted frequently in suburban areas and even in urban neighborhoods.

Hyenas: Menacing Omnivores


(image via Arno & Louise)

These omnivorous animals are tough enough to steal a lion’s meal and even challenge a human.  The spotted subspecies is a skilled hunter, while other varieties eat whatever is available, usually already-dead animals.

Camel Spider: World-Class Sprinter


(images via Dolor Ipsum and Arno & Louise)

This spider is actually a close relative of the scorpion.  It thrives in arid regions and is impressively fast, able to raise its body and sprint at speeds of 16 km per hour, outrunning most predators easily.

Black Mamba: Fast, Big and Deadly


(images via Fen Oswin and Turkinator)

This deadly snake is common in Southern Africa.  It is one of the world’s fastest snakes, despite also being one of the world’s largest snakes, averaging 8 feet in lenght.  Add to the speed and size the mamba’s venom, which is strong enough to kill 50% of the humans that it bites.