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Here Are 10 Terrifying Creatures That Live After Death

One would think, that having one’s head severed from it’s body, that death would be instantaneous. At one time in history, decapitation was one of the preferred methods of execution. Although there are many ‘civilized’ countries that have stopped executing criminals with this method, it’s still performed by certain governments, terrorists and others. In today’s world, terrorists are famous for using decapitation, because of it’s physiological effect on those that witness the act.  There’s nothing more final (or gruesome), than the severing of one’s head.

You may have noticed that, excepting the occasional ‘zombie apocalypse’, we humans tend to function best with our nervous systems intact and our brains, limbs and major organs all connected and happily communicating with each other. Well, we feel it’s our duty to inform you that not all creatures are quite so picky when it comes to their heads being detached from their bodies. In fact, some can still KILL YOU, even AFTER they are decapitated (that’s not quite fair…is is?).

Headless Snakes. When faced with a venomous snake, most people’s natural reaction would fall into one of three categories: fleeing, freezing on the spot or OH GOD OH GOD KILL IT CHOP OFF ITS EVIL POINTY HEAD. While the latter course of action may seem like the surefire way to avoid getting bitten, it turns out that might not be the case. What Makes This Abomination Possible? The snake has heat-sensitive pits at either side of its face, which it uses to detect threats — and let’s face it, if you’re close enough for your body heat to be detected, you’re close enough to be considered a threat.

Cockroaches. Cockroaches are infamous for their tenacity, and are often cited as the most likely survivors of a nuclear war. Some even claim that they can live without their heads. It turns out that these armchair exterminators are right. Headless roaches are capable of living for weeks.

Chickens. If you chop the head off a chicken, it can still run around for a few seconds. The animals can do this because a neural network in the spinal cord is pre-programmed to direct the muscles in various frequently used movement patterns such as running. Despite intense research into how the body, the brain and the nervous system works, scientists still do not have a clear picture of how nerve cells communicate to perform certain movements.

Octopus. Octopus tentacles still react up to an hour after being severed from their dead owner, and even try to pick up food and feed a phantom mouth.

Flatworms. Everyone knows the myth about earthworms: if you cut them in half, you get two worms. Nothing could be further from the truth, alas. However, if the earthworm is replaced by a flatworm, the two parts can survive these childish experiments. What’s more, be it skin, intestine or brain, the body part lost through cutting will simply grow again in a matter of days.

Frogs. Thanks to the “let’s chop out its brain and see what the hell happens” approach to science taken by 19th century neurologist David Ferrier, we can tell you. A headed but brainless frog actually behaves very similarly to a frog with its gray matter perfectly intact: If you turn it upside down, it will right itself; if you pinch its feet, it will hop away; if you put it in water, it will swim to the side and climb out. And perhaps most disturbing of all, it will even croak contentedly if you stroke its back it will  continue to respond to external stimuli for an indefinite period.

Flies. Female fruit flies will live for several days after they have been decapitated. Such beheaded females assume an upright stance comparable to that of a normal fly and can and do engage in complex actions such as preening, flying and, under duress, walking.

Turtles. If you chop the head off a turtle, it can still swim. The turtle frequently uses swimming movements, so it makes sense for it to have a neural network in the spinal cord pre-programmed to perform swimming movements when the nerve cells are stimulated.

Salamanders. Salamanders can regrow entire limbs and regenerate parts of major organs, an ability that relies on their immune systems, research now shows. A study of the axolotl, an aquatic salamander, reveals that immune cells called macrophages are critical in the early stages of regenerating lost limbs. Wiping out these cells permanently prevented regeneration and led to tissue scarring. The findings hint at possible strategies for tissue repair in humans.

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