Alex Rose/UnSplash

This article is an excuse for me to talk about how terrifying Argentina is.


See, I have a well-deserved healthy respect for orcas. I am fully aware that I am out here walking around like a chicken tender and that an orca could, and would, likely just casually chomp me down.

More than that, we know orcas can, and do, communicate in highly sophisticated ways: often about food sources and hunting techniques.

Imagine being eaten by an orca and then it goes and gives you a 2 star review on Orca-Yelp like "Eh, it was a little screamy on the way down..."


I can't. If I'm going to get eaten, I'd rather it not be by something capable of criticizing me afterwards. It's a nightmare scenario.

As such, I have decided the entire country of Argentina is a hellscape for me.

Reddit user eeca20 asked:

"What is the wildest animal fact you know?"

Which leads us to the fun-fact I learned while sick-watching a nature documentary a few years ago.

The orcas in Argentina have taught themselves how to hunt on land.

But first let's talk about some other stuff...

Deadly Whale Songs

Sperm Whale Diving GIF by Oceana Giphy

"The sperm whale is the loudest animal on Earth and could potentially kill you with just the noises it makes."

"They've been recorded over 200db, which is comparable to a space rocket launch in close proximity. There's conflicting evidence but some scientists think they can use noise to stun or even kill giant squid."

"They can also expel about 90% of the air from their lungs before they dive and store extra oxygen in their blood, so they don't get decompression sickness from their deep dives. This also helps to make them less buoyant."

"They can dive up to 10,000 feet deep for over an hour."

"It's also the largest toothed predator to have ever lived and have the largest brains on the planet."

- SPYK3O

Lumos

Looking Coral Reef GIF by Monterey Bay Aquarium Giphy

"Humans have 3 colour receptors and can see roughly 20 million colours. Mantis shrimps have 27 colour receptors."

"Let that sink in."

"A mantis shrimp's eye has 3 bands - one for seeing visible light, one for infrared and one for ultraviolet. The reason they have so many colour receptors is so they can actually process all of the information given to them by each band, and not just have a sensory overload."

"Also, Mantis shrimps can punch faster than the speed of sound, so they can effectively cause sparks underwater."

- DapCuber

"They punch so fast (the same acceleration as a .22 bullet) that a bubble of vacuum is created."

"The cavitation then violently collapses causing temperatures equal to the surface of the sun. So they're actually punching the water so hard and fast that they're causing light to be created from that punch... sonoluminescence."

- LookMaNoPride

The Ravens

David Attenborough Life GIF Giphy

"I know wolves and ravens have a mutual relationship."

"Ravens will search for prey from above and make a specific call to alert the pack. The wolves make the kill and leave a bit behind so the ravens can get their fill."

- Im_not_da_guy

"I watched a raven beat the crap out of a falcon last summer."

"It was shocking how much more agile and capable it was in the air. The raven was easily flying circles around the falcon."

- user9347556765455678

Blue

Blue Eyes Hbo GIF by Game of Thrones Giphy

"Most blue in nature is not through pigments."

"It's something called 'structural color' where complex microscopic structures literally trap other wavelengths of visible light. Most blue pigment is actually a diluted purple."

"I believe only one butterfly and a type of fish have actual blue pigment. Everything else is structural."

"Even humans with blue eyes don't have blue pigment, they have structural color."

- InfamousFault7

The Strongest Bear

Water Bear Snow GIF by PBS Digital Studios Giphy

"Tardigrades - also called water bears - can be boiled, frozen, subjected to immense pressure, the vacuum of space, or dried out for a decade… and live!"

- FlobbleChops

"They also used them to test the survival of a living organism surviving interplanetary travel of space debris. Water bears survived impact speeds up to 825 meters per second (1845 mph)."

- brandonfla

Snake Sillies

Jungle Book Snake GIF Giphy

"Many survivors of black mamba bites have reported feeling euphoric as the (neurotoxic) venom began to take effect."

"Such reports lead scientists to isolate the responsible compounds from the venom, which are currently being investigated for use as non-opioid painkillers."

"The inland taipan is the world's most potently-venomous snake, which means it takes a lesser amount of inland taipan venom to kill a person than any other snake venom."

"Despite this potency, however, there has never been a (reported, much less confirmed) human death by inland taipan bite. This is largely because these snakes live towards the center of the Australian continent, where there is basically zero human habitation."

- PaniqueAttaque

"Wait, euphoric as in happy, giddy, and silly? It bites you, then gives you and gives you a case of the sillies so you die with a joygasm?"

"That is both terrifying and rather polite."

- [Reddit]

Argentina's Orcas

discovery channel swimming GIF by Shark Week Giphy

"Orca’s off the coast of Argentina have a hunting tradition where they intentionally beach themselves in order too snag sealions from the shore."

"Yeah, orcas hunt on land now, too."

- darell255

"Jesus imagine finding a stranded orca, thinking it’s dead, coming close to it and it bites your f*cking head off that’s terrifying."

- a-fat-penguin

A Fish Out Of Water

David Bowie Yes GIF Giphy

"Betta Fish are anabantoids, meaning they breathe some air like humans with a special organ called a labyrinth organ."

"I have one as a pet and I can’t fill the tank to the top so he can breathe at the top. Every few minutes or so he comes up for a quick gulp of air, then goes back to whatever he is doing."

"Because of this, if a betta jumps out of water, (they are also great jumpers, can sometimes jump more than 3 inches, evolved like that because in natural environment so jump from water to water) they can survive, in the right conditions!"

"A betta can survive 6 hours out of water if they are in a humid environment to maintain moisture, and can breathe in oxygen with their labyrinth organ."

- Fish_make_me_happy

The Lion King

nat geo hyena GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"Hyenas have a startlingly complex Matriarchal social structure and they are one of the most well adapted animals to their environment."

"As most will know, they eat bone with their immensely strong teeth and jaws, but this serves a very important function. Their droppings are white, and very rich in Potassium and Calcium, so helps to nourish the plains so that other wildlife can thrive, making them critical to their Biosphere."

"Also their forelegs are longer than their back legs, giving them the advantage of being able to see further across the plains compared to a similar sized animal with more proportional legs."

"The Lion King has a lot to answer for the reputation of Hyenas as duplicitous and base creatures!"

- No-Cryptographer-192

Male Mosquito

Mosquito GIF by Discovery Giphy

"Most people have never seen a male mosquito and wouldn't recognize one if they did."

"Why? They don't drink blood (flower nectar only for those "bad boys") so you won't have them land on you, they are typically quite a bit smaller than the female, and they have weird branched antennae that kind of look like tiny deer antlers."

"How do I know? Well, I took a medical entomology class with a lab and then spent almost a year doing lab research on mosquitoes where the first step in my experiments was to raise them and the day the emerged from larvae separate the boys from the girls... since I was only conducting my experiments on females."

- RetiredEpi

So before we wrap this up, I want to go back to this whole orcas-hunting-on-land thing. I don't think Reddit really went into how absolutely terrifying this is.

The mental image of one lone orca laying around on land chomping on sea lions is bad enough, but what Reddit didn't talk about is how the orca gets back into the water.

Orcas can't walk on their front flippers like sea lions can. They can't really belly-scoot like seals, either.

They have to get back into the water through the power of team work. That is not heart-warming, stop "aww-ing" and start "AAAAAHHHH!-ing" in existential horror.

The rest of the pod lines up along the beach and, in unison, use their tails to create a wave big enough to wash the beached orca back into the water.

They have to coordinate that. They have to talk that out.

They have to decide whose turn it is to take the risk of going on land, then appoint someone to be spotter for that guy and look/listen for signs of distress or the signal that land-orca is ready to come back into the water.

They have to work out and agree on what those signs and signals will be.


Argentinian orcas have already done all of that - and done it so well that they are now teaching it to their orca children, grandorcas, etc. They get together for educational sessions and will often capture, release, and re-capture the same poor traumatized sea lion over and over for training purposes.

This level of management, communication, and coordination this proves they're using is horrifying - particularly when you consider that humans are probably far easier to catch than sea lions.

They basically have HR, trade school, and on-the-job training, fam! How does anyone in Argentina even dare to GLANCE at the ocean knowing what their orcas are capable of?

I'm out, Argentina. Y'all can keep your terminator orcas.

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