18 Animals With the Strangest Hunting Strategies

Animal species adapt to their environments, evolving unique hunting methods to catch their prey. Whether it’s electric shocks, mimicking prey calls, or specialized limbs, these 18 animal species have unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in their environments. 

Humpback Whale

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Humpback whales hunt for krill and small fish by blowing bubbles in giant circles around them, herding them into tightly grouped schools to swallow them whole. It’s not an instinctive strategy; some groups of humpback whales don’t know how to bubble-net feed, but younger individuals will learn from mature whales. 


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The tiny archerfish is often called the “anti-aircraft gunner” fish for its ability to shoot jets of water at insects. NBC News explains that the fish “have evolved such unerring eyesight and precise control that they can shoot down the flying insects they feed on by spitting out a jet of water from a distance of several feet” before eating them in the water.

Antlion Larvae

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These predatory larvae have funnel-shaped sand pits and bury themselves inside so only their jaws stick out. Small insects that walk over the edge of the sandy pit slip to the bottom and are seized by the antlion’s jaws. 

Portia Spider

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These jumping spiders are recognized for their intelligence. When hunting for other spiders, they will improvise trial-and-error approaches, remember the new approach if it is successful, and plan ahead. 


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These deep-sea fish have a terrifying appearance, with oversized jaws and needle-like teeth. Female dragonfish are much larger than males and will use a bio-luminous barbell hanging off their chin to attract prey in more shallow waters.

Fishing Cat

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This medium-sized cat species is native to Southeast Asia and is well-known for “fishing” at the edge of bodies of water. Its compact, dense layer of fur prevents water from reaching its skin, keeping it warm in the water and allowing it to live a semiaquatic life. 

Pistol Shrimp

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The alpheidae, or pistol shrimp, have a remarkable hunting strategy. HowStuffWorks explains that the shrimp draw water into their large snapper claw and close it with impressive force, creating a bubble “louder than a speeding bullet” and generating “heat that reaches 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit (4,427 degrees Celsius), four times hotter than lava.”


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Margays, small wild cats native to evergreen and deciduous forests in Central and South America, will mimic the calls of prey like pied tamarin to lure them closer before pouncing on them. They spend most of their time in trees, hunting birds and monkeys. 

Bolas Spider

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Bolas spiders are often compared to cowboys for their hunting techniques, but they also attract male moths by releasing an odor that mimics female moths. Britannica explains that these spiders hunt by releasing “a single thread with a sticky droplet at the end and holding it with one leg” before swinging or throwing it at approaching moths. 

Cone Snail

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These highly venomous sea snails have intricately patterned, colorful shells but can be dangerous to humans. Cone snails use a barbed tooth, like a harpoon, to inject their prey with a toxic venom that paralyzes them, which can be fatal. 

Ogre Spider

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Ogre spiders have unusually large eyes adapted for hunting at night and long, thin legs that give them a menacing appearance. At night, they hang suspended from a web, waiting for an insect before pouncing and snaring the prey in a sticky web held in their legs. 

Electric Eel

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When hunting or warding off prey, these fish can release up to 860 volts of electricity to stun fish, enough to run a machine. The Natural History Museum notes they “have three special organs that help them create electricity,” which “take up about 80%” of their bodies. 


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This unusual, semiaquatic, egg-laying mammal is endemic to eastern Australia. The platypus is a shy creature that spends most of its life feeding along the bottom of streams, lakes, and rivers. Males have a venomous back ankle spur and use electroreception when digging in the bottom of streams to detect electric currents their prey generates when contracting their muscles, allowing it to distinguish between potential food and inanimate objects. 

Mantis Shrimp

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Most mantis shrimp are “spearers,” while some others are “smashers.” Spearers use their claws, lined with sharp teeth, to impale their prey, while smashers use claw-shaped clubs to hammer their prey. 

Alligator Snapping Turtle

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This dinosaur-looking species is the largest freshwater turtle and can weigh 175 pounds. The National Wildlife Federation explains that the “turtle will lay on the bottom of the riverbed and open his jaws to reveal what looks like a delicious bright red wriggling worm luring” fish to swim into its jaws.

Veiled Chameleon

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While veiled chameleons don’t move very fast, their tongues can extend twice their body length in milliseconds when hunting for prey that can weigh up to half their body weight. Their tongues have a ball of muscle at the end that becomes a suction cup when it hits prey, allowing the chameleon to reel them in and crush them with strong jaws. 


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This Madagascan animal is the world’s largest nocturnal primate, famous for its special thin middle finger. Aye-ayes tap on trees to find grubs before gnawing holes in them with their teeth and then inserting their middle finger to pull them out and eat them. 

Venus Flytrap

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This infamous carnivorous plant is native to the Carolinas and the East Coast. Flytraps catch their prey, mainly insects and spiders, with their “jaw,” a clamping structure, when the insect makes contact with the open leaves. The flytrap then shuts the trap as quickly as a tenth of a second, trapping and slowly digesting its prey.

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