When Animals Invade: The Six Species That Are Trying to Take Over the World
Mankind likes to think it's pretty awesome. If you're like me, then you spend at least four hours a week mocking monkeys for their lack of opposable thumbs. Or taunting tigers for not inventing the internet. Occasionally though, animals get the upper hand, like when the monkey takes your car keys, or when the tiger takes your upper hand. Or, as in the examples below, when animals pool their vastly superior numbers and launch a vengeful invasion against the humans.
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6. Christmas Island Crabs
Christmas Island may have a deceptively attractive name, but this small island in the Indian Ocean is hiding a horrible secret: once every year it's invaded by over 150 million crabs.
The crabs set forth from their forest habitat on a migration course to the island's beaches, a migration that takes them across, over, under, and through every home, road, and building on the island.
Once on the beaches, the females lay eggs and the males fertilize them, which hatch and produce billions of tiny baby crabs.
Of course, the island's human population fight back against this crustacean occupation, crunching as many crabs as possibly under their cars, but the government has since introduced measures to combat this, building tunnels under roads and "crab crossings" to make the migration easier for the little orange invaders.
If you want to go see the migration in person, it usually takes place in October or November each year. Just remember to take a crowbar with you, in case one of the crabs jumps on your head and tries to turn you into a zombie.
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You've seen Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, right? Where a town is terrorized by thousands of birds? Well, it turns out that actually happened. Except it wasn't a small town, it was Rome. And it wasn't thousands of birds, it was millions. And it didn't happen once, it happens every single year, when each winter thousands of flocks of starlings descend on Rome and cover every building, vehicle, and stationary person in bird s***.
The starlings come from all over northern Europe to forage for food in the Italian countryside. But at night, they head for the capital city and settle in trees and parks, keeping the humans awake all night with their bird calls and leaving a layer of crap on any nearby cars and sidewalks.
The birds have become so cocky that they now seek complete control over the skies. In 2008, hundreds of suicide starlings flew directly into a Ryanair Boeing 737, forcing it to make an emergency landing.
The problem has gotten so bad that the Italian authorities have drafted in a crack team of specialists who head out into the bird filled streets each night in body suits and face masks and force the avian terrorists out of Rome using megaphones that play starling distress calls.
The strategy works in short term, but every winter the starlings come back, either because they're a ruthless species determined to seize control of the world and enslave the human race, or because it's part of their migration pattern. Probably the former.
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If you live in West Virginia, then right now, under your feet, billions of tiny brown creatures are lying in wait for the year 2012, when, as per the Mayan calendar, they will rise up en masse, crawl out of the soil, and take over the state.
These insects are known as Cicadas, and the ones preparing to take over West Virginia in 2012 are known as Brood I, because scientists decided to give them as ominous a sounding name as possible. There are 13 broods in the eastern United States, each of whom spends 17 years underground, eating tree roots, and checking their tiny calendars. Once the wait is over, they crawl out of the crowd, climb up trees, walls and houses, mature into adults, and then start f***ing like crazy.
The males then promptly die, leaving the females to plant eggs in every nearby tree. Once the eggs hatch, the offspring fall to the ground and tunnel into the soil, were they restart the cycle and wait for another 17 years.
This process had been happening the same way for over a century now, although experts agree that the Cicadas are simply lulling humans into a false sense of security so they can take us by surprise when they finally crawl out of the ground and eat our young (the "experts" consist mainly of me).