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Animals That Use Their Spikes as Tools

Explore why animals have spikes and spines and how they use them!

In the animal kingdom spikes and spines are used as a defense, for attacks, to help with digging and some are even used as straws!

Which Animals Use Spikes and Thorns Like Tools?



Category: Defense


A Fish Becomes a Hedgehog

The pufferfish puffs up when threatened to scare off any attackers. It sucks in water in seconds, and pumps itself up into a balloon with countless spikes that stand on end. With just one look, the attacker knows: “Oh, this fish is too big for me!” It does sometimes happen that the pufferfish is a little slow and only puffs up when it’s already in the mouth of its hungry attacker. The pufferfish might not be swallowed but it can’t get away either. The result: both fish die.

Pufferfish Pufferfish - Photo: Beth Swanson/Shutterstock


Thorny Devil

Category: Deterrent und tool

Scales as Straws

This iguana lives up to its name. Its home are the deserts of Australia, where it feasts on tasty ants. To avoid being eaten itself (by birds), it has protective thorns made from horn all over its body. It almost looks like an alien. No wonder that birds tend to stay away. The spines also have another practical purpose: When dew gathers on the spines in the night, it runs along the spines on the creature’s back directly into its mouth. Cheers!


Thorny Devil Thorny Devil - Photo: Konrad Mostert/Shutterstock


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