Only the strongest brightest and best equipped stand a chance in nature's relentless battle survival demands an edge a skill or talents unmatched and unexpected who are the elite core of the animal world born for action and gifted by nature with super senses follow as we search out the best.
Soldiers in their class shaped by millions of years of evolution to qualify for special forces off the northeast coast of north america lurks an ancient destroyer 400 years in the making a killer who said plenty of time to get it right.
great white shark an elite core out of more than 500 species of sharks the 2300 kilogram great whites is legendary for his ferocity this special forces submariner devotes 70 of his brain to sniffing out his next meal.
his nostrils specialized only for sniffing and not for breathing funnels smells to the largest olfactory organ of any true shark the nostrils located beneath his snouts lead to a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb great whites and elite core can detect.
One drop of blood in 100 liters of water and can sense even tiny amounts of blood from a long way off he already smells dinner on the table even from five kilometers away and that's bad news for one unlucky gray seal.
She escaped some sort of attack already but her bleeding wound has marked her for death as the shark swims he moves his head side to side pushing water into his nose when the odor of blood reaches one nostril before the other he knows that's the direction to head.
These elite warriors have a one-way olfactory organ by inhaling through one opening while exhaling through the other these special forces never lose track of the sense they've locked onto as he nears his targets the great white speeds up to 24 kilometers per hour thanks to his torpedo shape and powerful tail.
He'll usually strike suddenly from below but the injured seal makes an easy meal guided by his nose till the final moment he digs in with a bite like 300 serrated steak knives the waters of the galapagos are a special forces gathering ground the concentration of prey drives the.
Elite corps of sharks into a feeding frenzy an insane feast where it pays to be ferocious and among the most ferocious are the tiger sharks along with the great whites tiger sharks have the biggest olfactory organs of their family these special forces use that sense of.
Smell for hunting and also defense one of the few predators that dares to engage with the tiger shark is killer whales working together this elite core targets a more convenient reef shark but just one sharks can recognize an.
Animal by the smell of its blood and the bleeding shark warns his comrades that it's time to retreat the shark's keen sense of smell honed over millions of years has helped make these fish super predators and assures their elite position at the top of the food chain out of the depths of the ocean and into.
The endless skies an expedition to the outposts of europe reveals one of the animal kingdom's greatest covert surveillance experts part of an elite corps that lives everywhere except the poles who else but the barn owl she can pluck small rodents entirely.
Hidden in the grass thanks to her super sense of hearing along with her ears her whole face is fine tuned for eavesdropping on the woodland the ear openings are on her face just behind the eyes each has a different shape and one sits higher than the other for reconnaissance.
Above and below with such a cute hearing she doesn't even need to see when she hunts like a drone she sweeps the ground maybe three meters high listening for the telltale sounds of her prey until she hears a rodent now it's just.
Quick hover and strike in true special forces fashion she's silent and deficient nailing her targets more often than not she takes the dead prey from behind enemy lines out of sight of any raptors that prey on barn owls her ears tuned to the high frequency.
Squeaks and rustling of rodents and shrews filter out extraneous noise she swallows her prey whole skin bones and all and it's time for another hunt when night falls many animals must stop hunting but not the special forces barn owl an elite soldier guided by her hearing she prefers to hunt in the dark.
Tiny feathers cover the owl's ear openings and flaps of skin between the ear and the eye act as ear lids protecting her from loud noises you might say barn owls see the landscape with their ears sound creates a memory map and even if this elite core gets distracted they can.
Head right back to where they heard their prey her curved face like a radar dish helps channel the sound into the asymmetrical ears her downward facing bill increases the facial surface area for collecting sounds owls can detect a left right time difference of about 0.03 milliseconds more than 10 times faster than the blink.
Of an eye almost instantly she creates a mental image of the space where the sound source is located her fringed wings move silently so she can listen to her surroundings and sneak up on unsuspecting prey she dives like a kamikaze before pulling back at the last second to grab her victim with her sharp talons.
she'll eat about four small mammals each night or more than 1400 per year that's a lot of war medals for this small special forces hunter with an unheard of sense of hearing from the forest of the barn owls we follow the rivers back to the ocean.
Where we're about to see great marine hunters unless they see us first these sharp-eyed carnivores thrive in oceans all over the world very familiar yet very surprising they're tuna one of the largest and fastest bony fish in an elite marine corps some of these special forces can swim.
Almost twice as fast as a great white shark they owe their success mainly to their precise vision in fact they have the sharpest vision of any bowling fish this platoon cooperates to maximize its hunting success keeping an eye out for whatever small fish or sea creatures wander by.
Some species of this elite core have huge eyes that grow to the size of tennis balls allowing them to see clearly even in dark and murky waters they encounter a school of sardines no one's going home hungry today they see past the distracting dazzle of the bait ball and just tear into it these special forces circle around the.
Prey and strike with the precision of a missile the sardines might be more agile but the tuna have better vision the feeding frenzy makes it look as if the water is boiling that's the power of the yellow thin tuna school.
But let's focus on the elite talents of individual soldiers atuna's line of vision is directed forward and upward some species can discern subtle shades of blue exposing their prey against the ocean background their vision is so sharp they can.
Distinguish objects the size of a hens egg from a distance of 30 meters being partially warm-blooded this elite core can live and hunt almost anywhere and can tolerate extreme changes in water temperature from 27 celsius down to 8 celsius some can dive a kilometer and a half deep.
The big-eyed tuna with a light concentrating layer of cells like glowing cat's eyes can see in near total darkness their adaptability and sophisticated eyesight make tuna some of the ocean's most successful hunters while tunas keep their sniper eyes on.
The ocean another elite corps patrols the mainland on the dry african savanna the planet's largest land creatures have found a different way to keep in touch as they travel enormous distances these are the african elephants.
Mobilized these special forces can travel around 12 kilometers a day on their 3 500 kilometer migration and their story is a touching one built like tanks at up to 4 meters tall and seven tons these elite powerhouses rely on their highly developed but gentle sense of touch for gripping.
Things and also to communicate it's almost all about their trunks the swiss army knife of the animal kingdom elephants experience most of their world through this flexible muscular yet sensitive organ the trunk is the elephant equivalent of our nose fused with the upper lip but so.
Much more it contains some of the most sensitive tissue in the animal world with its trunk an elephant performs most of the day's missions from eating to socializing the trunks limberness and dexterity rival our own hands an elephant's trunk contains around 100.
000 muscles divided into six major groups by comparison the entire human body only has 639 muscles sensitive nerves can perceive differences in the width of grooves as thin as a business card.
The matriarch the eldest and most experienced female leads this elite corps to the waterhole where they'll put their trunks to good use on average an elephant drinks more than a bathtubs worth of water a day in one slurp they can suck up about four liters of water in their trunk and pour it into their mouth.
This delicate motion takes practice it might take months for a baby elephant to learn how to operate his trunk but there's always an adult happy to help the cadet this gentle manipulation also increases social bonds among these special forces journey continues the herd has to coordinate its maneuvers and it does.
That not by sound but touch soft pads on the elephant's feet and tissue in the trunk can detect subtle vibrations through the ground the vibrations travel through their skeleton to the inner ear using infrasound too low for us to hear the herd can communicate from as far as.
10 kilometers telling each member of their elite core where to find food or helping locates a member that wandered off but for all its sensitivity that delicate trunk is also a power tool a bowl elephant can lift around 270 kilograms which is useful when the trees are just too tall.
The elephants simply tear them down to access the tasty leaves constantly in touch using one of the strongest and most sensitive appendages in the animal kingdom elephants are the super troopers of the savannah on the other side of the world in.
Similarly dry environments lives an agile and elite core of assassins all 36 species make camp in the deserts semi deserts or prairies of north america and into south america slithering through this habitat is the rattlesnake the very sound of it strikes terror a.
Warning shot before a venomous bite but the death strike is the end of their mission what's truly remarkable is how these special forces track their prey using taste and smell as he serpentines across the desert he constantly flicks his tongue.
It's not just for show he's on a fact-finding mission collecting chemical signatures from the air molecules stick to his tongue which he touches to the jacobson's organ above his palate the organ like a field chemistry lab.
Analyzes the chemical signature the longer the tines of a snake's tongue the more he relies on smell if the scent of prey is stronger on one time than the other he knows which direction to hit rattlesnakes pick up sense molecules in.
The jacobson's organ which transmits an impulse from the tongue to the region of the snake's brain that identifies smells but snakes can also smell conventionally with their nostrils so he has two separate ways of accomplishing his prey finding mission the snake has picked up the sense of a.
Kangaroo rat target locked he will track her wherever she goes waiting for the sun to go down once he bites and injects the venom he lets go so the victim can scratch or bite him it looks like the prey escaped but the.
Venom's doing its slow work and the missions not aborted the rattlesnake remains on his target's scent trail and will collect it when it dies some of this elite rattler corps can track their prey for more than 60 minutes that's what qualifies this slithery.
Tracker for membership in the animal special forces once locked on he'll complete his mission thanks to his flicking tongue and the super senses of tastes and smell leaving the parts dry lands of the american continent we find our next special forces candidates in more green wooded areas.
the forests all over the world are a home to an aerial squadron that flies by night hidden most of the day in their caves the elite core emerges and the body count begins bats.
The smaller species called microbats intercept insects no larger than a grain of rice a hard target without specialized equipment great vision or sense of smell won't cut it on this special force's mission this aerial elite relies on echolocation.
They emit and receive the highest pitched sounds in the animal kingdom these insect eaters deploy their sonar in the ultrasonic range so they can scope out their terrain entirely by sound most members of this elite core produce the sonic pulses in their throats and.
Emit them through their mouth or nose this sound bounces off every obstacle and returns to their sensitive ears by processing all this information the bat is able to create a sonic map of his environment in other words even when it's pitch black their sonar is pitch perfect the.
Hunt is on the frequency of bat pulses usually range between 30 and 80 kilohertz even at its lowest it's 10 000 hertz beyond human hearing these high frequencies are perfect for exposing tiny targets the slightest change in frequency tips off the bat.
To avoid being temporarily deafened by the echoes of their calls the bat's middle ear muscle contracts to separate the free bones and reduce the hearing sensitivity the special force's deadly accuracy assures that no prey is safe not even a spider laying still in her whip.
At its source a bat's echolocation signal can be louder than a jet engine and although we can't hear a thing it's among the loudest sounds in the animal kingdom loudest and if read properly the most precise in china one elite corps of bats has.
Upped the stakes they won't settle for just bugs and spiders as ricketts bigfooted bats emerge from their cave they start to pulse their sonar at a rate of 20 calls per second and can quickly exceed 90 pulses per second.
Like the shriek of a missile the bat battalion sonic sweep increases to a staggering 150 calls per second just before the special forces strikes its target their call can penetrate the water's surface which is the point of their mission she glides over the surface and strikes.
target secured mission accomplished a tasty fish for dinner she can consume up to half of her body weights each night if she fails she'll have to slow her metabolism during the day or risk.
Becoming too weak to hunt that doesn't happen too often in this squadron of highly skilled sonic soldiers from the forests of asia we head to the interior of the world's smallest continent to meet our next elite corps of surveillance specialists.
Here in the fields and forests of australia a secretive land mammal has an electrifying method of pursuing its prey raiding termite cathedrals and ant nests the echidna besides being one of the world's only egg-laying mammals or monotremes the echidna has other special forces to.
Assure its success that conspicuous sensitive snout hides a sticky 17 centimeter long tongue for catching her meal but that's just the start of it besides having a great sense of smell the echidna snout contains receptors that can detect a slight electrical.
Charge emitted by her prey she tucks into the termite mound guided by her sensitive nose to probe for termites and their larva and eggs but she's had enough her electro receptors aren't calibrated for dry soil time to find a better lunch spot.
She heads to the forest the moist soil is a much better conductor and a much better place to conduct business it doesn't hurt that the floor of the forest is teeming with targets the echidna snout is formed by elongated.
Jaw bones and is lined with olfactory nerves scent is so important that almost half her brain sensory region is assigned to processing fragrances picked up through her snouts and tongue every living creature emits slight.
Electrical fields every time a muscle twitches or a nerve cell fires depending on the genus an echidna can have between 400 and 2000 electro receptors in the tip of its snout these receptors alert the hunter that her target is near.
Other groups of receptors in her smelt called merkel cells sense movement alerting her when she makes contact with her meal a kidneys and elite core are the only ground-dwelling vertebrates known to have electroreceptors platypuses and one species of dolphin.
Are the only other mammals with this talent once she locates the nest she digs in before the termites realize the danger ever treats the echidna can gorge herself.
Sooner or later however she'll have to tear into the depths of the nest guided by her electroreceptors for this special forces soldier to get top performance out of her array of high-tech sensors she keeps her snout tip wet with nasal secretions the wet nose increases electrical.
Conductivity and assures her success and since termites try to maintain high humidity in their mouths that only helps the echidna to pursue them like a bunker buster another day another satisfying search and destroy mission for the echidna enter electrifying weapon.
Leaving the australian mainland in search of our next elite corps of specialists we follow them to the pacific ocean and one of the world's most remarkable natural wonders the great barrier reef stretching almost 350 000 square.
Kilometers it's the starting and end point for an epic migration of magnificent mammals that communicate below the range of human hearing the humpback whales biggest school buses these special forces live in pods of two to three or as many as fifteen.
And they have plenty to say to each other while bats ultrasonic screeches are too high for us to hear some songs of the humpback whale are too low produced in the infrasonic range whales produce the loudest continuous sounds of any animal while blue whales.
Can be as loud as a bomb blast humpback whales the second loudest can bellow as loud as a convertible on the highway and they can keep it up almost continuously for one full day their deep calls can travel through the water for hundreds of kilometers all balian whales including humpbacks are known to sing especially during the.
Breeding season adult male humpbacks produce the longest and the most complex songs groaning roaring chirping and sighing for up to 30 minutes and stopping only to take a breath he might repeat his song several times for more than 20 hours each humpback has its own vocal.
Signature and fellow humpbacks can recognize him by his song the whale sends out its subsonic song below the range of human hearing the sound waves meant for communication bounce off obstacles though a whale has tiny ears it picks up the vibrations through its fat-filled jawbone.
The sound gets transmitted to a sea shell-shaped ear bone called ebola where it gets amplified this elite core has made its way to cold waters of antarctica about 5 000 kilometers away it's time to put their communication skills to good use.
Starving after the long trip these special forces coordinate a hunting expedition all the soldiers man their battle stations the operation begins one of them dives emits the sounds and blows bubbles to scare herring up from the depths.
The rest get ready to strike the frantic herring when he herds them near the bubble nets prevents the little fishes from escaping it's an effective technique since an average humpback eats 1300 kilograms of food each day the elite core benefits from their low-key.
Acoustically coordinated attacks it enables one of the biggest animals in the sea to survive by eating some of the smallest ones when selecting an undersea ultrasound expert who's a team player the humpback whale makes a sound choice.
Back to australia where the whale's naval deployment began we delved once again into the forest and set our sights on locating a tiny terror in the forests of australia live an elite core of hunters that perfectly stands out.
Most spiders use vibrations and touch through their silky webs to orient themselves during the hunt but there is an exception jumping spiders rely on vision and these ninjas see things a little differently than we do their mission to close in on a target without being seen then leap and.
Overpower their unsuspecting prey to pull it off these special forces need to gauge the distance precisely with the element of surprise they can even take down spiders bigger than they are it's all about depth and color perception thanks to their wide spaced eyes that see lights across the visible.
Spectrum and also ultraviolet as the moon shines over the jungle a porsche spider plants her attack her stealth is her strategy see but don't be seen targets a jumping green spider.
but her mission's been compromised this spider is also a jumping spider who has the porsche spider inner sights since both species have excellent vision the surprise is ruined the porsche tries to fool the opponent but without success.
Mission aborted she'll have to find a more suitable target in the meantime on the forest floor a battle of the sexes is taking place peacock spiders about the size of apple seeds are trying to find a mate they rely on their elite spider vision this elite core has four eyes in a row two large main eyes in the center and.
Two smaller ones on each side the side eyes sense motion while the main eyes zero in thanks to layers of photoreceptor cells in their main eyes the peacock spider can see a wide range of light the first layer at the surface detects ultraviolet the second detects blue and two deeper layers are sensitive to green.
Light true to their name male peacock spiders are colorful and the species is rare in its ability to see red yellow and orange the officer with the best moves and boldest colors wins the right to mate elsewhere in the forest the porsche.
Spider seems to have found a new target prey that reflects ultraviolet light usually catches her eye she can see a broad spectrum from uv through deep red today she spies the saint andrews cross spider almost twice her size she plans her strategy step one she has to be very precise relying on her sharp eyes to orient.
Herself among the branches step two lock on and wait the cross spider doesn't suspect a thing the porsche has to be sure it stays that way step three assess distance and strike one venomous bite does the trick.
after completing her successful mission the porsche awaits ready for her next target to come at the view in wildlife's battles some warriors come better equipped for the fight than others each of these special forces brings advanced weaponry to the front sharks.
With the ability to smell a drop of blood in 100 liters of water lock onto their targets by constantly circulating water through their ultra-sensitive olfactory organ the barn owl doesn't rely on smell but sound with a face like a satellite dish tuned.
To the frequency of her prey she can fly under the radar thanks to fringed wings tuna the sharpshooters trust only what they see keeping a sharp eye out focusing on the kill zone ahead and above them some can see subtle colors and small targets at 30 meters.
An elephant's secret weapon is its gracefulness with more than 150 times more muscles in their trunks than we have in our entire bodies these enormous tanks are outfitted for assignments that require both subtlety and brute force the rattlesnake is just as graceful though much harder to spot as it.
Constantly samples the air for a scent of its supper its jacobson's organ analyzes molecules on its tongue while its nostrils sniff more conventionally the rattlesnake can taste her at target before she even sees it.
And in the dead of night no one sees bats coming as they ping their prey with ultrasound pulsed sounds that are loud to bats but undetectable to us it leaves their prey no place to hide while jumping spiders look before they leap counting on their eight specialized eyes calculating their distance by their.
Excellent 3d and color vision the echidna primitive in so many other ways manages to detect electricity through hundreds or even thousands of receptors in her snout as a backup other cell's inner snouts detect movement and humpback whales use some of the.
Lowest frequencies in the animal kingdom to coordinate their hunts breeding and vibration they pick up each other's sounds not through their ears but through their jawbone these extraordinary talents bestowed by nature comprise the animal kingdom's elite corps.