Jun 27

Being a part of the human species, we are all used to being movers, shakers, dancers, runners, jumpers – the list of our talents is endless! But to be honest, some of our counterparts in the animal kingdom are much greater risk takers and adrenalin junkies. I have jumped between countries, dived between eco-regions and leapt between species, to put together ARKive’s top ten action shots. 


American black bear photo

Looks like this particular American black bear finally found that fish it had been playing hide-and-seek with all morning! Despite the black bear’s typically slow-moving, lumbering gait, it can move at great speed when necessary, and is capable of climbing trees and even swimming.


Photo of a male panther chameleon catching insect prey


Male panther chameleons are the fashionable sex of the species, boasting bright colors such as vivid pink or turquoise and often including a hugely variable patterning of coloured bands, stripes and spots all in an attempt to attract females. Their ability to capture prey can also be considered flamboyant! The incredible muscles in their tongue, along with its sticky mucous and vacuum-like tip, snatch prey quickly and effectively.


Common tree frog photo

Its name might have the word “common” in it, but this common tree frog is anything but. From its bright, lime green skin to its incredible ability to snatch prey, any princess would be lucky to smooch it.


Philippine flying lemur photo

The Philippine flying lemur is a rather obscure species because it actually cannot fly and it is not technically a lemur either. It has a gliding membrane that stretches from the side of its neck to its fingers and toes, and then down to its tail. This kite-shaped animal can glide through a forest for about 100m. Don’t worry for its safety though; this small mammal has super vision for accurate landings!


Photo of a juvenile cheetah hunting springbok

Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals on Earth. They use their non-retractable claws to better grip the ground as they move. But rather than show you yet another photo of a cheetah sprinting, here is one illustrating their ability to use their speed to precisely pounce on their prey.


Photo of a kingfisher exiting water with fish

Despite its vivacious and iridescent plumage, the kingfisher is incredibly shy and rarely seen. It mainly feeds on fish and invertebrates, which it catches by perching on a convenient branch or other structure overhanging the water, and plunging into the water when suitable prey comes within striking distance. Their unique beaks were used as a model in train engineering, an excellent example of biomimcry (the examination of nature for inspiration in order to solve human problems).


Photo of a Japanese crane playing with snow

The Japanese crane is the second rarest crane species in the world. They are highly regarded as sacred symbols of fidelity, good luck, love and long life in Asian countries. Their wingspan can stretch to almost 150cm (5 ft)! During winters, when not using their “walk and peck” technique for foraging, they’re seen having frequent snowball fights!


Photo of common terns diving for fish

Common terns are very protective of their food, which consists mostly of fish. You would not want to be a part of a school of fish when they’re around! Dense food sources attract flocks of over 1,000 individuals. Male terns also have an appetite for love – they are known to continually supply their chosen female with fish before mating.


Photo of a Mozambique spitting cobra spitting venom

The Mozambique spitting cobra is one snake you do not want to anger. As a defense mechanism, this cobra spits venom onto its attacker. This species is primarily found in countries, like Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, in grassland and moist savannah habitat.


Photo of an immature saltwater crocodile swimming underwater, exhaling

Full-grown, saltwater crocodiles can reach up to 7m (23ft) long, making it the largest of all crocodilian species and the largest reptile in the world. This crocodile is a magnificent swimmer and like other crocodiles, has its eyes, ears, and nose located on the top of its head, allowing it to be almost completely submerged while in water. In addition, there is a valve in the back of its throat that enables it to open its mouth underwater without water entering the throat. This obviously does not impede its ability to blow air out of its nose!

Do you know of any other ARKive action heroes or have a favorite action shot within the ARKive collection? Let us know if you do!

Shelley Alingas, Program Assistant, Wildscreen USA

  • Moises (June 27th, 2011 at 3:55 pm):

    cool Photos.