Human daredevils are addicted to adrenaline: the greater the risk – the bigger the rush. But some animals put their lives on the line every day; not for fun – but survival. On Ultimate Animal Countdown, we’re counting down the top ten animal adrenaline junkies to find out who takes the biggest risks, leaving bodies bent, broken, or dead. But for now, here’s a peek at five of the daredevils:
These aerial acrobats are so at home in the tree tops, most never set foot on the ground. Swinging 200 feet above the forest floor, gibbons can hit over 30 miles per hour – and fly 50 feet in a single leap. They’re so confident; they’ll even torment a tiger – pulling its tail and ears from the safety of the trees!
To survive high-speed crashes, high diving brown pelicans inflate air-sacs under their skin: built in bubble-wrap to absorb the shock.
The Himalayas are home to mountain sheep known as bharal. In the summer, they regularly climb above 14,000 feet. Their front toes are split, splaying wide to grip the rock and act as shock absorbers with rubbery pads on the hooves provide traction.
In the forests of Asia, daredevils fly between trees – without wings! The paradise tree snake has no legs, no arms, no wings, yet it throws itself from the highest trees. It loops its body for take-off and swims through the air on its remarkable belly.
Chinstrap penguins spend the winter at sea. They rest on icebergs if they can scale the frozen cliffs. Their ultimate goal is to be on land, but the only land free of snow and ice at this time of year is an active volcano. It’s a risk.. but one they are all too willing to take.
Check out the volcanic penguins in action to see the tremendous obstacles they overcome:
Which animal will earn the ultimate daredevil title? Tune in to Ultimate Animal Countdown: Daredevils Friday at 9P on Nat Geo WILD to find out!