Are you a survivor; capable of coping with crashes, cataclysms, and catastrophes? Even the hardest humans are wimps compared to the toughest creatures on the planet. We’re counting down the ultimate survivors in the natural world to find the animal with the most extraordinary endurance.

shark

The countdown kicks off in a hurricane, unleashing the energy of 10,000 nuclear bombs, wreaking havoc on land and sea. The storm surge sweeps fish onto shore – leaving them stranded. But sharks are survivors. They avoid bad weather, tipped off by their super-sensitive ears, bolting from theirshallow nurseries to the safety of deeper waters.

 

Camel

 

Other animals endure storms of sand. Camels survive in the desert for eight days without water.

 

 

tiger-salamander

 

Tiger salamanders have a truly extreme solution: they survive droughts by eating each other. As their ponds shrink – the cannibals grow fast – transforming into air-breathing adults.

 

 

amazon-ant-survivor

 

Other animals have too much water. When the underground homes of ants in the Amazon are flooded by 30 feet of water, the insects survive by building an ark – out of their own bodies.

 

 

rats

 

Rats can swim over a mile, and tread water for three days. Even more impressive is their ability to survive nuclear holocaust. Rats on Eniwetok atoll survived a nuclear blast eight hundred times larger than the explosion in Hiroshima.

 

polar-bears

 

Cold is also a killer. Female polar bears avoid the worst of the Arctic winter by sleeping in a snow cave, barely waking to give birth.

 

 

wood-frog

 

The wood frog also heads underground, but when the burrow freezes – so does the frog. Seventy percent of its body is ice, yet when spring returns, the ice melt, and the frog comes back from the dead.

 

 

headless-chickens

 

One animal even survives decapitation. Mike the Headless Chicken became famous as the world’s toughest rooster, surviving 18 months without a head!

 

 

Tune in to Ultimate Animal Countdown: Survivor Friday at 10P on Nat Geo WILD.