Because sometimes natural science is stranger than fiction.
From wildly dancing spiders and disappearing lakes to immortal animals and giant mushrooms, here are some of Mother Nature's more impressive feats of strange and enthralling brilliance.
1. Pink animals that wow and woo
Included in this rose gallery is the most charming salamander in all of salamander world, Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) pictured above, also known as the Mexican walking fish – he secretly served as muse to the whole story.
Included in this collection of all things HUGE, we've got a 30-foot long squid, replete with killer beak, sucker-dressed tentacles, and arms armed with razor claws. (But not to worry, these gentle giants are really just "sluggish, gelatinous drifters" at heart.) We've also got the world's heaviest bird, the tallest land mammal and the largest organism of all ... a beautiful "beast" that spreads out for almost four square miles.
From a shrew-eating flower to a perennial that demurs upon touch, these extraordinary members of the kingdom Plantae are some of the most unique in the world. The list starts with the lithops pictured here; smart little succulents that mimic stones to avoid becoming lunch for herbivores.