Dwarf and pygmy sperm whales unleash a different kind of smokescreen from their anus in order to hide from their enemies
If you can’t run then perhaps you can hide. A number of animals have devised ingenious ways of making sure they can’t be seen by a predator. One exponent of this simple but effective method is the Texas horned lizard, which builds pressure up in its head before releasing a stream of blood from its eyes, which it aims at the eyes of its attacker. However, the art of hiding isn’t limited to terra firma.
The vampire squid lives deep in the ocean where no natural light occurs. While this may sound like a risky place to be when trying to evade predators, this squid has learnt to use the darkness to its advantage. Should a hunter approach, the squid will turn its ‘cloak’ inside out before lighting its two largest photophores (lightproducing organs). It will then narrow these strips of light, giving the by now confused predator the impression that the squid is rapidly moving off into the distance and is no longer a viable meal, allowing the squid to get away safely.
Fellow ocean dwellers, pygmy and dwarf sperm whales also need to rely on deception when threatened, but they take a slightly messier approach. A sac containing a reddish-brown fluid sits near their anus. When escaping a predator, they release this and swoosh it around with their tail, creating a huge, dense red cloud – perfect cover to escape in. What’s more, they can do this repeatedly, essentially pooping out smoke bomb after smoke bomb to evade a predator.
Below A threatened pygmy sperm whale can release a cloud of thick, syrupy fluid to hide from attackers