Brought to you by the Smithsonian Channel's Speed Kills
Whether in dark lagoons or piping hot sand dunes, death in the wild happens at lightning-fast speeds. The epic displays of athleticism used by the creatures of Smithsonian Channel's Speed Kills unfold in the blink of an eye and reveal the animal kingdom’s razor-thin line between life and… becoming dinner. Below, five astonishingly sudden GIFs of how these animals, even the most unlikely of predators, use speed to their deadly advantage.
Not so fast, bird. Caracals, the largest of Africa’s small cats, are agile speed demons with robust hind legs propelling them over six feet in the air. They use muscular shoulder joints to deliver powerful blows from their forepaws, like so.
Mongooses and cobras are mortal enemies. The mongoose uses its speed to evade its foe, hopefully exhausting it. But the cobra is armed with venom potent enough to kill a human in 30 minutes—and if it lands a strike like this, the fight is pretty much over.
If you’re a careless crab, being swallowed whole by an eel is one of the more terrifying consequences of life underwater. Once the eel has you in its jaws, another set of hidden, alien-like jaws emerges from its throat and drags you in to be digested whole.
Even more alien is the cuttlefish, a color-changing cephalopod with three hearts and a giant donut-shaped brain. Using intricate camouflage, it stealthily shoots out a tentacle to capture an unsuspecting fish.
Amphibian on amphibian crime! This meager toad gets ambushed by four pounds of muscular African bullfrog, a predator whose piston-like legs make up 60% of its body length and can launch it three yards in the air.
To catch a whole host of unbelievably fast predators in action, watch the season premiere of Speed Kills online here or Wednesday, August 20 at 8PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.