The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.
An alligator gar’s favorite foodcatching trick is to float on the surface, pretending to be a log. When prey swims close, the gar lunges with lightning speed.
An alligator gar’s top jaw is spiked with two rows of daggersharp teeth. When this toothy trap snaps shut, there’s little hope of escape for whatever is inside.
Wood ducks have large wings in relation to their body size. This allows a wood duck to rocket straight up off the water at the drop of a feather.
Gar use gills to breathe, but they also gulp air at the surface. This helps gar live — and hunt — in water that’s too low in oxygen for other fish.
Not only is a wood duck’s eyesight much sharper than a human’s, but the duck can also see above, below, forward, and backward at the same time.
Adult wood ducks are usually too sharp-sighted and quick to get gobbled by gar. But occasionally, a gar manages to sneak into striking range. When that happens, the duck’s goose is cooked.
Nichole LeClair Terrill