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Zombies are Real

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

by Violet Wisdom


Nature’s Top Three Very Real Zombie Makers


Quite often, some of the greatest fiction has the most non-fiction beginnings.

Could you imagine if there was a parasite that could cause men to embrace such

risky behavior they are three to four times more likely to die in a vehicle crash? Or one that would make a Moose want to run into a pack of hungry wolves? You’ve

all heard the darling stories of animals with symbiotic relationships, like the fish

that by feeding on algae stuck to sea turtles, keeps the sea turtles healthier. This is about the not so adorable side of how nature’s creepy circle of life.


#3 The fish that serves itself up for dinner-

Who needs a fishing pole when this fish rises to the surface of the water in clear

view? The Diplostomum pseudospathaeum begins its life in the guts of birds as

eggs that make their way into water. Once hatched, the larvae then make their

new home inside of freshwater snails. The snails give them a free ride to find the

final leg of their journey, fish. Once inside the fish, this parasite gets into its host’s

eyes, like taking over the steering wheel of a car. From there the fish is driven to

the surface of the water where it swims around advertising itself like a lunch

special.


#2 Your cat isn’t that good at catching mice-

Your cat could just be getting lucky! Number two on our list of nature’s zombie

makes is Toxoplasma gondii. This little bugger that makes its host ten feet tall and

bulletproof has only recently began to be truly researched. Mice instinctively

avoid the smell of cat urine, until infected when they become easy prey. Once a

cat eats an infected mouse, T-gondii reproduces in the cat’s guts and emerges

in…. the litterbox. Because it is microscopic, even the tiniest amount of feces can

carry it to a new host. Surprisingly, that host could be you. According to the CDC,

around 11% of American’s and over 60% of some of the world’s population carry

the parasite. Men are most likely to be affected by becoming risk takers while

women are more likely to be friendlier. There are some studies that have led to a

theory that infected women could also be more likely to have children that will

become schizophrenic in adulthood.


#1 The fungus parasite everyone is talking about-

Sorry, it’s real. BUT, it doesn’t actually affect humans (phew).

A few quick facts;

Ant Zombies aka, Ophiocordyceps is quite plural. There are over two dozen known

species in the world. Many of the Ant Zombie’s fungus also has a parasitic fungus.

Now this is getting confusing. The basics are this, once the ant is infected, its brain

is taken over causing it to do the oddest things. At first it starts behaving

differently, and for an ant, its behavior defines it. The ant stops helping with

collecting food and becomes a bit anti-social. Soon it is a busy body accomplishing

nothing, but constantly on the move. Eventually, the ant will climb to the top of a

plant, like a thick blade of grass and bite on the end so tightly that it will hang

there until the fungus kills it from the inside out. The fungus even grows a tiny

mushroom out of the ant’s head which within a week will become twice the size

of the ant and disperse its spores. Only to continue its eerie cycle all over again.

It bears repeating, nature is smart, determined and sometimes quite tricky. It’s

best to be on her good side no matter what species you are.

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