Green iguana. (Copyright: gloffs / 123RF Stock Photo)
Did you know that there are some living things that regenerate parts of their body? Humans can't, but some creatures can re-grow their limbs or tails or even their brains! Sometimes, animals even cast off a part of their body on purpose because they feel threatened, and they can re-grow it later — this is called autotomy. Check out some of the animals that have this awesome ability!
Starfish live on the bottom of the sea floor all over the world’s oceans. These star-shaped aquatic beings are able to grow back all of their limbs if they lose one or more from an attack. They can also drop or release an arm as a defense when predators grab ahold. Starfish usually have five arms but some species can have up to fifty arms!
Almost all species of male deer grow antlers from the top of their heads from the time they are one year old. At first they are small spikes that they shed like baby teeth and then they grow a larger, more branch-like rack of antlers by the time they are three years old. Deer will continue to grow, lose and regrow larger antlers throughout their lives!
The axolotl (say "ax-oh-lot-el"), a Mexican species of salamander also known as a Mexican walking fish, is able to regenerate, repair or replace its arms, legs, tail, lower jaw, brain and heart! Because of this awesome ability, scientists are very interested in studying how the axolotl is able to do this and maybe one day use what they’ve learned to help people!
The bearded dragon can lose its tail when it feels threatened and then grow it back. (Pixabay)
Many species of lizard — like the green iguana and bearded dragon — can release or drop their tails when danger is near. When they drop their tail, it continues to wiggle and squirm to confuse the predator while the lizard gets away! Some lizards will even return later when it’s safe to eat their tails. It can take a couple months for the tail to grow back, depending on the species of lizard.
Spiders can regrow any one of their eight legs if they happen to lose one. In order for a spider to grow they have to shed the skin of their hard outer shell called an exoskeleton. This is also known as molting. They will molt many times throughout their lives until they are fully grown. It’s during this molting that they can regrow a missing leg! The new leg will usually be a bit smaller than the other seven.