It goes without saying, but nature can be pretty scary at times. We've all seen photos, videos, and documentaries of nature at its best and at its worst, but it takes just the right angle or perspective to truly show how incredible and powerful nature really is. That's why we've gathered some of the most awe-inspiring and downright weird photos we could find of the world around us and the forces that make it, at times, a bit frightening.
Someone Get Us Some Parmesan and a Fork - We're Digging Into This Lightning-Struck Tree
So, this one comes with a bit of a disclaimer. This photo shows a tree that's been struck by lightning, revealing a wood grain that looks like spaghetti. However, the grain doesn't appear like this because it was struck by lightning. Instead, this is a burl or a growth on the side of a tree that creates mesmerizing wood grains. These can grow on pretty much any tree out there.
These are hard to find, and they're often used in furniture making. If you've ever seen an old piece of furniture with a veneer that appears extremely ornate or dreamy, then odds are it was made with burled wood.
This Dog Spotted a Fox Frozen Underneath the Ice
It turns out that even wild animals have to be careful around flowing water. A person and their dog were walking on top of an ice-covered lake when they made this discovery. It's a fox that somehow ended up frozen underneath the ice. Most likely, the fox ended up drowning in the water, and when everything froze, it was preserved beneath the ice. Still, it's a terrifying sight.
The ice itself must be pretty thick to be holding the body of this fox in a place like this. The photo also makes us wonder what other things are lying beneath the ice.
Spiders Completely Covered These Trees With Their Webs
If you have an extreme fear of spiders, then you might want to skip this one. This photo was taken after a historic flood in Pakistan, and it shows how spiders there instinctively know what to do when there's a flood. The trees appear to be covered in some kind of mesh, but they're actually covered in spider webs. Countless spiders rushed into the trees and completely cocooned them in advance of the flood.
It's both a little terrifying and kind of extraordinary. However, we'd probably be staying as far away from these trees as we could if we were the ones taking this shot.
A Wasp Nest in the Wall? We'd Move Out Immediately
Finding a wasp's nest in your home or on your porch is never a fun time. However, what if you found one inside your walls? This person was doing some remodeling work inside of a home and came across a wasp's nest behind some drywall. Not only that, but this nest is absolutely huge, so it had to contain quite a few wasps. And they were probably all riled up when this guy tore down the wall.
We're not even sure how wasps would be able to get behind a wall in the first place, but there had to be some outside entry points somewhere in the house.
It's Not What It Looks Like! It's a Lava Pit
This image is something out of a nightmare. A woman is standing on a lava pit that looks like it's sucking souls into Hell. Honestly, this is what we think of when we read or watch any kind of horror movie or book that includes damnation. Luckily, it's just how the lava naturally formed and cooled, but it's still a great photo, even if it is probably going to keep us up at night.
What makes this even more incredible is the fact that the photographer was able to capture the pit itself, which must've been extremely hot when you're that close to it.
Australia's Worms Are Like the Rest of Its Wildlife - Big and Scary
We're not sure what it is about Australia, but all of the wildlife there just seems a bit more prehistoric. A homeowner in Australia found this worm out in his yard and decided to snap this photo. As you can see, this thing is just monstrous, and it'd probably be pretty safe if any birds managed to spot it. It's actually longer than a lot of snakes out there.
We aren't entirely sure, but we think this might be a giant Gippsland earthworm. If so, then this big guy can grow to almost 10 feet in length, and they can only be found in a very small area inside of Australia, according to Australian Geographic.
Bones Found In An Eagle's Nest
This collection of bones was found and documented inside an abandoned eagle's nest in Central America. And yes, those are the skulls of primates littered between all of the other bones. They were caught and eaten by a Harpy Eagle, which is the largest eagle in the world. They can grow a little over three feet tall and have been known to hunt and consume smaller monkeys within their range.
Honestly, the fact that the primate skulls look so similar to human skulls is what makes this photo so eery. This makes it much easier to imagine how difficult life must've been for our distant ancestors when giant birds large enough to take a small human were still around.
A Lobster With Colorful Style
Maine is known for its lobsters, but you've probably never seen any lobster quite like this one. That's because this is a 1 in 50 million catch, according to CNN. Lucky for this little guy, he was sent to a local research lab, where he spent some time with other rare lobsters before eventually being released back into the sea. It was thought that this weird color pattern was due to a genetic mutation.
In a similar vein, fishermen sometimes come across blue lobsters in Maine, which only occur about 1 in 2 million. Those are usually just released, as well.
Hail Came Crashing Through This Sunroof
Unless you live in a tropical climate near the equator, you've probably seen hail at some point in your life. It usually comes in the form of tiny pieces of ice that barely sting when they hit you. However, that was not the case in Texas when this giant ball of ice came crashing through someone's sunroof. It smashed its way right through the glass and probably would've gone all the way through if this was a regular glass panel.
Despite hail like this not being exceptionally rare, there have only been around four confirmed deaths in the U.S. since 2000 because of hail, according to NOAA. And one of those deaths occurred in Texas.
This Is How Some Alligators Survive Winter
While it's true that alligators and other crocodilians prefer warmer environments, in their most northern range, they can sometimes be spotted like this. In some areas, during extreme winter months, alligators will pop their head right above icy waters before they freeze and enter a kind of hibernation. They can stay like this all winter, only needing to breathe, before spring eventually thaws the ice and releases them back into the water.
Honestly, we aren't sure if we'd rather come across an alligator head in the middle of a frozen lake or one underneath the water, as they'd both be pretty scary.
Watch Out - Waterspouts Can Drop Fish Onto Land
According to NOAA, there are two types of waterspouts: tornadic waterspouts and fair weather waterspouts. The latter is probably the one most people have seen if they live near a coast. And while these can be dangerous, they usually don't make their way onto land. However, tornadic waterspouts are typically a bit stronger, and like tornadoes, they can suck huge columns of water up into the air, as well as anything that's in that water.
That means that fish can literally fall from the sky if you're anywhere near a powerful waterspout. However, we'd recommend getting far away before you have a chance to witness this phenomenon.
Fire Ants Ride Out a Storm as a Team
Ants are incredible creatures. Not only do they work together in a giant colony to build mounds, but when floodwaters rise, they form their own little floating islands using nothing but their bodies. This photo was taken in Houston, Texas, after a storm, and it shows a fire ant colony just floating on top of the water. No doubt, the ants do this to protect the queen and what larvae they can save.
It also shows why fire ants, which are invasive in the U.S., are so hard to get rid of. They're just really resilient and always seem to bounce back.
A Gecko Shedding Its Skin Is Somehow Cute and Creepy at the Same Time
If you've ever owned any kind of reptile, then you're probably aware that they shed their skin periodically. Still, this is probably one of the most intact outer layers of skin we've ever seen. A gecko owner posted this photo after noticing that his gecko's old skin made it look like his lizard was wearing a hoodie. And we can't argue with them; it does look like the gecko is wearing a hoodie.
It also kind of looks like a lizard is eating another lizard. When lizards or snakes shed, the skin usually comes off in smaller bits, similar to when you get a sunburn.
We Thought Sharks Couldn't Get Any Scarier but Then We Saw One Upside Down
Yes, sharks are really misunderstood and in dire need of more conservation efforts. However, that doesn't change the fact that one of the last things you want to see swimming toward you while you're in the ocean is a giant great white. These guys are absolutely massive, but it also turns out that they have what looks like a ghostly face right below their jaws when they're viewed upside down.
That said, you're still more likely to be struck by lightning than ever being close enough to have a chance to see a great white shark from this position.
An Earthquake Split This Road Right in Half
Rarely does mother nature act with precision. And while this road was split nearly perfectly in two by an earthquake, we're sure it was all a matter of luck. Still, it's pretty amazing to see something as sturdy and hard as a paved road split and compressed as if it were just a piece of paper. It shows both how strong earthquakes can be and why you're not even safe outside if one were to hit.
We're not even sure how road workers would be able to repair something like this, as it appears as if the ground itself was ripped in two by the quake.
Dude, Get Out of the Water!
This looks like something out of a Hollywood movie! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately - maybe this man is a shark lover), this is a real photo of an average Joe, not an actor, at the beach. This guy looks totally chill about it, so maybe the shark just caught prey and isn't interested in the human. We don't know - all we know is that we'd be out of there as fast as possible.
Listen - we respect sharks and know they're an important part of the ecosystem. And it's exactly because we respect them that we also fear them - and would run for our lives.
Is It Still Edible if It Grew Out of a Raccoon Skull?
When animals die, their remains eventually get covered in dirt. However, it's not that common to find them tangled up in your plant's roots while you're out gardening. This gardener was pulling up one of their plants when they noticed something attached to the end of its roots. It turned out to be the skull of a raccoon. And while it's perfectly natural, it's still a bit creepy looking.
The roots are entangled inside the skulls, eyesockets, and in its jaws. However, this is just the circle of life at work, and we're sure there are probably similar things happening beneath the surface in most yards.
Oh Look, Another Thing That Would Make Us Want to Move Out
It's not just humans that need to seek shelter when a storm hits; animals have to find a way to ride out storms and floods too. An Australian woman evacuated during a flood, and when she went home to check on the damage she found all of these frogs living in her toilet. Apparently, they had made it in through the sewage system. That might seem gross, but you have to do what you have to do to survive.
It's also possible that there was a break in a pipe somewhere that allowed these guys to climb in and seek refuge. There have been similar stories reported elsewhere with snakes.
There's No Way That's a Fungus - It's Definitely a Hand
Fungi might not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of something creepy in nature, but this photo might have you changing your mind. It shows a particular fungus that's shaped like decomposing human fingers. The fungus itself is even called "dead man's fingers," which is as fitting a name as we've ever seen. This type of fungus can sometimes appear blacker than the one pictured here.
Still, we'd say that this particular example is pretty creepy. It even has lighter colors towards the tips that make it look as though it has rotting nails at the end.
A $4 Million Quartz Find
It's not every day you come across a piece of quartz as large as the one pictured here. This giant rock was found in Arkansas by the miner that's posing right behind it. Reportedly, it took him around four days to get it all out of the ground, and we can see why. Lucky for him, it was worth it because this giant slab of quartz was valued at around $4 million.
Just seeing this makes you wonder what else might be hiding just beneath the surface. It makes us imagine entire caverns covered in similar crystals beneath the Earth's surface.
Check Out This Tornado's Size Compared to the Utility Pole
It's hard to fathom just how massive and terrifying tornadoes are in real life. Nothing can really prepare you for seeing one in person, but this photo does a good job of showing the sheer size of tornadoes. The tornado here is juxtaposed with wind turbines in the bottom right portion of this photo. Wind turbines always look incredibly tall in person, but they're nothing compared to this tornado.
They're so small that they're actually hard to even notice, which is just incredible. Luckily, this looks like a pretty remote location, so hopefully, nobody was hurt during this storm.
The Result Of An Earthquake In Los Angeles
Of all the things that mother nature can dish out, an earthquake just might be one of the scariest. There's literally nothing you can do but shelter down and hope whatever building you're inside doesn't come tumbling down. This photo was taken in 1994 after a strong earthquake hit the city of Los Angeles in California. The building fell one full floor, smashing all of the vehicles that were parked underneath.
Funnily enough, this led to a bit of a fight between the rental and auto insurance companies as to who was responsible for paying for the destruction. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any information about who ended up paying.
Apparently Anything Can Be a Bird's Nest - Even an Animal Carcass
Sometimes, nature can be cruel. For example, take a look at this photo. It shows a bird's nest inside the mouth of a dead fish. We're not exactly sure how the fish got stuck in the tree, but it could've jumped up there and gotten stuck. Either way, an opportunistic bird found the fish and decided to make a nest inside its mouth. It's actually kind of ironic if you think about it.
That fish may have been jumping out of the water to try and catch a bird and ended up stuck. Not only is nature cruel, but it can also have a pretty dark sense of humor.
We Hope No One Was on the Road During This Landslide in Taiwan
This incredible image was taken after a landslide occurred somewhere in Taiwan. The landslide completely covered the highway. Not only that, but it looks as if the small hill was there all along, and people just built a road on either side of it. It's both amazing and a little scary to think that something like this can happen in seconds and end up turning infrastructure completely demolishing infrastructure.
We're not sure if they just removed the rubble afterward or built a bridge over it, but by the looks of it, a bridge would seem like the easier way to go.
Never Leave a Bowl Outside - The Wasps Will Get to It
Pretty much everyone has left a container or cup outside at one point or another. However, we've never had a group of wasps come along and turn that container into a full-blown nest. That's what you're looking at in this photo. Someone left their dish outside, and when they returned, wasps had built a pretty elaborate home. It must've been quite a few wasps, too, because this thing is huge.
We just hope they weren't stung when they went to clear all of them out. We might've just left it where we found it and went on about our day.
Someone Found a Nest in Their Grill - Guess the Barbecue Is Cancelled
This photo was shot by someone who'd just opened their grill and was getting ready to clean it. Unfortunately for them, they opened it up to find a nest full of a bunch of hungry mouths. They look like they're ready to eat, but this person probably isn't going to be cooking them anything from this grill for quite a while; at least, we hope they aren't. These birds would be hard to move.
We're also pretty sure that the momma bird wouldn't be very happy to come back and find someone touching her nest. This person's best bet is to just let it be.
A Tornado Dropped This Bus Onto a School
In most minds, buses are extremely heavy. That's why, like elephants or tanks, they're commonly used as examples of how heavy something weighs or how long something is. Still, a tornado was able to pick the bus in this photo up as if it were nothing and drop it on the top of this school. Some people found it just sitting there after the tornado had passed, and they took this photo.
Seeing this photo makes us wonder how strong this tornado was and what kind of damage it did elsewhere. We imagine it was probably pretty devastating if it could do something like this.
Imagine Actually Finding a Pearl in Your Dinner Order
Everyone knows where natural pearls come from, but they're extremely rare. Only about 1 in 10,000 oysters contain a pearl, so you wouldn't normally expect to find one when you're going out to dinner. However, this woman did just that, and she snapped this photo to prove it. We're no pearl experts, but we hope she was able to recoup the cost of her meal after finding this pearl in her dinner.
If you're curious, there are also many different kinds of pearls, all ranging in size and color, from traditional white pearls to pearls that appear black or dark silver in color.
This Crab Has a Tiny Claw Growing From Its Big Claw
Crab claws are already kind of weird, but just imagine finding a claw with another tiny claw growing out from its side. This person was walking along the beach when they spotted a weird-looking claw and decided to take this photo. It's undoubtedly just a genetic mutation, but it illustrates firsthand how nature evolves and changes. Still, we're sure people won't be spotting any new species of crab with three claws roaming around the oceans anytime soon.
Then again, there are probably thousands of species that have yet to be discovered living in the oceans, so we could be wrong. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if we were.
A Hurricane Shot This Piece Of Wood Right Through the Middle of This Tree
It's hard to express just how powerful hurricane-force winds can be. Luckily, we have this photo to show you. A hurricane hit the island of St. Croix, and a resident snapped this photo after the storm had passed. As you can see, the winds were powerful enough to send this piece of wood straight through the trunk of a small tree. It completely pierced the tree as if it were nothing.
Not even a bullet could do that, which is pretty scary to think of. Now, picture hundreds of wooden beams flying around like this while the hurricane was bearing down on the island.
This Tomato Is Sprouting Another Tomato
Honestly, this is one of the less terrifying photos on this list. However, that's kind of a matter of perspective, as you could probably consider a tomato growing out of another tomato as some form of cannibalism. You can see the smaller tomato starting to sprout on both the left and right sides of this photo. There also appears to be a root system of some kind running along the skin of the larger tomato.
This is one that you might actually get to see in person one day, as this phenomenon is kind of common, so keep an eye on your produce.
Ever Seen a Vine Tangled Up Around the Neck of a Wasp? Now You Have
We're pretty sure that almost everyone out there has heard of carnivorous plants before, which are pretty amazing in their own right. However, if you're an insect, then carnivorous plants aren't the only thing you need to watch out for. As this picture shows, you could literally meet your end in just about any way you could think of. Somehow, this vine ended up wrapped around this wasp's neck.
Perhaps the wasp simply got a bit tangled, and when it was struggling to break free, the coils ended up wrapped around its neck. Either way, it doesn't look like a pleasant way to go.
The Movies Are Real - There's a Fungus That Turns Bugs Into Zombies
As we mention in another post on this list, most people don't think of fungi when they think of creepy, but they should. There's actually a certain type of fungus out there that can latch onto insects and turn them into mindless zombies. The bug in this photo has been affected by that same fungus. After contracting the fungus, these bugs search out more humid environments at the behest of their new parasite.
After enough time has passed, the fungus grows too large for its host, so it breaks out and releases spores. If this all sounds similar to a horror movie, that's because it is.
Heart Wood Shaped Like a Three-Leaf Clover
It's not unusual for trees to have a dark circular portion running up the inside of them called heartwood. However, it is unusual to find one that resembles a three-leaf clover. The inside portion of this log doesn't just resemble a clover, but it almost looks identical to one. We're not sure what the odds of that happening are, but we're sure it's a once-in-a-lifetime find.
We just hope that this wood went into making furniture or something else and not into making paper because this pattern is just too good to waste.
A Magical Rainbow Pool In the Woods
At first glance, this might look like a swamp that's layered with a sheen of oil. However, it's actually completely natural. Someone was walking or riding a boat through a swamp and came across this rainbow pool. These occur because the decomposing leaves and other organic matter at the bottom of the swamp release enough oils to create a sheen on top. However, the water has to be pretty still for this to happen.
However, they're usually much smaller than the one pictured here because the area needs to be so still. So, it's really cool seeing one as large as this.
A Handful Of Different Mantises - Literally
If you've ever watched a nature documentary, then you're probably familiar with praying mantises. However, mantises come in all shapes and sizes, as shown in this photo. This person has managed to collect a different mantis for each finger, and it's truly incredible. Each mantis looks like it evolved to blend in with a different pattern you might find in a forest. There's one shaped like a stick and a couple of others shaped like leaves.
If you were just walking in the forest, then you'd probably never even be able to spot one of these guys, which makes us wonder how this person got a hold of so many.
A Photo Of Low Tide After Hurricane Matthew
Hurricanes are forces to be reckoned with no matter what category they make landfall. However, a category five hurricane is absolutely terrifying. This is a photo of low tide in Fernandina, Florida, after Hurricane Matthew made landfall in 2016. The storm was so powerful that it left thousands of shells littering this beach. There's no telling exactly how far out into the gulf these shells originally came from.
Luckily, this storm was only a category two when it hit Florida, but it still devastated the Caribbean before hitting Florida. It's estimated that it took almost 600 lives in total, according to NOAA.
Someone Found This Nest And Blue Eggs
Most people are pretty familiar with eggs that are either white or brown, but not many have ever seen eggs that are blue before. Someone went to work and snapped this photo after finding a nest and four blue eggs inside of it. The eggs themselves are actually gorgeous and not all that rare. There are plenty of bird species that lay blue eggs, including things like robins, blue jays, and starlings.
However, it's not every day that you climb into a tree to sneak a peek at eggs, so it's kind of cool that this person was able to just walk into work and see these striking eggs up close.
A Frozen Lake Michigan
This isn't super common, but every now and then, some of the Great Lakes will freeze over. And while Lake Michigan is the only one to never have frozen over completely, it has seen its share of ice. This is a photo taken on the lake after it froze over once, and it shows shards of ice being pushed by the water underneath. It looks like shards of glass being piled on top of one another.
This photo must've been taken pretty close to shore, too, since there's a skyline in the background. That makes us think that waves may have had something to do with this.