ALL TUCKED IN: Rolled into a ball, the short-beaked echidna—native to Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea—defends itself with its spines while protecting its soft belly.
Photograph by Steven David Miller, NPL, Minden Pictures
TOUGH PUFF: When threatened, the spotted porcupinefish swallows water to puff up its body like a balloon, making its spines stand out.
Photograph by Dave Fleetham, Design Pics, Getty Images
SHARP SHELTER: The spiky shell of a young spiny turtle protects it from predators in Southeast Asia. As the turtle gets older, the shell’s pointed edges wear down and become more rounded.
Photograph by reptiles4all, Getty Images
SHAKE IT UP: A cape porcupine from southern Africa can quickly regrow its sharp spines and quills if they fall out. Some of its spines are hollow and make a rattling sound when the animal shakes its tail.
Photograph by Tony Heald, NPL, Minden Pictures
NOT FOR PICKY EATERS: The spikes all over the thorny devil’s body are thought to make the Australian reptile look less appetizing to predators.
Photograph by Mitsuaki Iwago, Minden Pictures
FANTASTIC FEATHERS: To attract females, a male greater sage grouse fans out its spiky tail feathers and inflates its two bright yellow throat sacs.
Photograph by Gerrit Vyn, NPL, Minden Pictures
WICKED ARMOR: Six sharp points around the spiny orb weaver's abdomen tell predators to back off from the small spider.
Photograph by Ingo Arndt, NPL, Minden Pictures
THIS ROYALLY STINGS: The body of the crown-of-thorns sea star, found in the Indian and Pacific oceans, is covered with venomous spines that are toxic to marine animals and even humans.
Photograph by Jeff Rotman, Nature Picture Library
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