Nailed It!

South of the border, dwells the well-armoured giant armadillo that has the longest nails of any of its kind.  This critters’ chunky claws measure up to a massive 20cm (8in) and act as efficient digging devices, which make demolishing an entire termite mound in a day a breeze.  They’re a good defence too – wave those claws in the air, like you just don’t care, and no one will want you for supper!

Long nails must be a South American raptor’s fashion choice – the harpy eagle sports the lengthiest talons of any bird, coming in at a sturdy 12.5cm (5in). These elegant fowl must hit the gym regularly, as they are the strongmen of the bird world and can lift their very own weight with those nifty nippers

Getting a grip with lengthy claws helps you to hang on in there and the three toed sloth certainly has a good set of nails to support its upside-down lifestyle.  These 10cm (4in) specimens are, in fact, bone extensions, honed to sharp perfection to provide that ultimate toehold in the tree tops.

Deep in the Madagascan forests lurks a creepy-clawed creature that, legend has it, you don’t want to lay eyes on – the aye aye. These small lemurs have a bad rap with the locals, who say you’re doomed if they point their long middle fingered claw at you! Rather than issuing curses though, the aye aye uses its incredibly middle nail to tap on tree trunks so it can suss out where grubs are burrowed beneath.  It then doubles as a handy tool to reach these tasty treats.   

You wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of any grumpy bear – especially not a sloth bear, who has far longer claws than the average bear.  It uses these awesome nails to dig for its insect supper.  As it wants to be alone, it will also use them to dish out the odd unlucky swipe to anyone foolish enough to come bothering it.

If you were thinking about treating yourself to a pedicure, then you probably wouldn’t be expecting to have your nails rubbed in the dirt, unless you were an elephant that is.  Elephants keep their nails in top fettle by wearing them down on the earth as they walk along. Keeping on top of them is no small undertaking either, as each of their nails is as big (or bigger) than a human hand!  That’s a lot of filing!

The duck billed platypus has a nasty claw up its sleeve.  Male platypus have a spiky spur on their hind legs, which can deliver a portion of poison if provoked.  We think it’s a means of keeping unwanted visitors at bay, but we’re not exactly sure, as the platypus are keeping its exact use a secret.

Why use a spade when a claw will do? Or rather six!  Moles’ large front feet bristle with sturdy nails, which help them plough their way with ease through your back garden!  They have a little extra umph as they have not 5 but 6 on each foot, helping them to excavate a long tunnel right across your prized lawn in no time flat.  The star nosed mole is the only keen swimmer of the family – its taloned feet double as practical paddles when its off for a quick dip

Now you see ‘em, now you don’t!  Cats keep their claws under wraps, padding around quietly on their tippy toes; but when needed, they can flex their muscles and their armoury appears!  Flick out those feline pincers when you want to shin up a tree or carve out a creative design on the wooden furniture!

Put those claws away now ….

Published by candy hunter writer

Self publishing author - Childrens books. First book - Chuckle with Chumleigh; recently launched - Chumleigh and the Festive Secret and Chuckle with Chumleigh Again - available on Amazon.

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