When people overheat, we typically take off a top or turn on a fan. Usually, this doesn’t require a lot of effort, and all of our insides stay, well, inside. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case for some animals, with pelicans being a prime example of this. Instead, when the bird, among others, starts to get too hot, it starts to look like an invisible Michael Myers is at work.
Either that or they’re in Freddy Krueger’s dream world and we’re seeing the consequences. Bear with us here, because things will get slightly horrifying. You see, when a pelican overheats, it brings its own spine up to its mouth. We did try to warn you. Needless to say, if you’re faint of heart, then you might not want to read any further.
While there doesn’t seem to be much blood involved, the fact that the bird is intentionally removing its own spine is enough to give most people the creeps. Even worse if you happen to catch a glimpse of it in action. However, it’s worth noting that they don’t completely remove their spine.
Instead, they typically keep it in their mouth to help air it out and cool it down. As a result, they’re able to simultaneously cool down their insides and outsides. In the majority of cases, this will usually just be the pelican standing there with their mouths wide open while facing the breeze, an act called gular flutter. In extreme examples, though, they’ll bring up their spine to help cool it down faster.
The mechanics of this are quite similar to how they yawn, which you can see below. While the yawning doesn’t have any creepy vibes, seeing the pelican hack up an actual spine when they’re doing so is quite disturbing. At least Mortal Kombat might be able to develop a few fatalities based on the idea.