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Tardigrades, tiny and tough, are almost indestructible

Kidsday reporter Kaitlin Mulvihill from Maria Regina School

Kidsday reporter Kaitlin Mulvihill from Maria Regina School in Seaford with her crested gecko. Credit: Mulvihill family

Tardigrades, often referred to as water bears or moss piglets, are incredible micro-sized animals that have amazing abilities to adapt to their surroundings. Scientists think that their ability to adapt makes these tiny animals almost indestructible.

Scientists who have studied them report they can withstand up to six times the pressure of the deepest part of the ocean, as well as the intense sun, radiation and lack of oxygen in space. Scientists sent some into outer space to check and then analyzed their behavior.

Some scientists think that tardigrades could survive a catastrophe like an asteroid hitting Earth because they can improvise, adapt and overcome rapid changes in their environment. Ranging in size from 0.05 mm to 1.2 mm, this tiny, mighty animal could survive after humanity is long gone, scientists think. 

Some people think it’s cute, some people think it’s ugly, but one thing is for sure, this is one crazy animal.

I love interesting and weird animals. I have a crested gecko that looks almost like a baby crocodile. His name is Oliver. I keep him in a terrarium, and I think he is the most interesting pet a kid can have.

Rosemary Meehan's eighth-grade class, Maria Regina School, Seaford

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