You either love the sea, or hate (fear?) the sea. Very rarely there is an “in between”. Well, for those who already fear the watery depths of the ocean, I’m sorry. Your nightmares are about to get worse. However, if you’re the fearless sort and very adventurous, you might get a kick out of this article. Presenting to you 10 of the scariest sea creatures we could find!
1) Vampire Squid
With dark red webbing between its arms, the vampire squid really does look like a vampire swooping down on you. However, unlike its namesake, the vampire squid doesn’t actually feed on blood or flesh, but rather on “marine snow”, which is dead plankton and fish faeces. They are actually helpful little creatures!
Sighting: Revillagigedo Archipelago, 603.5 km off Mexico’s Pacific coast
2) Giant Isopod
If woodlice give you the shudders, maybe you’ll want to scroll past the next picture very quickly. Giant isopods look like enlarged underwater woodlice, which can be anywhere from 17-50 cm in size. They have two pairs of antennae and seven pairs of feet. When curled up into a ball, they look 10 times scarier due to their exposed underside.
Sighting: Gulf of Mexico
More of a hag, less of a fish. To make matters worse, they don’t even look like fish! They’re scavengers, but they don’t have jaws, so they eat decaying carcasses by burrowing into them with tooth-like structures. Basically that just means it’s a dead-animal-eating, jawless slug. Currently, there are about 76 known species of hagfish.
Sighting: Cold waters in/around Alaska, Canada, Mexico
4) Black Swallower
With a name like that, how on earth could you not be afraid?! True to its namesake, it swallows anything it can because food is scarce where they live, deep at the bottom of the ocean. Black swallowers have been known to swallow creatures much larger than themselves, rupturing their stomachs and dying in the process, as below.
Sighting: All oceans of the world, from 700-2745 metres (Almost 3 km deep!)
5) Atlantic Wolffish
The Atlantic Wolffish is immediately distinguishable by its four to six sharp fangs, from which its name probably derived from. As if that wasn’t enough, there are another three rows of crushing teeth behind these fangs. Just when you thought “okay, that’s a lot of teeth”, no, we’re not done. Even its throat is lined with more teeth!
Sighting: East and west coasts of the Atlantic Ocean
6) Oyster Toadfish
Reminds you of 3-in-1, doesn’t it? A combination of slimy, scaleless body (oyster) and skin full of warts (toad), that is how this fish got its name. As if that odd combination wasn’t uh, interesting enough, it also has bulging eyes, and a broad mouth full of large, blunt teeth. Oh, and they’re noisy fish too. The males make foghorn-like calls to attract females, who literally just comes to the nest, lays the eggs, and swim off. Good dads, oyster toadfish.
Sighting: Maine, Florida
7) Frilled Shark
The frilled shark is known as a “living fossil”, which means that it hasn’t changed much since the time of its ancestors. Just think of a frilled shark as a vacuum with 300 teeth, lined up in 25 rows. With slippery, fast-moving prey such as squid, the 300 teeth acts as velcro, preventing its prey from well, slipping away. No prey would be able to back out of that.
Sighting: Portugal, Japan, and Australia. They can be found anywhere, but sightings are extremely rare
Constantly voted as one of the ugliest animals in the world (not just the sea), take a look at the picture and you’ll know why. Can it really be a fish if it doesn’t even have any muscles? It’s literally a blob with a fleshy nose, and downturned mouth. However, its unappealing appearance is usually due to damage when taken out of its natural habitat of 600-1200 metres-deep water.
Sighting: Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand
9) Goblin Shark
The goblin shark is a cousin of the frilled shark, and apparently the scariness runs in the family. Its whole snout – gums, jaw and all – protrude from its small head, and it has sharp, nail-like teeth. Also, it has translucent skin, allowing us a peek at its insides, which is TMI if you ask me.
Sighting: Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, Florida, Gulf of Mexico
The viperfish has large eyes, and an even larger mouth that occupies most of its head. Its mouth is filled with long, needle-like teeth that curve backwards to allow the fish to close its mouth. Usually found at depths of about 1,500-2,800 metres, viperfish are able to go long periods without food (as with other deep sea fishes), and are patient predators. It lures prey by lighting its spine on and off. When prey is close enough, it bites.
Sighting: Tropical and temperate waters
And the viperfish concludes the list of scary sea creatures! Which animal do you find most fearsome? Do you have any other creature that you think should be included? Let us know in the comments below!