Creepy Animals

…they're really interesting.

Oct 18 2010

Creature of the Deep: Japanese Spider Crab

Man holding largest Spider Crab in the world.

It would look even better next to a bowl of melted butter.

Crabs are some of the most delectable creatures the ocean has to offer. And just in time to ruin your day, we bring you the Japanese Spider Crab - the creepiest and largest of edible crustacean treats.

These behemoth crabs feed on shellfish and animal carcasses on the sea floor in deep waters near Japan. They are considered a culinary delicacy. Mmm…detritus never tasted so good.

Also to note is that Japanese Spider Crabs can grow to over 12 feet and may live up to 100 years. The terrifyingly tasty morsel in the photo above isn’t even all that big. This crab below was featured in Popular Science in 1920 and measures 12 feet claw to claw:

Biggest spider crab in museum.

Holy crab! Look at those meaty legs!

Jan 8 2010

Creature of the Deep: Greenland Shark

Greenland shark swimming.

The creeping giant.

Ever get the feeling there’s something really creepy lurking beneath all that floating ice up north? We get it all the time. Cause of fear? The Greenland Shark. This shark is a native of the frigid waters surrounding Greenland and Iceland yet little is known about this animal. Here are some things we do know, all of them creepy:

1. Its lifespan may be up to 200 years.

2. It moves very slowly, yet fast-moving fishes, seals and even reindeer have been found in the stomaches of these sharks.

3. The fossilized appearance comes courtesy of small ‘teeth’ on its skin. Greenland Shark leather is approximately 9 times stronger than cowhide.

4. Its flesh is very toxic when fresh.

5. 80% of the adult population has a parasitic friend – a small Copepod embeds itself into the shark’s cornea, with the other half of it dangling out like a dead worm. Scar tissue forms on the eye, rendering eyesight semi-functional later in age. No matter – Greenland Sharks spend most of their time in darkness, up to 7200 feet below the surface.

Greenland shark with copepod.

Blinded by the Copepod.

Dec 20 2009

Creature of the Deep: Sea Angel

Sea angel swimming.

This one goes straight to heaven.

Behold the Sea Angel. A gorgeous, otherworldly creature seemingly made of gossamer and light in equal parts, gracefully beating its wings as it soars through waters deep. Then you realize it’s actually a snail without a shell. Now it’s a creepy animal. Congratulations.

Oct 18 2009

Unapologetically Creepy: Long-nosed Chimaera

Chimaera with long nose.

I mean...what exactly are we looking at?

In Greek mythology, the chimaera (or chimera) was a fire-breathing monster composed of various animals: a lioness, a snake and a goat. In reality, the chimaera is a deep-sea monster composed of various substances: cartilage, slimy skin and utter creepitude. The Long-nosed Chimaera is the strangest looking one. In fact, we can’t look at this image and not think horrible thoughts.

The long nose contains many sensory nerve endings used to detect small fish in black waters and the spine on its dorsal fin carries venom for defense.

And to make sure you don’t sleep tonight, here is another chimaera named the Elephant Shark – yet another hideous cartilaginous fish with a face that will give you nightmares.

'Elephant shark'. Yet another hideous cartilaginous fish with a face that will give you nightmares.

Oct 18 2009

Creature of the Deep: Frilled Shark

Rare Frilled shark swimming.

This is one no-frills fish.

Very little is known about the ancient, eel-like Frilled Shark. It dwells 600-1000 feet underwater and has rarely been seen. But we understand. This thing is U-G-L-Y. We wouldn’t leave the depths of any ocean looking like this.

Frilled shark with gills.

...in dire need of a makeover.

This species has changed very little since prehistoric times and it certainly shows. Six large gills protrude beyond the wide-set jaw like a swollen wound. An uneven, tattered tail + milky eyes complete the look.

Oct 12 2009

Creature of the Deep: Yeti Crab

Yeti crab arms.

Yeti, finally captured!

What’s long and white and has bristles all over? A bottle brush! Just kidding. It’s the Yeti Crab. This little creature was found deep underwater in the hydrothermal vent ecosystem of the mid-ocean ridges near Easter Island. The Yeti Crab eats mussels on the sea floor, but also uses the bristles on its long arms to host colonies of specialized bacteria, possibly as another source of food.

We think this pear-shaped crustacean looks rather like a tick – but an adorable one if there is such a thing. There is no doubt, however, that it resembles this depiction of a Yeti:

Yeti movie.

He looks quite warm in the snow. The Yeti that is.

Oct 3 2009

Creature of the Deep: Goblin Shark

Goblin shark teeth.

This creature has needle-like teeth and a jaw that swoops out. Prey = doomed.

This strange, goblinesque shark uses it’s protrusible jaw to snap up fish. The photo above shows the shark with the jaw extended out. Otherwise, the jaws tuck in and the shark appears to have a triangular head and long nose. Regardless, the Goblin Shark is by far the creepiest of all sharks, and we’ve seen quite a few oddities in the deep, dark waters where it lives. Read more here.

For that jaw-swooping action, check out this video:


Goblin Shark displays jaw extensions in slow-mo. Cut to :23

Oct 1 2009

Creature of the Deep: Pacific Barreleye Fish

Do you know an animal that has eyes under a transparent head? Now you do! This unique creature of the deep has tubular eyes beneath it’s dome. Watch the vid.

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