If you need any proof of the wonderful diversity of nature, you only need look as far as the obscure corners of the ocean to find it. And when I say “wonderful diversity” I mean, weirdness. There are some terrifying creatures that live down there and some that are just a bit unfortunate looking. It’s no wonder that they live miles below the surface – they probably don’t want anyone to see them. Others have amazing skills that you’d never imagine anyone would need. Yes, sea creatures are a crazy lot indeed. Meet the most bizarre of the bunch in our Top 10 Strangest Sea Creatures.
If you happen to believe in reincarnation, it’s hard to imagine what you’d have to have done in a past life in order to come back as a blobfish. It’s not a fulfilling life. They can’t really move, so they just have to sit around and wait for food to come to them. It can take days to get a meal and then it’s over in a bite. And it’s not like they can spend the rest of the time gazing at themselves in a mirror either – the blobfish is modeled after a dessert of some kind, maybe one that’s a bit melted. Stick some eyes on a blancmange and you’ll get a similar effect. They aren’t often seen by humans, living as they do 600-1,200m below sea level, off the coast of Australia.
9. Angler Fish
And another fish that’s been beaten with the ugly stick. The angler fish is a scary-looking beast that appears every time an animator needs a “fish that looks like a monster” scene (see “Finding Nemo”). It lives in the midnight zone, and like many creatures down there it has its own integral light. In this case, it’s a small bulb-like light that dangles in front of its face so it can see whatever it’s hunting. If you ever get stuck in the midnight zone, remember not to follow the light…or you might be its next meal. It can swallow prey that is up to twice its size. And did I mention the razor-sharp teeth? Terrifying…
8. Christmas Tree Worm
Of course, not all these creatures are scary. Some are cute, albeit it in a toilet brush kind of way. The Christmas tree worms get their name from their spikes, which point out like the branches of a Christmas tree and help them to feed and breathe. If the worm feels threatened, the “branches” withdraw and it makes them less obvious to predators. Known as Spirobranchus giganteus, they are found on the Great Barrier Reef but have also been spotted as far away as the Caribbean.
7. Sea Krait
If, like me, you get a bit scared at the very idea of a snake you might think that the ocean would be one place you’d be sure not to bump into any. But you’d be wrong, as the sea krait – or Chinese sea snake – lurks around coral reefs, waiting to catch any unsuspecting prey with its paralyzing venom. That’s the venom which is 10 times the strength of cobra venom, in case you’re still thinking these things might be harmless. They also come onto land, for females to lay their eggs, but mainly live just off-shore in caves or rock formations. However, they are oxygen-breathing, so have to break the surface every few hours in order to survive.
So, they can follow you onto land if you manage to outswim them (they don’t swim very fast, so that at least is a possibility). The good news is that they don’t tend to attack humans unless they feel threatened, and their black-and-white patterning makes them easy to spot. Just don’t threaten them. Probably best to stay away from their eggs!
The pufferfish is another creature that’s popular with children’s TV series, as the makers of those shows seem to be under the impression that you can use them as a replacement for balloons when needed. I wouldn’t advise it. Yes, the pufferfish does blow up, but its spikes when it does so are sharp, and the puffer itself is highly poisonous. In fact, it’s the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world, after the golden poison frog.
That doesn’t stop pufferfish from being a delicacy in many countries, most notably Japan. It has to be prepared by expert chefs, as a wrongly cut fish can be lethal. Puffer soup – or fugu chiri in Japanese – is the most common form of puffer poisoning but the raw meat (sashimi fugu) can induce a kind of intoxicated state, along with numbness. That’s the main appeal of it, apparently, but if that’s what you’re after, you’re probably best off sticking with the sake and avoiding these spiny beasts altogether.