Of all the horrors in the world, the creatures living in the deep ocean rank high. They feature giant teeth, disproportionate bodies, and strange illuminating organs. Granted, us land-dwellers don’t get to see them at their best. Much of what we learn about these deep-sea animals happens after they’re hauled surface-side in fishing nets by accident. They’ve adapted to survive at intense pressure and in complete darkness, which is why they’re so creepy. Here’s ten of the creepiest:
Barbeled Dragonfish. These long terrifying fish dwell down at 6,600 feet in subtropical oceans. They have huge toothy mouths, but the larvae have the creepiest feature. The eyes of the larva dangle off the body on long stalks. As they grow, the eyes draw back up into their faces.
Gulper Eel. These eels have huge mouths that hinge open wide to consume prey whole. The eels’ stomach can even stretch to accommodate larger prey. Their tails have small photophores at the end that glow pink and flash red.
Vampire Squid. These squids dwell in the tropical deep sea. From the outside they’re pretty adorable, if you ignore their red eyes. They propel themselves around with small fins on the sides of their bodies. But beneath the “cloak” that connects the arms, it’s all horror. When they encounter prey, they dart forward and fleshy spine covered arms seize it.
Stargazer. These fish earned their names because the position of their eyes and mouth is at the top of their heads. They bury their bodies beneath the sand, leaving just their creepy face exposed. Some have a worm-like tendril they extend from their mouths & wiggle around to attract prey. Just terrible.
Sarcastic Fringehead. While the name sounds like you could find it in any middle school bullying sixth-graders, it’s actually a tough little fish. They live close to the surface at 240ft but have a super-creepy way of fighting for dominance. A male will distend their mouth and press it against an opponent’s seeing which mouth is larger. Bigger fish wins.
Fangtooth. They’re named for the disproportionate sharp teeth at the front of their mouth, but they’re actually on the small side, around six inches long. You’re also not likely to run into them while swimming; They dwell deep in the ocean, at 16,000ft down.
Goblin Shark. Nicknamed “a living fossil”, these sharks descended from a 125 million year old species. They grow to 10-15 feet long and inhabit the ocean at a depth of around 300ft. They have long flat snouts that extend above their jaws. When feeding, the jaws extend out even further.
Giant Squid. Mysterious and massive, these squid can grow to up to over 60 feet long, although science has only documented them up to 45 feet. Their habitat spans a wide range, from 1000 feet to over 3,000 feet. Their only natural predators are sperm whales.
Frilled Shark. These sharks skim along the ocean floor, going as deep as 5,000 feet in both the Pacific and Atlantic ocean. They swallow their prey whole and hold it in their mouths with rows of hundreds of teeth.
Blobfish. Called the world’s ugliest animal, they dwell in the deep sea around Australia and New Zealand, at around 3,500 feet. Floating along the seafloor, they eat whatever drifts in front of their face. Common descriptions of their flesh call it gelatinous, as it’s very low density and lacks muscle tissue.