The natural world is full of horrors, and if you've spent enough time on this website, you know that many of these horrors exist just behind the tenuous cloak of sanity that keeps us from screaming every time we leave the house. And sure, a lot of nature's creatures seem harmless, but then they open their mouths ...
7Hagfish Have Alien Jaws
We've already covered the hagfish's appetizing ability to produce copious amounts of grotesque, suffocating slime. But we saved you from the horror of seeing what it looks like when it opens its mouth. Let's do that now.
Scientists refer to the vagina dentata that is the hagfish's face as "two pairs of tooth-like rasps on the top of a tongue-like projection." We can only describe it in the language of screams.
Just to add insult to horror, it turns out that the hagfish doesn't even really need a mouth, considering that it can actually eat with its skin. It generally gets its nutrition from swimming around in putrid waters around decomposing corpses and absorbing the delicious corpse juices through its pores. It seems like the only reason it has four rows of yellow fangs is because God had to match a quota for horrible things.
He might also have been feeling a tad insecure.
6The Leatherback Sea Turtle Is Full of Daggers
The leatherback sea turtle is one of those animals you can post on your friend's Facebook page to cheer them up after a shitty day. Because damn, look at the cute little guy.
"There is no reason I shouldn't be flying right now."
But if you're utilizing the leatherback turtle for its powers of adorableness, make sure that you don't take a picture of it while it's yawning, because oh God, Jesus no, it looks like the sarlaac.
Those hundreds of jagged stalactites that line the turtle's mouth and esophagus all the way down to its horrible, horrible gut are called papillae, and they exist because the universe hates beauty, and also because the leatherback turtle's diet consists entirely of jellyfish and other soft-bodied, slimy invertebrates. Anyone who's ever tried to catch a jellyfish with two spoons would give their left nut for a fork, which is why the turtle is equipped with its own murder cavern. Those jellyfish are going nowhere.
"Hey, I accidentally swallowed a Rolex. Why don't you reach your arm in and fish it out?"
Leatherbacks need an efficient funneling system to deposit their prey directly into their stomach, because with nearly zero nutrients in a jellyfish, the turtle needs to consume around 73 percent of its body weight every day. That's a lot of time spent chasing jellyfish that the turtle can't waste on inefficiency.
Unfortunately, the turtle can't tell the difference between jellyfish and plastic bags, so the cute and cuddly leatherback turtle is facing extinction from floating debris. And that sucks, because it's just as important to preserve nature's horror as it is to preserve its beauty. It reminds us of who's in charge.
"One at a time, minions! Everyone will get their fair share of turtle loving."