The 7 Most Terrifying Mouths in Nature

#3. Penguins Are Stashing Teeth in Their Beaks


You'd probably have to agree that there's nothing scary about a penguin. If there was, they wouldn't keep making animated children's movies about them tap dancing. But what Happy Feet never cared to show you, for obvious reasons, is what a penguin looks like with its beak open.

At this point, Mr. Freeman stopped narrating and started screaming.

Once you start the journey into the center of a penguin, it's teeth all the way down. There are teeth in their beaks, teeth on their cheeks, teeth on their tongues, and probably teeth on the backs of their eyeballs if you ever care to check (we don't recommend it).

Liam Quinn
This is why you never see any penguin dentists.

Because penguins swallow their food alive and wriggling, they need some way to both keep hold of their prey and maximize its suffering. The penguin's spiny tongue and mouth parts work like a conveyor belt to keep things moving in one direction -- and it's not someplace anyone wants to go.

Liam Quinn
"JESUS CHRIST! I think I'll just starve, thanks."

#2. Woodpeckers Have Spears for Tongues


We already have a lot of respect for the woodpecker for having the highest density of dick references in a single name, but while we're discussing large, phallic protrusions, check out the woodpecker's tongue, which suggests that it is definitely compensating for something.

"I appreciate the offer, but I think we'll just stick to the full sex, thanks."

The woodpecker basically has a gaffing hook for a tongue. Not only is it up to three times the length of the bird's beak, but it's tipped with a barbed spearhead that impales bugs in trees and drags them screaming to their end.

Oh, excellent. It turns corners.

You might be wondering how the woodpecker keeps this whole thing inside its head. Even if you weren't wondering that, we're going to tell you anyway. You see, when it's not using it to stab things, the woodpecker wraps its entire tongue around the back of its skull, behind its eyeball, and then back into its nostril, like so:


Every party has that one guy who's all "Hey, look what I can do!" Woodpecker parties are full of those guys.

#1. The Pacu Has People Teeth


We're going back to the Amazon now, if only because it seems like the world's premier dumping ground for Lovecraft-style eldritch horror. For instance, nature saw fit to create something called the pacu fish. It just looks like a pretty ordinary fish until it opens its mouth, and suddenly you can think only in nightmares. In a remarkable (though incredibly disturbing) example of evolution repeating itself, the pacu fish has a human mouth.

Several human mouths.

Why would nature do this to us? Well, it's the same reason we have them -- teeth like ours are able to chew anything, and unusually for a fish, their favorite foods are seeds and nuts.

You'd be tempted to make a bad joke here about "keeping your nuts out of the Amazon River," at which point we'd be forced to tell you that, all jokes aside, the pacu will in fact eat your testicles. That's why Papua New Guineans have nicknamed it the "ball cutter."

"Testicle trap," "sack hacker," "jewel thief," "plum poacher" ... all of these could work.

The pacu was introduced to Papua New Guinea in the 1990s to provide a local food source (because people just love eating something that looks like man contorted into an eternal scream), and since then, the "nut"-eating bastards have been credited with the deaths of at least two men in the region from a combination of blood loss and shame. Happy swimming, guys.

The Telegraph
"Insert here."

Monte Richard is a columnist at, Warren Tilson has a book, and E. Reid Ross lives in the Craption Forums.

For more nightmare fuel, check out 7 Terrifying Giant Versions of Disgusting Critters and 7 Terrifying Prehistoric Creatures (That Are Still Around).

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