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10 Real Sea Creatures Lifted Directly from Your Nightmares

#5. The Real Kraken

National Geographic

OK, we know there's something called the giant squid out there, but it's hardly the kind of beast that could drag your ship down to Davy Jones' Locker as described by old-timey sea legends. We used to assume that such a thing never existed -- until 2007, when fishermen dragged aboard something that we're now calling the colossal squid.

tepapa.gov.nz
"Hyper squid" just sounded too much like a rejected Metal Gear character.

Scientists don't use the term "colossal" lightly. At over 900 pounds, with tentacles stretching 13 feet, it's by far the largest squid ever caught. Its eyes are described as being "as wide as dinner plates," and if you tried to make calamari out of it, the rings would be as big as tractor tires and flavored with the screams of hundreds of old-timey fishermen.

The folks who caught it had no choice but to freeze it on board their vessel, we assume after a spectacular battle like the Kraken fight scene from one of those Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Since then, it's been on display in a museum in New Zealand, because apparently the best way to exact revenge upon a mighty beast from the days of yore is to simply humiliate it.

tepapa.gov.nz
"As you can see, we've glued a hat onto it."

#4. The World's Biggest Fish

Richard Hermann

The reaction to this kind of photo is always the same: "So what? The diver is probably like 100 feet away, and the fish is about to lick the camera lens. So how big is that fish really?"

Well, the mola mola, or ocean sunfish, is the heaviest fish in the world. For some sense of scale, here's a picture of it dwarfing a dwarf.

Wikipedia
That little girl has a lot of faith in some sailor's ability to drunkenly tie knots.

The freakishly huge sunfish gets its name from the fact that it spends its time "sunbathing" at the surface of the water, in part to invite birds to fly down and gorge themselves on the skin parasites that infest it.

Wikipedia
"Come, my friends, and let my atrocious personal hygiene be your feast!"

They are apparently harmless to humans, which is a good thing, because as you can see, your whole torso would fit into its mouth.

#3. The Fish That Walks

National Geographic

Ever wondered what it would be like to give a fish a high-five? Now you can find out! This is one of nine new specimens of handfish that were recently discovered near Tasmania, Australia. Not only do they have four "limbs" where their fins should be, but they use them to walk around down there. And look how friendly the little guy is! There's no way that little face is about to tell us to fuck off!

Seriously, though, the best way to understand how creepy that is is to see it in action:

Looking at them, we're pretty sure evolution is only about three generations away from granting these guys the ability to flip us the bird.

National Geographic
Also, they almost look wrong without a cigarette hanging from their mouths.

#2. The Fish That Looks Like a Xenomorph

National Geographic

Nobody made the mistake they made with the northern stargazer of giving this undersea horror a harmless, goofy name. That there is the black dragonfish. Of course it is.

The black dragonfish lives deep in the ocean where light can't reach it, but it has a strategy for seeking out its unlucky prey -- its body emits a kind of infrared light that only it can see, meaning that it's basically wearing a little pair of night vision goggles while everything else is swimming around blind.

niwa.co.nz
It's like if H.R. Giger designed a Maglite.

By the way, every image you see of one of these things is female. The male of the species doesn't have such impressive teeth, and in fact, he doesn't even have a working stomach. It's theorized that the males are used for breeding purposes only, which means they are born with no other destiny but to have sex with a 15-inch death eel.

lifesci.ucsb.edu
Which, now that we think about it, is almost certainly some dude's fetish.

#1. The Clam That Looks Like a Dick

geoduckrecipes.com

First of all, kudos to the guy in that picture for handling that thing without gloves.

This thing is called a geoduck, pronounced "gooey-duck" because that makes no sense. It's a kind of clam whose body is too big for its shell, and on top of being the most phallic thing in the ocean, it lives for an incredibly long time (up to 140 or so years) and can grow to be disturbingly big.

ecy.wa.gov
We can't vouch for the authenticity of this old-timey photograph, but we will note that it's from an era long before Photoshop.

Oh, and did we mention that this thing is considered a delicacy? At least that's what we have to assume people are doing with them.

Top Tenz
Every man has had at least one discouraging moment like this.

Because it's a pricey delicacy, farming them makes for quite a lucrative business. And if you haven't eaten in the last 48 hours, you can safely watch Mike Rowe wade around in a sea of floating dicks on Dirty Jobs. If you're a male, have fun trying to cut into one of these things on your plate without involuntarily cringing.

Chris Rio likes to write music, tweet and check email at crio12989@gmail.com.

For more reasons to fear and loathe Mother Nature, check out 5 Bizarre Ways the Weather Can Kill You Without Warning and 8 Terrifying Skeletons of Adorable Animals.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 5 Most Disturbing Things Ever Done With Taxidermy.

And stop by LinkSTORM to cleanse your mind of nature's nightmares.

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