Q: When is the best moment to come across a slimy, disgusting creepy-crawler?
A: Many of you instantly thought "never," but you're dead wrong. Why's that? The correct answer is "any moment but the following ones."
#4. Aquarium Workers Clean Tank, Find Giant Worm Living There for a Decade
For years, workers at an aquarium shop in the U.K. noticed that fish tended to disappear from a particular tank but didn't think much of it, possibly chalking this up to Finding Nemo-style breakouts. After the tank sprang a leak, employees emptied this microcosmic Bermuda Triangle and solved the mystery. But they probably wished they didn't -- they found a freakishly large bobbit worm lurking under a heavy rock. Turns out they'd been unknowingly sacrificing fish to this beast for 10 years.
"Release me now or suffer later, mortals."
At a pants-poopingly scary 3.5 feet long, the bobbit worm likely hid inside the rock when it was being installed in the tank and from there began its decade of preying on fish unnoticed. Adding to the sense of WTF was the fact that the creature broke into three pieces after removing the rock, only one of which actually died -- the headless middle portion began moving around the tank in response to shrimp. It's unclear if the worm will now live up to its name and get its missing part reattached, then go on to appear on talk shows and in baffling pornos.
#3. Air Traffic Control Station Evacuated Because of Spider Invasion
Air traffic controller is one of those professions where you already have enough pressure on you under regular circumstances -- add "dealing with spider invasions" to the job description, and that's just too much to ask of a person. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the controllers at the Air Traffic Control Center in Olathe, Kansas, had to do when spiders came out from under their desks and bit three of them, causing delays in at least five flights.
Spiders aside, that part was pretty much normal.
Apparently, while the controllers were guiding aircraft thousands of feet in the air, a spider's nest egg was hatching right by their legs. "Thousands of feet," incidentally, could also describe the number of spider limbs that potentially existed in that air control room, depending on which species it was -- if it was large, the hatchlings would reach up to 400, while in other cases, they could emerge in the thousands. The evacuated controllers didn't confirm how many spiders they saw or how big they were, presumably because they were too busy weeping uncontrollably.
#2. 870,000 Toyotas Recalled Due to Spider-Caused Malfunction
If we told you spiders can cause your car to malfunction and smack you with the airbag for no reason, you'd think we were just messing with you. Sadly, we are not, and in fact this is such a serious problem that 870,000 Toyota cars were recently recalled after the company examined three spontaneous airbag deployments and 35 cases of unnecessary warning lights and found that "the only consistent cause [for this error] has been spider webs."
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"We also found small dolls made of human hair, but we're sure it's just nothing."
It turns out that a defect in the air-conditioning system of some models can trigger the airbag warning light or, sometimes, full-on deployments. Specifically, when something blocks the system's drainage tube, water can drip down into the airbag module, resulting in some premature airbag-culation action. And what kinds of things may block the drainage tube? Spider webs.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Leave a message and I'll call you back." -Toyota's overloaded customer service, no doubt.
So, to recap: On top of the horrifying experience of your vehicle's safety mechanisms trying to attack you, drivers were treated to the added knowledge that fucking spiders are living in their cars in the first place. Pleasant driving!
#1. Scientist Finds Nematode Living in His Mouth, Writes Paper About It
If you study parasites for a living, naturally you're going to become desensitized to things most people would find gross -- it's gonna take something a little worse than finding a worm in your apple to freak you out. Like, say, finding it in your mouth. Not because you just bit it, but because the three-quarter-inch-long parasitic worm has been living there for a while, as College of William and Mary biology professor Jon Allen discovered one fine September night.
Jon Allen/College of William & Mary
Now that tiny voice telling him to eat rotten flesh makes sense.
For some time, Allen could detect "intermittent rough areas" inside of his mouth using his tongue. One night he got tired of it and asked his wife to hold a flashlight while he took a set of tweezers to his oral abnormality, extracting a worm -- and not just any worm, but one typically associated with livestock (which raises even more uncomfortable questions than it answers).
Mind you, this was only the 13th known case of this particular nematode parasitizing humans. Ever the scientist, Allen refused anti-nematode medication to see if the creature left any offspring in his esophagus. ("Which would be awesome, because we need some more material," he opined.) He also wrote a research paper titled "Gongylonema pulchrum Infection in a Resident of Williamsburg, Virginia" about it. Meanwhile, his wife has submitted another one titled "Yeah, and I Made Out With the Fucking Thing" to Ewwww magazine.