One of the slimiest and possibly the most repulsive creature in the waters has to be the hagfish. These creatures are arguably the most disgusting critter in the world, sans maybe a botfly. From a super slimy and choking defense mechanism to their not so glamorous eating habits, these animals go from zero to gross in seconds flat! Read more about these super slimers below.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Myxini
Weight: Up to 3 lbs.
Length: Up to 2 feet
Lifespan: Up to 40 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Hagfish are smooth, scaleless eel-like creatures with loose-fitting skin of pale pink to grayish-blue.
2.) There are 76 known species of hagfish found at depths of up to 5,500 feet.
3.) These creatures don’t chew their food, they instead swallow food hole and can even absorb nutrients straight through their skin, as they burrow through flesh.
4.) Hags can go for months without a meal! Kind of like a runway model.
5.) They have 4 hearts. One serves as the primary pump, while the other 3 act as accessory pumps.
But wait, there’s more on the hagfish!
6.) Even thought they look like eels, they are actually not eels at all. They belong to a category of animals called Agnatha (jawless fish).
7.) The hagfish has 2 rows of tooth-like apparatuses made of keratin that they use to dig deep into rotting flesh.
Did you know…?
Hagfish can produce large amounts of sticky, thick slime from glands running along the sides of their bodies. This clogs the gills of would-be attackers and allows the hag a chance to escape. To escape their own slime defense, they tie themselves into a knot and work the knot from head to tail, scraping off the sticky slime as it goes. If they ingest any of the slime, they simply sneeze it out.
8.) Not only do they eat through their skin, they also breathe through their skin and nostrils.
9.) Not being able to see very well, they do have an excellent sense of smell and touch, which they use to navigate through the waters, in search of food.
10.) Even though they have a skull made of cartilage, they lack other boney structures.
But wait, there’s even more on the hagfish!
11.) Even thought they have been seen hunting fish, they prefer dead animals. When one is found, they simply burrow their head into the carcass and tunnel their way through to the center and eat their meal from the inside out.
12.) Hagfish are threatened by overfishing and bycatch.