The swamp has eyes…and teeth

creepy, alligator eyes, spooky
Biosample via Reddit

There are about, 40 too many alligators in that water. But the thing about alligators is that they’re more afraid of you than you are of them, right?

Well, not really. These prehistoric reptiles don’t mess around. They can swim up to 20 mph and their jaws clamp down at 2,125 lbs. per square inch.

Once they take hold of their prey, they typically drag it underwater and commence the “death roll,” which is just as terrifying as it sounds. Basically, it’s designed to tire out and drown their prey — as well as tear off a few bite-size chunks. Sometimes they’ll wait for their food to rot before consuming the rest. Lovely.

Parasitic eels in a frenzy

eels feeding, underwater, New Zealand
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa via Youtube

Around 880 meters below the surface, these parasitic eels feast on some bait. The way they group together and wriggle around makes them look a bit like one creature with many slimy arms. Without the light provided by the camera, this scene would be pitch black.

Parasitic eels have no jaws, but disk-shaped mouths with sharp teeth they use to latch onto their victims and suck their blood. If that doesn’t scare you, take a closeup look at their mouths. Just don’t expect to sleep well later.

What sharks see when circling beneath you

sharks circling, looking up, scary
Reinhard Dirscherl\ullstein bild via Getty Images

The grey reef sharks pictured below are amidst a feeding frenzy and I can’t think of a place I’d want to be less. Grey reef sharks are found primarily in the Indo-Pacific — anywhere between South Africa and Easter Island. They’re not known to attack humans unless provoked, so don’t provoke them.

Naturally curious, these predators are known to approach divers, but seldom bite humans. In fact, there have only been eight documented cases of grey reef shark attacks on people and only one of them was fatal. The grey shark displays a clear threat behavior when threatened or cornered, arching its back and swaying back and forth as a warning.

Octopuses leave no food on the table

whale carcass, skeleton, octopus eating
vdub319 via Reddit

By the look of it, this whale has been dead for quite awhile. This group of octopuses and other scavengers aren’t willing to let that good eating go to waste, though. Even though octopuses are primarily predators, the clever cephalopods are known to be opportunists as well.

The skeleton of a whale is creepy enough without all these creatures tearing the last remnants of flesh off the bones but in the ocean, nothing is wasted.

Something wicked this way comes

orca, killer whale approach, oncoming
SeaLionBones via Reddit

Imagine you’re out on a peaceful kayak trip and a giant fin pops up, speeding toward you from a distance. What do you do? Do turn and attempt to paddle away from the creature, or do you stay frozen in fear and hope it narrowly avoids you at the last minute?

Fortunately, this particular creature is a Killer Whale and, despite the name, these marine mammals have yet to kill a person. At least, not in the wild. That being said, there’s a first time for everything…

Open wide!

Basking shark, scary creature, filter feeder
Chris Gotschalk via Wikimedia Commons

The basking shark is supposedly harmless to humans, but we wouldn’t want to take my chances near anything with a mouth that size. Fortunately, there have been no documented incidents of anyone being swallowed alive by a basking shark.

So if they don’t eat large prey, what’s the point of having such a big mouth?

Basking sharks are filter feeders, meaning they feed on zooplankton by rushing forward and sucking in large quantities of water. The water is then filtered out through the gills as the prey is digested. This massive fish needs to take in a lot of water (and food) at once, so it needs a big mouth to get the job done. There is still much we don’t know about these gentle sea monsters.

Where thalassophobia meets claustrophobia

tight spot, cavediving, creepy
Imgur

Part of what makes the ocean so terrifying is its profound vastness — but some areas are disturbing for the exact opposite reason. Take, for example, this scuba diver swimming through a tight cave. Imagine what you might come face to face with in the darkness and how impossible it would be to escape.

It may be unlikely that you come upon an unidentified sea monster when cave-diving, but there are still many plausible ways you can meet your end if you’re not careful. Speaking of which…

He Who Dwells Beneath the Waves

christ underwater, christ of the abyss, creepy
mjb_1911 via Reddit

This bronze statue of Jesus Christ was made by Guido Galletti and placed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy. Titled “Christ of the Abyss,” the statue was first placed in 1954, but it was removed and restored in 2003 before being returned.

The statue is a popular tourist attraction, and various other casts have been made and placed in other locations all over the world. It’s meant to depict Christ offering a benediction of peace, but many visitors find the statue more than a little bit haunting.

Cthulhu, is that you?

giant squid, deep water, rare creature
OceanX via Youtube

This is a picture of the first time a giant squid has ever been spotted in US waters. Researchers Dr. Nathan Robinson and Dr. Edie Widder dropped a deep-sea camera, called the Medusa, leagues beneath the sea in the Gulf of Mexico.

While reviewing the more than 20 hours of footage captured, the scientists began to worry that the mission had been uneventful. Then, all of a sudden, they noticed something very, very large come into the frame. Despite their humongous size, giant squid sightings are extremely rare, because the ocean is extremely deep, vast and terrifying.

Better hope he don’t want none

anaconda, scary snake, underwater creature
via Imgur

This gigantic anaconda has floated to the surface to take a peek at this submerged train. In case you forgot, these massive monsters are fully capable of swimming, sorry to remind you. But don’t worry, they don’t bite — at least not until after they’ve constricted and suffocated their prey.

The anaconda’s eyes are located on the top of its head, which allows it to keep its giant body hidden beneath the water until it’s time to strike. Fortunately, there are very few documented incidents of anacondas attacking and consuming humans.

Can ghosts swim?

shipwreck, sunken ship, beneath
rose_thoro via Reddit

There’s not much to find in Antarctica besides ice, death, and profound isolation. This boat sank while Brazilian journalist João Lara Mesquita and his crew struck the ice when filming a documentary. Luckily, the Chilean Navy was able to rescue the crew as the ship was sinking.

Waiting to be rescued must have seemed like days, as the boat slowly receded into its icy, watery grave. One year later, the crew returned to recover the ship. They were able to drag it from the depths but, by then, the water and cold had taken their toll, leaving it was beyond repair.

The first underwater photograph?

portrait, deepwater, underwater
Louis Boutan via Imgur

There’s some debate as to whether or not this is really the first underwater photo ever taken — but it’s well accepted that it’s likely the first portrait ever taken underwater. There are lots of fascinating rumors surrounding the picture, though it’s hard to sort out what’s true.

We do know that the man in the photo is oceanographer Emil Racovitza and that the photo was taken by Louis Boutan in South France, probably in 1899.

Rumor has it, Boutan and Rocovitza captured the photo at an astounding 164-foot depth and the exposure had to be set to 30 minutes to let in enough light to capture the image. Boutan allegedly suffered from Nitrogen narcosis as a result.

The deeper you go, the darker it gets

cave diving, freediving, underwater
josiahwg via Bunnyport

Unlike many of the other photos on this list, there aren’t any monsters, swimming or slithering about. At least not that we can see. Still, emptiness is terrifying in its own right — and cave diving is extremely dangerous for other reasons, especially when freediving like the gentleman pictured below.

In the dark, it’s easy to get lost in the caverns. If you run out of air and need to resurface for a breath and look up to find only solid rock above you, the cave will likely become your tomb. Personally, we’d rather leave the exploring to the professional photographers and their subjects.

Hope that ice is thick

deep hole, long way down, ice sheet
Import via Reddit

No one knows how deep this hole is — estimates range from 300 to 1,000 feet — or what’s at the bottom of it. All that covers the void is a sheet of ice. Stand on it if you dare.

In truth, it’s probably not as dangerous as it looks. The hole is full of water, so you’re not likely to plunge to your death down the bottomless pit. However, it would be incredibly cold — and who knows what’s down there.

Close to shore

shark close up, dangerous, close to shore
tornAtoe via Reddit

I should be safe if I don’t swim out to far, right? Hmm, maybe not. It’s unclear why this shark is swimming so close to the shore, but it’s unlikely it’s to go sunbathing. Shark attacks on humans are uncommon but, when it happens, tiger sharks are often to blame.

Unfortunately for us humans, tiger sharks are often found in the places we like to visit: They prefer warm water, so they’re often found in places like the Bahamas, Brazil, and Hawaii.

Davy Jones’ locker

deep water wreck, depths, old ship
NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research via Flickr

Deep Discoverer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s remote-operated vehicle used to explore and collect samples from depths up to 3.7 miles below the surface, came upon this unknown ship at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico during a routine exploration.

The Deep Discoverer, or D2, took lots of photos, which were used to generate a 3D mosaic survey of the shipwreck. Based on the organisms observed and the style of ship, researchers believe it was a merchant vessel that has been there since around 1830. Do we even want to know what brought it down?

Surfer had no clue

shark circling, underwater, close call
gabriellorden via Imgur

One day, surfer and musician Brad Coder paddled out in El Porto Beach, Calif. with his GoPro to capture some footage for a new music video. When he sifted through the footage later, he noticed this — proof he wasn’t as alone, as he thought he was.

If that was us, we’d be fine not noticing it at the time — and be happy that the shark wasn’t hungry enough to try a bite. Judging by its size, it’s most likely a juvenile great white. Luckily, these sharks prefer to feast on fish and stingrays. When they get older and bigger, they’ll start going after seals, and you don’t want to be around that.

That’s one big blob

giant jellyfish, Nomura's jellyfish, big jellyfish
YourFellaThere via Reddit

This Nomura’s jellyfish doesn’t just look scary, it really is dangerous. These invasive species have been wreaking havoc on Japanese fisheries for the last 20 years. The sting from their tentacles is extremely painful and, in rare cases, potentially fatal. Of course, the fact that they’re larger than the average man doesn’t help matters either.

The cause of the recent population boom of these terrifying cnidarians is unclear, but it’s dire enough to cause researchers to scramble for solutions, like grinding them up to turn into fertilizer or using them to make ice cream. One thing’s for sure, you’re more likely than ever to run into one of these things if you go diving in China or Japan.

The Mariana Trench is dark and full of terrors

dumbo octopus, mariana trench, scary creatures
NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research via Flickr

This is a dumbo octopus. While it’s considerably less cute than its namesake, you can see how its earlike fins lent this cephalopod its name. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ocean Exploration & Research, this is the first time this creature has been observed coiling its arms this way.

Side note: Octopuses don’t have tentacles, they have arms.

If you’re scared of this guy, don’t worry. You won’t run into one less than 13,100 feet below the surface. The Mariana Trench is about 7 miles deep, and it’s only been within the last seven years since man has been able to reach the bottom. James Cameron (yes, the filmmaker) is the only person to date to make the journey.

The edge of the earth?

underwater waterfall, island, deep
Flying-Pup via Reddit

This may not be what it looks like, but it’s still pretty freaky. This is actually an optical illusion caused by currents moving the sediment at the bottom of the ocean. While this may not be water falling off the edge of the world, the truth behind the illusion is terrifying in its own right.

The effect is caused by a sudden drop off the coast of the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean — it’s the edge of the shelf where the ocean floor suddenly drops from 150 meters below sea level to 4,000 meters. Aerial photographs like this one show us what it looks like when currents carry sand off the edge into the deep abyss.

Underwater plane wreck

plane wreck WWI, underwater, scary
Yanu ari via Youtube

This Japanese warplane went down during the Operation Hailstone attack — it was one of 250 planes that were destroyed by Allied forces, dealing a crucial blow to the Imperial Japanese Navy and clearing the path for an Allied invasion of Japan.

Three quarters of a century later, many of the destroyed warplanes remain at the bottom of Truk Lagoon. Above, a diver gets a closeup of one such plane, covered in coral — a sight that is both beautiful and unsettling.

Big wave

big wave, nazare, portugal
Luis Ascenso via Flickr

Sometimes. there doesn’t need to be a creepy creature or shipwreck to make the ocean terrifying. Sometimes, just water is enough — in this case, lots of water moving incredibly fast. Nazaré, Portugal is unique in that its coast is so exposed and, unlike other big wave spots, the ocean bottom there is sand, not rock.

This means there’s virtually nothing to stop or slow the massive swells as they approach the coastline. Surfers from all around the world flock to Nazaré to ride the massive waves, and numerous world records have been set there.

Portuguese Man of War

Portuguese Man of War, jellyfish, dangerous
Jon Seekford via Flickr

This blob can kill you or, at the very least, ruin your day. The Portuguese Man of War has tentacles that can stretch up to 165 feet. These tentacles are covered in nematocysts that deliver a barbed thread filled with venom that gets under the skin, causing partial paralysis, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, and excruciating pain.

It’s rare the Portuguese Man of War will take a human’s life, but it’s not unheard of. When you consider a long distance swimmer far from shore coming in contact with a string of tentacles, it’s easy to grasp why they pose a major threat. Oh yeah, they can sting you even when they’re dead, too. 

Help wanted: Must know your way around a broom

back scratch, crocodile, reptile, scary
monalistic via Imgur

These reptiles are deadly efficient at what they do. Crocodylomorphs evolved on land around 200 million years ago and, since then, they have only become more adept at killing. Sadly, they have never evolved the ability to scratch their own backs.

We’re looking for a hardworking, self-motivated person to fill the position of crocodile backscratcher. Must be hygienic, a great communicator and, above all, fearless. We’d like to fill this position immediately because our last guy, uh… quit unexpectedly. Apply online.

Welcome sign

sign, scary sign, cavedive, creepy
Greg Grimes via Wikimedia Commons

We’re not sure we’d need this sign to keep us out, but perhaps there are braver souls out there that need to be reminded of their mortality. This lovely sign is located near the entrance of a cave in Vortex Spring, a popular recreational diving area for experts and novices alike.

After 13 inexperienced divers perished in the cave in the 1990s, a certification program was instituted to make divers undergo specific training to be allowed access to caves like this one. In 2010, an uncertified diver snuck into the cave never to return. His body was never recovered.

Nightmare fish

terrifying fish, goby, scary fish
Distort303 via Youtube

According to Deep Sea News, this is some kind of goby, probably from the genus Taenioides. Whatever it is, it’s pretty ugly, and more than a little terrifying too. This thing is likely from muddy, brackish waters, since its small eyes suggest it doesn’t need to see too well — in case you needed another reason to be scared of what you can’t see in the dark.

Perhaps this creature is just misunderstood and doesn’t mean us any harm. All we know is that it’s hard to look at this fish for more than a few seconds without our flesh crawling. Anyway, that’s enough of this thing, let’s move on…

Capsized cruise ship

capsized ship, cruise ship, ship went down
Tullio M. Puglia via Getty Images

Cruise ships are supposed to be fun. When you’re four cocktails deep and on your third trip to the buffet, the worst fear that crosses your mind is whether or not seasickness will finally hit you during shuffleboard. It’s easy to forget you’re out at sea, miles away from land and safety.

This particular ship didn’t even have to sail out that far for disaster to strike. Unfortunately, the Costa Concordia struck a submerged rock, which caused it to take on water and sink slowly. Failure to hastily evacuate the ship led to dozens of casualties and the captain was brought up on criminal charges.

What lies beneath?

baby above the black, scary water
kevinttan via Reddit

We don’t want to know, but clearly this baby is unbothered by the pitch-black abyss less than a foot beneath his tiny feet.

Do you think ignorance is bliss, or is this infant just a lot more courageous than us?

Even still water can feel incredibly ominous. It’s hard not to imagine what could be lurking beneath in the pitch-black darkness. Sharks? Alligators? Snakes? Giant squid? Cthulhu? Perhaps we’re better off not knowing…

Nope

giant isopod, water bug, creepy, ugly
NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research via Flickr

This may look like a grotesque version of a pill bug, but it’s actually a giant isopod, or Bathynomus giganteus if you prefer. This handsome guy was caught in a fish trap set by Bob Carney. Giant isopods are typically found in cold climates, where it’s nice and deep. They’re considered another example of “deep-sea gigantism,” which essentially means the deeper the environment, the bigger the creature. 

They don’t really pose any threat to humans, but they still give us the creeps. Apparently, they taste a bit like shrimp or crab. If you’re not sufficiently creeped out, check out this video of them consuming an alligator carcass, for science!

Absolute unit

whale shark, filter feeder, large shark, big fish
onomonopizza via Reddit

These people must have gotten more than they bargained for while sailing in Papua West, when this gigantic whale shark popped up next to the boat to say hello. The giant mouthed creatures are a rare sight — they’re currently endangered — but like the open water in warmer parts of the ocean.

While their enormous size is more than enough to inspire terror, the whale shark actually poses almost no threat to humans. Their big mouths are designed to feed on plankton, not the flesh and bone of innocent swimmers. They usually pay humans little to no mind when they come in contact with them.

NEXT: The Spookiest Underwater Creatures You’ll Ever See…

Sarcastic Fringehead

fish hiding in something weird
Wikimedia

While the name “sarcastic fringehead” might not strike fear into your heart, it should. It’s a known fact that abundantly colored creatures tend to be deadly, and this horrifying fish is no exception. All you need to do is take a look at its terrifying face.

While this fish actually poses little harm to humans, its horrifying appearance would certainly be enough to make you jump out of your skin. Also, let’s not forget that panicking in the water isn’t necessarily the safest of experiences. You can find this colorful beast off the coast of the Pacific Ocean between northern California and Mexico. You’ve been warned.

Lamprey

lamprey with many teeth you'd rather not see
YouTube

The lamprey is one of those creatures that you would be better off never seeing in your lifetime. It holds similarities to some of our most ancient vertebrate cousins, dating back to sometime around 540 million years old. It is, undoubtedly, one of the grossest and most vile of all oceanic creatures. It’s safe to say that if this thing tried to latch onto someone, they would likely freak out beyond reason.

Other than that, the thing looks like a tube that was filled with teeth so it could tear right through anything and everything. Truly something made of nightmares. You’ll find these beasts in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Great Lakes. Now you know to avoid these places entirely.

Giant Squid

squid attacking whale
Wikimedia

The ocean depths can breed some amazing things. The giant squid is one such thing. Growing magnificent sizes due to something called deep-sea gigantism, the giant squid is one of the largest and most formidable predators of the sea. You can tell by these horrific scars.

Not only does it have long tentacles with horrifyingly strong suction cups, but it has a beak that it can use to peck through skin. While this thing mostly resides in the depths where humans won’t find it, simply knowing that it exists in the same water that you might be swimming in is enough to induce fear.

Black Dragonfish

fish with terrible looking teeth
Wikidot

If you haven’t realized it by now, the ocean is full of the most reprehensibly disgusting creatures on earth. The black dragonfish is just another one of these. It comes complete with horrible, goblin-like fangs that can rip through flesh, and a taste for blood that sends it out for the kill.

But, strangely, it is only the female black dragonfish that has these ugly qualities. The female looks black, slimy, eel-like, and just all-around gross and terrifying. Like the giant squid, however, you will only find the likes of the black dragonfish deep down in the sea. So you’ll likely never actually come across this horrifying creature.

Gulper Eel

gulper eel doing gross open mouth thing
Wikipedia

Fortunately, many scientists feel inclined to name species with a common term so we can all understand. The gulper eel is one particularly apt example of this. Nothing but a short look at the thing will reveal a great propensity to gulp. In fact, it looks as if its sole purpose was to gulp.

Like the anaconda, the gulper eel takes to its foes by swallowing them whole. All it has to do is open its mouth, say the rosary, and engage. After a quick few seconds, the prey will have slid down the gulper eel’s gullet, never to be seen again.

Frilled Shark

shark that looks like a shock puppet
Wikipedia

Frills are those things that garnish ornate clothing—and you can tell why this shark got that name. A quick glance at that gnarly head and you’ll see the frills. Regardless, this thing most definitely does not remind me of fancy frills and ruffles. It is just as terrifying as it is nonsensical.

Like most sharks, the frilled shark can be extremely dangerous. It is infamous for its numerous rows of sharp and deadly teeth. Many of these creatures have as many as 25 rows of teeth. That is a disturbing number of teeth. Keep this in mind as you meander about the ocean waters.

Anglerfish

anglerfish looking just as tedious as ever
Wikipedia

The anglerfish is one of the most stereotypically terrifying fish species out there. It has a giant, ugly jaw, a bioluminescent bulb, and a predatory disposition that says “leave me alone or I will eat you and your entire family.” You can just tell it has an insatiable thirst for blood.

Thankfully, we are not one of the foods that the anglerfish consider prey. The anglerfish makes its home in the depths of the ocean, luring in fish with its glowing blue light. Once a fish comes close enough, the anglerfish snaps forward and entraps it within its jaws. The result is what we call “dinner.”

Giant Isopod

crustacean at the bottom of the sea
Flickr

The giant isopod is a species of crustacean that looks otherworldly. As with most crustaceans, it has a hard shell that you would not want to bite into, some antennae that you would not want to bump into, and a bunch of tiny legs that are grosser than gross.

It’s almost as if you summed up all of the worst possible things in the animal kingdom and placed them into one creature. Anyway, the giant isopod is one of the largest of the sea crustaceans, feeding on animals that have died of other causes. In that regard, it’s kind of like a mushroom of the sea, only far more disgusting.

Goblin Shark

ugly looking shark with rather large nose
Fish of Australia

The goblin shark is a species of shark that I will never want to see. Moreover, it is one of those shark species that has a name so perfectly chosen that we balk at contemplating it. It’s almost as if the concept of goblins came after the discovery of this shark.

Regardless of what came first, the goblin shark is not something to be trifled with. While it’s small, it has an abundance of needle-sized teeth which, if they penetrate your skin, can leave nothing but a bad time. This is not a goblin with which you would like to tango.

Vampire Squid

squid in the water
Wikipedia

The vampire squid, despite its name, is not all that grotesque a creature. It doesn’t suck blood. It doesn’t squirt ink. All it really does is swim around with weird tentacle things, floating around in the water. So, contrary to most other creatures on this list, you needn’t fear the vampire.

But, again, as with most of the other things on this list, the vampire squid is something you’re really only going to find very deep down in the ocean. It lives so deep in the ocean that you’d have to dive down in a vessel to see it for yourself.

The Snaggletooth

ugly fish being gross on blue background
Fish of Australia

The snaggletooth has a disposition for death. Even one glance at the creature can strike so much fear as to render you completely paralyzed. We’d recommend that if you see anything that looks remotely like this creature, that you turn around and run (er, swim) away as fast as you can. Do it quickly.

These things are the stuff of nightmares, and if you like your sleep undisturbed, we recommend that you close your eyes and wish this bad boy away. Otherwise, you’ll be sleeping with the fishes—an ugly statement that originated to describe nightmares about this fish, we’re sure.

Blobfish

gross fish looking super gross
YouTube

The blobfish is more disturbing than it is spooky. When taken from its aqueous environment, the thing looks like a deflated (and not to mention disgusting) blob you would expectorate when sick. Yuck. If it doesn’t remind you of such unpleasantries, you might instead be thinking about its resemblance to a certain character from a certain cartoon show…

Either way, the thing lives at extreme depths of around 1,200 meters. This puts it far beyond the reach — and sight — of local New Zealanders, where the thing lives. The only time you have to fear encounters with this thing is during walks along the beach.

Grenadier

gross fish on dry background
Fish of Australia

Grenadiers are just as pervasive as they are terrifying. If you were to find one, the result would likely be that your shudder is one last quake of death. This is especially troublesome given that you can find the horrid beasts almost anywhere on planet Earth. This is another reason we should travel to other planets: They likely don’t have any grenadiers.

Fortunately, the grenadier lives deep down at the bottom of the sea. Here, looks don’t matter, and evolution will slowly guide you away from the pretty and nearer to the grotesque. After enough time, you will be so unbearable that you will never be able to reenter society. Sorry, grenadier fish.

Barreleye

fish with translucent eyeballs at the top of its head
YouTube

The barreleye is one of the weirdest fish in existence. Its head, contra to yours and mine, has evolved a translucence. The reason for this was so that it could see up and around it to watch for incoming predators. But another reason was likely to scare the bejabbers out of us humans.

When one looks at this fish, one can’t help but picture some horribly created B-movie where a monster tricks people into thinking it has candy. Only afterward would those people out that the monster isn’t some normal person working at a candy shop, but instead some terrifying goblin-type thing with a lust for blood.

Asian Carp

fish jumping high out of water
YouTube

Asian carp have some strange idiosyncrasies. First off, they’re not necessarily Asian—you can find the fish in North America in places like the Great Lakes. Second, they are considered a horrible pest of a species. But other than that, the fish also offer some terror. This terror comes neatly packaged in the jumping ambitions of the fish.

And what, exactly, is it that these fish do? Well, they leap from the water all at once, spooking anybody who’s nearby. When dozens of fish begin to leap several feet from the water, the result isn’t exactly a cool consciousness. Instead, it’s something reminiscent of a pestilence.

Fangtooth Fish

teeth on fish that look icky
Wikipedia

We’re not sure why it seems a prerequisite in fish evolution for all aquatic creatures to be ugly. We should really try and petition natural selection to start evolving some fish dentists to get the job done. I mean, just look at those teeth!

Anyway, the fangtooth fish is one of the gross, scaly creatures with a bunch of sharp teeth that you would rather avoid if you want to live. While the thing doesn’t necessarily hunt humans (you aren’t a deep sea animal, after all), they most definitely would if they could. You can just see the murder in their eyes.

Alligator Gar

gross fish with many sharp teeth
YouTube

The alligator gar is one of the most terrifying of the all the terrifying swamp-like creatures. If you had to rank them on a scale from one to awful, they’d scale pretty heavily toward the awful. The creature comes entirely equipped with a body that looks like an alligator, yet comes with a set of fins that lets it swim like a fish. Terrifying.

The alligator gar has some other terrifying characteristics. First off, it can weigh up to a staggering 230 pounds, making it one of the largest freshwater fish species in North America. But the alligator gar also has many interesting traits. It is, for instance, considered a “living fossil” for things like its spiral valve intestine.

Snakehead Fish

man holding large fish
YouTube

When a fish has the head of a snake, you know you’re in trouble. And that’s what we have here: a fish that appears to bear the head of a snake. What’s more is that it’s large, scaly, and slimy. But because the species is considered invasive, it is doubly worse.

Another reason the snakehead got its name is because of the unique patterning it has on its body—it looks like a snake! You see the striped pattern that makes it look as if the thing is trying to blend in. It probably is. The fish is so scary that it inspired the 2004 film “Frankenfish.”

Northern Stargazer

fish looking ugly
Wikipedia

The northern stargazer is given its name not because it has a penchant for astronomy, but rather because of the placement of its eyes. This sea critter has adapted to a life at the seafloor, where it preys on fish that swim above it. Amazingly, the way in which it adapted was to move its eyes to the top of its head.

If you see this creature at the bottom of the sea, don’t panic: Panic only makes it stronger. It’s like one of those mythical beasts you’ll find feeding on fear in Norwegian folktales. Unlike the sarcastic fringehead, however, this is a beast you will find on the eastern coast of the United States. Again, you’ve been warned.

Surgeonfish

Instagram via @kevin_mattson

We bet you didn’t know that fish have surgeons too! Yes, this is, in fact, a real fish. This is a baby surgeonfish that grow to be about a foot long. This type of fish is known as the “micro-tang”, which grows to look much like Dori from ‘Finding Nemo’.

They are commonly spotted off the coast of Baja, and give birth to translucent larva. This is actually a built-in defense mechanism because larva are defenseless, so this way they can hide from plain sight to survive.

Megamouth Shark

megamouth shark doing shark things
YouTube

When a species has “megamouth” in its name, you know it should probably be avoided. And this is in fact the case with the megamouth shark. The creature comes surprisingly well-equipped with terror-inducing glares. It’s when it opens its mouth that things get really gross, however. Those who find these things washed ashore often have nightmares about the ugliness.

Fortunately, the species is rare, which makes the likelihood of actually encountering one slim to none. Also, fortunately, the thing really only consumes krill and other small fauna of the sea. It took an evolutionary pathway that fed on small creatures. This wasn’t like other sharks.

Megalodon

shark in the water
Wikimedia

The megalodon is the most terrifying species ever to have roamed the water—or at least one of the most formidable. The thing could grow to the size of two full-sized school buses. But beyond that, the thing would prey on whales — whales?! Anything that has enough size to prey on whales is not something we would call our friend.

Fortunately for us, the megalodon went extinct tens of millions of years ago. But even if it hadn’t gone extinct, the thing would have preyed on other horrifying oceanic creatures like the great white shark. It’s hard to say whether the thing would be a nuisance or a godsend.

Saber-Toothed Viperfish

saber-toothed viperfish looking gross with its teeth
Pinterest

The saber-toothed tiger was one of those creatures we all raved about as children. It had giant teeth that it would have likely used to break its prey’s neck or puncture its throat. The saber-toothed viperfish is only slightly different. Although that difference doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be afraid.

Rather than use its giant (at least proportionally) teeth to break its prey’s neck, it uses them to puncture the skin and entrap them. These teeth are used to help immobilize the prey, such that it can’t escape. The thing lives in warm tropical waters. I’d keep that in mind if I were you.

Sea Slug

sea slug looking colorful as always
Wikipedia

The sea slug is not one of the most terrifying oceanic creatures. It is, in fact, one of the more benign. This doesn’t, however, make it unmysterious. One quick glance at the species and you realize that it’s emboldened with its bright colors. And you know nature’s rule about brightly colored creatures: in most cases, you should stay away.

The thing has teeth (hidden within that slug-like body) which it uses to tear apart its prey. So yes, despite its benign appearance, the thing has a penchant for flesh. If you see one of these guys in the water, we recommend that you turn around and swim away immediately. They’ve been known to attack the unsuspecting human…

Sea Cucumber

sea cucumber looking gross and slug like
Wikipedia

The sea cucumber does not seem like it would be one of those things that kills you upon first sight. Unfortunately, this creature has a defense system that can be lethal. When spooked, the animal releases a potent toxin called “holothurin.”

Once ingested, this chemical can kill. This is in part why the tribes native to California and elsewhere would use it (once isolated from plants with the same chemical) to kill off fish species: All you have to do is put it into the water. If you’re trying to avoid death-by-chemicals, we’d recommend you let these things be. Otherwise, you might get a bit more than you bargained for.

Black Swallower

gross fish with gross neck doing gross things
Wikipedia

One might ask oneself why the sea has evolved so many terrifyingly creepy creatures. And the answer would be simple: The water is no place for those who care about looks. You don’t have fish movie stars, or fish Brad Pitts. In fact, this thing is like the polar opposite of beautiful.

If we did have fish Brad Pitts, this would certainly not be him. Instead, it would be something like a Rob Schneider: popular at one point yet wildly inappropriate at others. Anyway, you might want to avoid this fish if you plan on doing any deep sea diving. The thing will likely scare you into some sort of paralysis.

Amphipod

a crustacean of the sea
Wikipedia

The amphipod is one of those strange creatures that glows in the dark. When you see the things, you might be reminded of ghostly spirits. The amphipod is not, however, of some ghostly realm. Instead, it is just a deep sea creature that has adapted to the floors of the Pacific Ocean.

These creatures, however, can evolve beyond the one-inch typical to such tiny crustaceans. These things can grow up to one foot in length. They are, in other words, some of the most formidably strange translucent animals you’ll find in the deep. We won’t in other words, see much of this guy.

Coffinfish

an ugly fish looking "derpy"
Reddit

The coffinfish is given its name because it likes to inhabit the coffins of the buried dead. Just kidding. The coffinfish is given its name because it looks like something creepy and resurrected. It’s not something you would really like to see while enjoying your vacation in the Bahamas.

Fortunately, you are unlikely to have such an encounter. The forebodingly named fish lives in the deep-sea environment, far sequestered from human sight. If you dive, however, you might find this thing expanding and contracting its size like a pufferfish. And if it is the thing you see, prepare yourself. Its shocking nature might induce panic.

Dumbo octopus

One of the highlights of the dive, a dumbo octopus uses his ear-like fins to slowly swim away – this coiled leg body posture has never been observed before in this species.
Wikipedia

When most people think of octopi, they think of those eight-tentacled things that swim with terrifying becks and attack whales. Not all octopi are like this. The dumbo octopus, as seen here, does not seem capable of attacking much of anything. It seems more likely to fly away with its ears than do any harm.

Clearly, the dumbo octopus does not really pose a threat. The only threat that it really offers is that it might induce you to die from cuteness. Maybe you see the thing while diving, get distracted and forget that you’re running low on oxygen. You’re probably safe around these guys, though.

Hatchetfish

a fish looking like it's about ready to eat
Fish of Australia

The hatchet fish is one of the more interesting of deep-sea creatures. Clearly, that’s because of its looks. It’s shiny. It’s ugly. And clearly, it has a ravenous taste for human flesh. If you see this thing, you had better swim away fast. The thing has a penchant to kill.

In reality, the fish doesn’t really pose a threat to humans — nothing that lives in the deep sea does. What this thing does pose a threat to is the fish that swim above it. What it does it uses it tubular eyes to detect movement from above. When it does, it primes itself for attack.

Blue-Ringed Octopus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Flickr

The blue-ringed octopus is, contra to many of the animals that have made their way onto this list, an extremely dangerous creature of the sea. If you encounter this extraordinarily beautiful creature, you will want to avoid it as best as you possibly can. As with many things in nature, it signals this with its beautiful and resplendent coloration.

The blue-ringed octopus has a venom that can kill very quickly. What makes things worse is that the thing has no current antivenom. So if you encounter the organism, you will want to avoid it as best as possible. It does have the potential to kill.

Moray Eel

gross fish peaking out behind the coral
Wikipedia

Eels are invariably disgusting creatures. One look at them and we say, “no thanks.” They have teeth. They can shock you. All of these things are bad. You can find these creatures in the South Pacific Ocean, so you should probably avoid that if you want to be safe.

The moray eel resides in the deeper waters, however, making it relatively safe to swim on the surface. Moreover, the thing isn’t really large enough to take on humans as prey. We should consider ourselves exceptionally lucky for this. We, for one, cannot imagine having to battle off these eels like Buttercup battling the shrieking eels in “The Princess Bride.

Big red jellyfish

a giant, ugly jellyfish floats through the sea
Wikipedia

Jellyfish normally aren’t the worst things in the ocean. The animals feared over them are as well-known as great whites to alligators. However, many people don’t know about the Big Red Jellyfish. Named for its formidable size, the meter-wide jellyfish looms the sea looking for victims. Definitely frightening.

Fortunately, the deep-sea jellyfish is not that likely to encounter humans. While it may be ugly, it doesn’t have tentacles that sting. Instead, it has “feeding arms” that reach out and eat its prey. Despite its size, we are not one of these prey species. And for that, we can be thankful.