The Top Ten Creepy Deep Sea Creatures

Updated on February 4, 2018
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K S Lane is a student of science and is deeply passionate about educating others on her favourite topics.

The depths of the ocean are some of the most unexplored places on planet earth, so it makes sense that the creatures who call the deep sea floor home are fascinating, weird and above all creepy. Listed below are ten of the most horrible, dangerous and frankly spine-chilling critters that dwell in the darkest parts of the ocean. Seriously, some of them are the stuff of nightmares.

10. Sarcastic Fringehead

The Sarcastic Fringehead doesn't look very sarcastic about the fact it's going to rip your head off. Also it doesn't have a fringe. Disappointing.
The Sarcastic Fringehead doesn't look very sarcastic about the fact it's going to rip your head off. Also it doesn't have a fringe. Disappointing. | Source

The Sarcastic Fringehead (named after my twelve year-old self) is a deep sea creature that lives off the west coast of North America. The fish grow to an average of a foot in length and have terrible tempers, which often result in 'mouth-wrestling' matches over turf. They’re creepy, and also really, really weird.

9. Giant Isopod

A Giant Isopod looking generally creepy.
A Giant Isopod looking generally creepy. | Source

There are 20 different species of Giant Isopod. The creepy creatures are bottom dwelling, carnivorous crustaceans and can grow up to 2.5 feet in length. They’re also somewhat remarkable, in that they can go for months or even years without eating. One giant isopod in Japan went for five years without eating anything before it finally succumbed to starvation and died. Needless to say they’re pretty awesome, but I still don’t ever want to see one of these guys in person.

8. Giant Grenadier

A Giant Grenadier being held by a scientist from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I hope he's wearing a nose peg!
A Giant Grenadier being held by a scientist from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I hope he's wearing a nose peg! | Source

These fish look pretty innocent, right? They’re one of the more abundant bottom dwellers, making up about 15% of deep-sea creatures. They don’t bite or sting, and they only look mildly creepy. The reason they made this list? They stink. The fish contain high levels of the compound TMA, which is found in human urine, sweat and bad breath. Imagine all of those smells combined and you’ll get a general idea of the stench of the Giant Grenadier. I hope the guy holding this one was wearing a gas mask!

7. Chimaera

A Chimaera looking fairly dead.
A Chimaera looking fairly dead. | Source

Chimaeras are fish that are distantly related to sharks. They can be found in cold to temperate waters all across the world. One of their defining features is the fact that their skeleton is made out of cartilage instead of bone. Given that they mostly inhabit the deep scientists have found it difficult to isolate their diet, but it is known that they’re carnivorous and mostly snack on worms, crabs, sea stars and clams. Yum?

6. Viper Fish

A Viper Fish. Just look at those teeth!
A Viper Fish. Just look at those teeth! | Source

The Viper Fish is one of the most fearsome predators of the deep, and for a good reason. When they get peckish they swim at high speeds at their prey and impale them with those long, razor sharp teeth. Granted, they’re fairly small and grow only to about 30 centimetres (12 inches) in size, but if you were an innocent deep-sea dweller (if there are any) you’d be terrified of encountering one of these creatures.

5. Fangtooth

A Fangtooth. The reason behind the name of this fish is fairly self-evident.
A Fangtooth. The reason behind the name of this fish is fairly self-evident. | Source

The Fangtooth gets its name from its long, needle-like teeth, which it uses to catch prey to great effect. While it may look menacing, it’s actually a pretty small fish, averaging only 16 centimetres (6 inches) in length. It prefers warm waters (which figures, considering it looks like it was spawned in hell) and can thus be found in the waters off Australia and other tropical regions.

4. Northern Stargazer

A Northern Stargazer. These bottom dwellers are ambush predators.
A Northern Stargazer. These bottom dwellers are ambush predators. | Source

The Northern Stargazer strictly inhabits the waters off the east coast of the United States. These fish bury themselves in the sandy seafloor and spring out to catch prey unawares in undersea ambush attacks. If that isn’t creepy enough for you, most species of Stargazers are electric and able to deliver lethal shocks to passing prey. The name 'Stargazer' presumably comes from the fact that the fish have their eyes on top of their heads and are thus forever looking skyward.

3. Giant Squid

The largest giant squid ever found was 13 meters long!
The largest giant squid ever found was 13 meters long! | Source

It’s the sheer enormity of this creature that makes it so creepy. The largest Giant Squid ever discovered was a full 13 metres in length and weighed almost a tonne. Given the sheer size of this weird creature you’d think that we’d come across them all the time, but in reality the giant squid is a highly mysterious animal. Most specimens that scientists are able to study wash up at sea and are found by fishermen. Despite their size the animals are effective and agile hunters and are able to catch prey from a whole 10 meters away by shooting out their two 'feeding tentacles,' which are lined with hundreds of suckers. Their eyes are also the size of dinner plates. The only other thing I have to say about this terrifying animal is thank God they can’t walk on land.

2. Goblin Shark

A Goblin Shark. These things look like they belong in another dimension!
A Goblin Shark. These things look like they belong in another dimension! | Source

The Goblin Shark is an extremely rare deep sea creature and is often called a 'living fossil' due to their dinosaur-like appearance and the fact that the species can be traced back 125 million years, making them one of the oldest sea creatures. The ancient animals are widely distributed across the globe and have been found inhabiting the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. They’re large for deep sea animals and can grow up to 4 metres in length (shudder) and weigh as much as 200kg (440 pounds). Want to know the best part? Scientists have studied the stomach contents of these sharks and determined that they must swim in both deep and shallow waters. You’re highly unlikely to come across one during your next beach vacation, but still. I’d much prefer it if these terrifying looking animals stayed as deep down in the ocean as possible!

1. Blue-Ringed Octopus

The Blue-ringed octopus doesn't look all that imposing, but it has a hidden weapon.
The Blue-ringed octopus doesn't look all that imposing, but it has a hidden weapon. | Source

The little Blue-ringed Octopus isn’t as physically imposing as some of the other critters on this list. It has no needle-like teeth or electric shock giving ability; in fact, its vibrant blue rings are almost beautiful. This animal gets its creep factor from the fact that it’s one of the most dangerous animals in the ocean. Found in the Pacific and Indian oceans, they’re highly venomous and, when threatened, release tetrodotoxin, which is a poison that attacks the nervous system and causes death in a mere 4-6 hours. The lethal dose is just 8 micro-litres per kilo, which means that for an average sized human half a millilitre causes a horrendous death. If that isn’t creepy then I don’t know what is.

In Summation

The deep sea contains a plethora of creepy critters that look like they’ve swum straight out horror movies. Most of the creatures stick to the depths of the ocean and therefore don’t pose a threat to humans, but the ones who do venture into the shallows like the Blue-ringed Octopus can be incredibly dangerous. And the best part? Creepy new species are being plucked from the ocean all the time. Who knows? Maybe there’s an animal bigger than the Giant Squid down there, or one that has sharper teeth than the Fangtooth. Isn’t that a nice thought?

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Sources:

  • https://list25.com/25-most-terrifying-deep-sea-creatures/4/
  • http://mentalfloss.com/article/56278/18-awesome-facts-about-giant-isopods
  • https://io9.gizmodo.com/5911216/meet-the-sarcastic-fringehead-an-oddly-named-fish-who-looks-like-the-predator?IR=T
  • http://www.sharks-world.com/goblin_shark/
  • http://ocean.si.edu/giant-squid
  • http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/fangtooth.html
  • http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/viperfish.html

© 2018 K S Lane

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    • K S Lane profile image
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      K S Lane 3 weeks ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Thanks ata. I read somewhere that we've explored our solar system more than we have our own ocean!

    • ata1515 profile image

      ata1515 3 weeks ago from Buffalo, New York.

      Nice read. The deep sea is an interesting place that needs to be explored!

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 6 weeks ago

      Humans are the super-predator.

    • K S Lane profile image
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      K S Lane 6 weeks ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Very true- everything is relative. And, unfortunately, to many animals WE are the monsters.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 6 weeks ago

      I remember hearing once to a mouse a cat is a monster.

    • K S Lane profile image
      Author

      K S Lane 6 weeks ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Robert Sacchi- Exactly! We've got Jaws, but in comparison to some of the creatures out there great white shark really aren't that scary.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 6 weeks ago

      Thanks for posting. Deep sea creatures are very interesting and often creepy looking. If someone is looking for an idea for a movie monster IMHO they should begin by looking at deep sea creatures.

    • K S Lane profile image
      Author

      K S Lane 7 weeks ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Thanks Linda- I agree. Creepishly fascinating!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the interesting article. The animals that you've described are certainly creepy, but they're fascinating, too. I love the first photo!

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