Elephant seal vs hagfish: trust us, this is unusual

The elephant seal is not the most attractive creature out there. It’s large proboscis resembles an elephant’s trunk, hence its name.

Perhaps even more ugly is the hagfish, a creature so slimy, the fish category wants to reject them for lack of a backbone. Hagfish, which has an eel-like body that slithers along the ocean floor are carcass feeders, usually with whales.

Here’s an interesting fact before lunch. A single hagfish can clog a bucket of water within minutes.

 An eagle-eyed teenager in the Ukraine saw something odd last year. A hagfish being eaten by an elephant seal. While watching the live stream of the ocean floor, Kirill Dudko spotted a hagfish sucked into the mouth of another creature. He sent an email to researchers in Victoria, B.C. Researcher Kim Juniper says when scientists read the email, they went back to the video tape.

“Monday morning we had an email from him saying, ‘I saw something strange and weird. Some monster just ate a fish in front of me. What was it?’ And that sent all of us into a bit of a flurry to back this up.”

Juniper told CBC News it’s the first time a seal has ever been recorded eating a hagfish, a creature so slimy other predators spit them out.

Photo credit: Aboriginal Fisheries Research

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