18 Scariest Things In The Ocean You Didn’t Know ExistedOur oceans’ beauty is sublime, but it can also be a nightmarish mystery. Aside from its immeasurable depth, it is also home to eerie, uncanny, and ghoulish creatures and whatnots. Without a doubt, here on Earth, you can find the scariest things in the ocean.
At least tens of thousands of people are afraid of the deep ocean or suffer from thalassophobia. The fright usually stems from the uncertainty surrounding large bodies of water. But with numerous monstrous-looking creatures, ghostly shipwrecks, and things that are not even supposed to be in the ocean, there is no denying that the ocean can be the most blood-curdling place to be.
But how scary can something as majestic as the ocean be?
Here are the top creepy things and creatures you can find in the ocean:
- Sarcastic fringehead
- Zombie worms
- Bobbit worms
- Giant squids
- Underwater rivers
- Goblin sharks
- Australian box jellyfish
- John Doe skeletons
- Barreleye fish
- Bermuda triangle
- Vampire squid
- Great Blue Hole of Belize
- Feather star
1. Sarcastic fringehead
The sarcastic fringehead has a distinct jaw that fans out to the side like an alien creature and attacks anyone from their fellow fringeheads to scuba divers. They are highly territorial, so you might just get surprised by one without doing anything threatening aside from being near.
Sarcastic fringeheads are common in the coasts of California, specifically Baja. They live 3-61 meters in depth, usually in stolen burrows, shells, bottles—literally anywhere they can fit their body in.
2. Zombie worms
Several worms love to feast on carcasses on land—for example, the squeamish maggots. Down in the ocean, zombie worms do the work. They suck out the nutrients out of any bones in the sea, using feathery plumes splay. But that is not the scary bit. The worms you see enjoying their bone buffet are female zombie worms with up 111 males living inside them!
Do not worry. You will not be their next meal until you end up being one of the John Doe skeletons in the ocean. You are also less likely to see one because they live thousands of feet underwater.
3. Bobbit worms
Sand strikers or Bobbit worms are marine ambush predators with bone-hard grappling hooks and can reach up to a length equivalent to a human’s arm. These worms bury themselves in sand or gravel and can grab and drag their prey at 20 feet per second, slicing them in one go using their large spring-like retractable jaw with scissor-like serrated plates.
Although they offer no poison or actual harm to us humans, stepping on one can leave significant painful wounds on your legs. If they do not harm you, simply looking at them will give you the creeps.
4. Giant squids
It is not a myth; giant squids are real. These elusive giants that can measure up to 59 feet in length and weigh nearly a ton live in inhospitable deep-sea habitats. Because of that, we know very little about them, as researchers only get to study them after they reach the shores dead.
But in 2004, Japanese researchers were able to take the first-ever image of a live giant squid. Two years later, scientists and Japan’s National Science Museum successfully caught a live 24-foot female giant squid.
5. Underwater rivers
Rivers under the sea exist, and they look like a portal to another dimension, with the flowing water producing a fog-like barrier. Anatoly Beloshchin and his group of divers found the most recent one in Mexico. They called it Cenote Angelita, which flows around 115 feet deep at some places, with fresh water and salty water at varying depths, complete with trees and leaves flowing on the sea bed.
However, the sea rivers phenomena are not something new. There are various underwater rivers worldwide, with the one from the Black Sea being the most famous. The Black Sea River runs at more than a hundred meters deep in the ocean, flowing so enormously enough to be considered as the sixth largest river in the world.
Despite their ethereal facade, underwater rivers are not a result of paranormal activity. Usually, a specific part of the sea flows and carries a lot of sediments, creating a river bed or a body of its own, which is the case for the river under the Black Sea. But for Cenote Angelita, scientists believe that the river is a thick layer of hydrogen sulfide from the bacteria decomposing organic matter on the sea bed. Either way, these rivers look surreal, and as it comes straight from a Stranger Things episode.
6. Goblin sharks
There is a dreadful creature threading the dark watery abyss. It has a long body, a large nose for preying in the shadows, and sharp teeth. The Goblin shark lives in the open ocean near the sea surface up to depths of at least 1,300 meters or 4,265 feet. It can reach up to 10 to 12 feet long and is sluggish until they attack sharply and quickly at 10 feet per second, making them notorious for having the fastest jaws in the ocean.
If you ever encounter one, do not blink, or you will be sorry for your dear life.
7. Australian box jellyfish
There is no doubt that jellyfish are one of the animals living in the ocean that you want to stay away from. Their stings can be from minor redness, rash to a deadly paralytic effect. If that is not scary enough, the most venomous marine animal is a jellyfish, the Australian box jellyfish, found in warm coastal waters with lethal varieties in the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australia.
The box jellyfish has a box-shaped body— hence its name—and tentacles with biological booby traps or nematocysts, which are tiny darts that can cause paralysis, cardiac arrest, and even death. With their ability to swim fast up to four knots and see and target their prey, unlike other species of jellyfish, the box jellyfish is a sophisticated predator you do not want to play with.
8. John Doe skeletons
Humans reside above the ocean, on land. But strange enough, there are a lot of skeletons underwater, in the deepest and darkest parts of the sea. Many divers have accidentally found remains of John Does, not knowing who they belong to and why or how they end up down there. A group of archaeologists found the oldest underwater skeleton, about 2,100 years old, from the most ancient shipwreck ever known to man, the Antikythera Shipwreck, which was believed to have sunk around 65 BC.
9. Barreleye fish
Many compare deep-sea creatures to horrifying extraterrestrial creatures that Hollywood films portray, and the Barreleye Fish is no exemption with it’s a transparent head with green and shiny barrel-like eyes. Its face is even more confusing, with the eye-like organs above their tiny mouths being their olfactory organs.
They live in a sad area of the ocean, around where the sunlight from the surfaces fades to complete darkness. That is why, when looking for prey, they turn their tubular eyes upwards to see.
Social media crowned the blobfish as the ugliest fish to ever exist. Their frown and sluggish appearance can haunt your nightmares. But the blobfish only looks that way when it is out of water.
This sad-looking fish lives 2,000 to 4,000 feet deep into the ocean, where they look pretty normal. The change in pressure is what makes them lose their shape and end up looking like the blob they are above water.
If space has black holes, the ocean has whirlpools. When two opposing currents meet, they form a swirling body of water powerful enough to submerge large ships. But not all whirlpools are devastatingly robust. Some can be not very powerful and small.
The voodoo doll of the sea—Chimaera looks like someone took different fish parts and sewed them up together to make a new one. These tapered black (or pale blue) fish with smooth skin are closely related to sharks, skates, and rays.
However, they have distinctive upper jaws fused to their skull, four gills with an external opening, and three pairs of large permanent grinding tooth plates. Their large translucent and green eyes are monstrous to look at, but that is just how deep-sea creatures adapt.
13. Bermuda triangle
The list of scariest things in the ocean will not be complete without mentioning the ever-famous Bermuda Triangle, which has consumed more than 50 ships and 20 planes since the mid-19th century.
However, do note that despite several conspiracy theories, the triangle's mystery may be due to environmental considerations, like Atlantic tropical storms, the Gulf Stream causing rapid and violent weather changes, and islands in the Caribbean Sea that make up for shallow waters dangerous for navigation.
14. Vampire squid
Vampire squids are not squids but are cephalopods living fossils residing on Earth even before the dinosaurs. It has large blue eyes—an evolutionary wonder adapting to its deep-sea habitat, eight arms, and a curly strand for sensory purposes and also does not drink blood. Their name comes from their dark-colored skin.
15. Great Blue Hole of Belize
What may seem like a circle of void in the middle of the Central American east coast, the Great Blue Hole of Belize is a wonder to behold. At first glance, it may seem strange and an invitation to eerie feelings. But the hole is a natural marvel that is a sinkhole with surrounding corals and shallow waters, accounting for the perfect sphere and deep cerulean hue.
Researchers believe that the Great Blue Hole was a cave before the last glacial period when sea levels were lower. But the rising waters, later on, filled in the cave, hence its formation. Inside this 410 ft deep sinkhole is huge stalactites, dripstone sheets, and columns—the perfect example of a beautiful mystery.
Pycnogonids vaguely resemble spiders, with tiny bodies and relatively long, hinged legs. Despite their appearance, sea spiders are not related to terrestrial spiders. These Pycnogonida have tiny heads and long hinged legs, hence why they are mistaken for spiders.
They live in deep-sea regions of about 7,000 meters and feed by sucking juices from their soft-bodied cohabitants through a long snout.
17. Feather star
Related to sea stars living on the seafloor. They look like beautiful flowers at first but watching them swim through deep waters will leave you with a spine-tingling experience as it seems like a bunch of centipedes glued together swimming through the ocean. It is a mesmerizing experience as you do not know whether you should look or be disgusted.
Last but not least, the scariest thing you can find in the ocean is garbage. It is ugly, and it is a menacing threat to all lives above and under the ocean. Whether you enjoy a day at the beach or deep diving into the sea, you will undoubtedly encounter at least one or two kinds of trash.
What is even worse are the garbage patches around the world, creating islands of trash that do not even belong in the sea in the first place. One of the most notorious ones is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or trash vortex, spanning from the West Coast of North America to Japan.
There are about 5.25 trillion of plastic waste in our oceans, and studies expect it to go triple in the next two decades if no significant action is done. Meanwhile, most of the garbage in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not big plastics that you can pick up.
Instead, these are microplastics or remains of trash that are still decomposing. They are more threatening to marine life as they can quickly enter and poison unknowing creatures, even people. And 70% of these sink to the bottom of the ocean, with researchers believing that there is a heap of garbage underneath the garbage patch.
Despite industries, companies, and governments trying to make a difference by imposing policy, with the current amount of plastic circulating globally, the changes can only be minute. There is a need to redefine our relationship with the material.
“Industry has been saying, ‘We’re going to do better.’ Governments have taken steps. To the world, this will be the first eye-opening that our current efforts alone will not be enough. The global trajectory is going in the wrong direction. Clearly, we need a fundamental rethinking of our relationship with this material,” says Nicholas Mallos, the lead in Ocean Conservancy’s marine debris program, in an interview with National Geographic.
Saving the Ocean
Despite the horrors that may lurk in the deepest parts of the ocean, there is still a need for us to make changes in our lives that can improve its current state. After all, the ocean is home to a myriad of resources that are essential to human lives.
And although the damage may be evident on the parts of the ocean near the surface, whatever pollutants and degradation that happens still affect life in the deep sea.
In an interview with National Geographic, Bruce Robinson of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute says that deep-sea creatures are “threatened by ocean warming, decreasing oxygen, pollution, overfishing, industrialization, and dozens of other changes.”
The ocean plays a vital role in the ecology of the world. That is why we need to do everything we can to understand even the scariest creatures in the sea to know the best ways we can help them thrive.
If you can find sustainable alternatives to your lifestyle, go for it. Here at Wave Tribe, we have eco-friendly surfing gear made from natural materials like hemp and recycled plastics like the ones you can get from our eco-leash.
Help us do our part in protecting our waters by joining our Heal The Oceans campaign. After all, there is nothing more terrifying than having our oceans polluted and empty of marine life.
More Wave Tribe Reads: