As film enthusiasts know, some of the greatest movie monsters of all time are based on the real-life animals walking, flying, and swimming around the planet. While there's no shortage of weird animals out there in nature, they become even weirder once you zoom in on specific body parts - like their mouths. These terrifying animal mouths might give you nightmares. The mouths of the anglerfish or payara bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the xenomorph from Alien, and the hagfish is like something straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft story.
But that's just the beginning of the terrors nature has to offer, at least as far as mandibles, tongues, and teeth go. This list just might make you second guess how cute penguins are, or your decision to adopt a pet tortoise. If you ever find yourself on land or in the water with one of these terrifying creatures, remember: don't look it straight in the mouth. You will freak out.
1. Leatherback Sea Turtle
The mouths of leatherback sea turtles are filled with large (and odd looking) oral papillae, mostly made of cartilage. This turtle generally feeds on jellyfish, which are known to sting. The papillae help protect the turtle's mouth and throat as it swallows its prey.Is this terrifying?
2. Sea Lamprey
A sea lamprey is kind of like a deep-sea leech, but much more terrifying. Lampreys act as parasites to sharks and other large fish, attaching multiple rows of circular teeth and suckling from their prey.Is this terrifying?
Anglerfish live very deep in the ocean. They have what is essentially a "fishing rod" attached to their foreheads, which they use to lure in prey before they chomp down their enormous, terrifying jaws on a hypnotized victim.Is this terrifying?
Hagfish mostly feed on weaker, injured fish. Their unique sideways teeth help them eat. When an injured fish drops to the ocean floor, hagfish will swarm the carcass. They hook the fish's flesh by shooting out their tongues, then reeling them back in. When the tongue passes back through the teeth, the teeth close on the decaying flesh.Is this terrifying?