Home Animals Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
Animals By Will Lewis -
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via BBC Science]

The Hairy Yeti Crab

The Yeti Crab, an extraordinary and mysterious resident of the deep sea, earns its name from the legendary Yeti thanks to its snow-white and shaggy appearance. These crabs are easily recongnized due to their remarkable features They have long, silky, hair-like structures that adorn their bodies. However, it’s not folklore but a fascinating reality that these crabs thrive in one of Earth’s most extreme environments – the hydrothermal vents lurking deep within our oceans. These unique Yeti crabs call the deep-sea hydrothermal vent systems home, scattered across various locations in the world’s oceans, including the Pacific and the Indian Oceans.
These vent systems are harsh and forbidding, characterized by intense pressure, searing hot water, and toxic chemicals. What might initially appear unsettling to some is that the Yeti crab employs these hair-like filaments to cultivate an exclusive community of bacteria. The bacteria residing on the crab’s hairs become the crab’s primary source of sustenance. This captivating adaptation isn’t just a quirk; it’s essential to living in the hydrothermal vent ecosystem. It contributes significantly to nutrient cycling and the survival of a variety of species in these extreme conditions. So, even though their appearance might be unconventional, the Yeti crab plays an indispensable role in an ecosystem that few other species can withstand.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Mississippi State University]

Ichneumon Wasp with Parasitic Larvae

The Ichneumon Wasp is a truly captivating yet often misunderstood insect that plays a unique and crucial role in the natural world. Recognizable by their slender bodies and distinctive thread-like antennae, these wasps can be discovered inhabiting a diverse array of ecosystems across the globe, ranging from lush forests to carefully manicured gardens. However, it’s their parasitic reproductive strategy that truly sets them apart, and while it might disconcert some, it is a phenomenon well worth exploring. They can be found all throughout North America in woodland areas.
Female Ichneumon wasps lay their eggs on or within other insects’ larvae, primarily targeting unsuspecting caterpillars or grubs. Once the Ichneumon wasp larvae hatch, they embark on a remarkable journey that is both unsettling and awe-inspiring. In a truly unsettling process these tiny parasites begin consuming their host from the inside and eventually emerge as fully developed adults. This parasitic lifestyle might send shivers down one’s spine, but it fulfills a vital ecological role. By regulating potential pest species and skillfully maintaining the balance of insect populations within their respective ecosystems, Ichneumon wasps contribute to the overall health and sustainability of these environments.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Critter Science]

The Repulsive Tongue-Eating Louse

The Tongue-Eating Louse possesses a lifestyle that is as bizarre as it is unsettling. This parasitic crustacean primarily takes up residence in the mouths of certain fish species, with a predilection for attaching itself to the fish’s tongue. Tongue-eating lice are most commonly found in the mouths of specific fish varieties, particularly those like the spotted rose snapper. Once attahced to the fish’s tongue, the louse then feeds on the fish’s blood vessels which results in the atrophy and ultimate loss of the fish’s tongue. Astonishingly, the louse then assumes the role of the fish’s tongue, continuing to feed on the host’s blood and mucus. This parasitic behavior may strike as gruesome, involving the complete replacement of the fish’s tongue, but it serves as a survival strategy for the louse, albeit at the expense of the host fish.
The Tongue-Eating Louse is undoubtedly gross due to its parasitic lifestyle, which not only includes the act of feeding on its host but also the replacement of a vital organ, the fish’s tongue. Understandably, this behavior can evoke feelings of repulsion. However, within the complexity of the marine ecosystems, this unusual parasite plays a unique role that raises questions about its ecological purpose. Some researchers suggest that the presence of the Tongue-Eating Louse might contribute to maintaining the health of fish populations by reducing competition for resources. Additionally, it can serve as a food source for other marine animals, in turn participating in nutrient cycling within the marine ecosystem. While its lifestyle may appear gruesome on the surface, the Tongue-Eating Louse adds a distinctive purpose within these underwater worlds.
Gross Animals That Will Make You Say “Ew, Why?”
[Image via Fox]

The Terrifying Tapeworm

Tapeworms constitute a peculiar group of parasitic flatworms that make their homes within the digestive tracts of various animals, including humans. They have elongated, ribbon-like bodies composed of individual segments. Their appearance often garners repulsion, primarily because their parasitic nature and unique anatomical structure. These parasites establish residence in the intestines of a broad spectrum of hosts, including mammals, birds, and fish, exhibiting a widespread presence that spans different regions across the globe.The perception of tapeworms as repulsive creatures primarily comes from their parasitic lifestyle. They thrive within their host’s intestines by absorbing nutrients from the host’s digested food.
This potentially causes health concerns in their host organisms, an unsettling prospect for many. However, these often villianized parasitic organisms serve a surprising ecological role. They indirectly contribute to the regulation of host populations by exerting a certain degree of control over the health and numbers of their host species. In the world of nature, tapeworms aid in maintaining the delicate balance of animal populations within their respective ecosystems. Despite their unsettling reputation tapeworms remain an integral part of the complex web of life by playing their role in the natural checks and balances that define our ecosystems.

Where Do We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

Blobfish: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/blobfish

Hagfish: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/animals-a-to-z/pacific-hagfish

Aye Aye: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/aye-aye

Naked Mole Rat:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/naked-mole-rat

Palouse Earth Worm: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/giant_Palouse_earthworm/index.html

Wolverine Frog: https://a-z-animals.com/blog/hairy-frogs/

Surinam Toad: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/amphibians/facts/surinam-toad

Lamprey: https://www.britannica.com/animal/lamprey

Tarantula Hawk: https://www.britannica.com/animal/spider-wasp#ref139531

Goliath Beetle: https://www.discoverafrica.com/blog/meet-the-goliath-beetle-the-worlds-heaviest-insect/

Giant Isopod: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/animals-a-to-z/giant-isopod

Probiscus Monkey: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/proboscis-monkey

Snub Nosed Monkey: https://primate.wisc.edu/primate-info-net/pin-factsheets/pin-factsheet-golden-snub-nosed-monkey/

Turkey Vulture: https://www.britannica.com/animal/turkey-vulture

Bot Fly: https://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/flies/human_bot_fly.htm

Yeti Crab: https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/yeti-crab

Ichneumon Wasp: https://bugguide.net/node/view/150

Tongue-Eating Louse: https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2022/04/28/tongue-eating-louse-eats-tongues/

Tapeworm: https://www.britannica.com/animal/flatworm