When you think of ocean critters, we’re willing to bet you immediately think of the cute and iconic. There’s the big brown eyed Harp Seal, the Majestic Orca, even crabs have been cutified, just take a look at Sebastian from Little Mermaid. These are the creatures we tend to think of, but we often forget the hideous and disturbing, or just the plain homely creatures that inhabit the deep. Hagfish Day reminds us that the ecology requires all sorts to keep our world healthy and in motion, so here’s to the unloved critters of the deep!
History of Hagfish Day
So if it’s all about the hideous critters of the deep, why is it called Hagfish Day? Well, the Hagfish happens to have a lot of traits that make it disturbing, icky, and just downright unsettling to think about, but also serves a vital role in the ecology of the deep. It’s a creature that shares an appearance with the eel, only goes a step further into the realm of ick by having no jaw, no bones, and no scales even, it’s basically just a slimy lump of meat. Speaking of slime, the Hagfish oozes slime from its skin in such quantities that a 20-inch hagfish can fill a 2 gallon bucket in just moments.
Not quite squick-worthy enough for you? The hagfish also has one of the most unpleasant eating habits you can imagine. It finds dead prey and slides into its mouth or anus and slowly eats its way out from the inside, leaving empty bags of skin in its wake. It’s truly something straight out of a horror movie, and yet without them there would be a lot more carcasses littering the ocean floor.
Clearly the father of a million horror movie nightmares, the Hagfish stands to remind us that there are horribly unpleasant little beasties in the deep, but the world may be a much less pleasant place if we didn’t have them around.
How to celebrate Hagfish Day
There’s a lot of ways to celebrate Hagfish day, and most of them involve embracing the unpleasant. Creating a bouquet of the least attractive flowers you can find, writing haikus to all things icky and ugly. Heck, even watching a marathon of Dirty Jobs may be a good way to spend the day, after all, dirty jobs are what the nasties of the deep excel in, cleaning up the messes we’d just as soon not look at.