With animals found all over the world, we’d bet you think you’ve seen all there is to see; that’s where you’re wrong, oh so very wrong. These creatures have all adapted special abilities and can withstand the frigid, harsh, and extreme temperatures found in the polar regions of planet Earth. From the adorable to the downright creepy, we present to you the 13 Strangest Arctic and Antarctic Creatures.
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Although these guys don’t make their homes only in the Arctic and Antarctic, they make this list because, well, they do live in those places. Snailfish have the most species of all fish families in the deeper waters of the Antarctic region. They also have a wider depth range than any other family of fish but they stick to strictly cold waters, so any found in the tropics are deep-water only. The slimy-looking fish are highly-resilient creatures, and some contain antifreeze properties, making them able to withstand frigid temperatures. In May of 2017, the record for deepest living fish ever recorded was set by a snailfish caught on camera swimming 26,831 feet below the surface in the Mariana Trench. That’s nearly as deep as Mount Everest is tall, so they’re obviously some mutant form of super fish.
The springtail used to be classified as an insect but made its way from the bottom now they here, as an Entognatha, or a wingless arthropod. The reason for the change is the fact that they have internal mouthparts as opposed to the external found in insects. They are typically about .24 inches long or shorter and have segmented bodies that contain glycerol, which helps keep them from freezing to death, although it is still possible. Springtails also possess the ability to slow their metabolism down to conserve energy, and if stuff hits the fan and conditions get too extreme, they can shut down into a hibernation-like state. These heeby-jeeby inducing creatures can jump great distances using their tail-like, spring-like furcula that is continuously tensed under their bodies just waiting to be released and because of their jumping habits they’ve been given the nickname “snow flea. We’re just going to say that we’d probably freak if we found them on ourselves or our cats. Especially our cats.
4. Sea Spider
Alright, so this guy looks like a straight creepy-crawly of the ocean; somebody bust out the bug spray. But in all seriousness, meet the Sea Spider. A marine arthropod found in oceans all over the world, but extra large in the Antarctic and deeper waters. They’re not actual spiders, either. They’re classified as chelicerates, which makes them closer to spiders than other arthropods such as crabs and lobsters. These freaky bug-like creatures have tiny little bodies and really long, thin legs, numbering between eight and twelve. They have no respiratory system and a proboscis—basically a snout, or long tubular organ—that they use to suck necessary nutrients from invertebrates with soft enough skin to allow for penetration of the proboscis. They can grow to be up to 2.3 feet from leg to leg, and to that, we say nope. Keep your freaky self to yourself, Sea Spider.
3. Greenland Shark
Want to hear something crazy? This bad boy has the longest lifespan of any vertebrate species, with scientists believing they can live between 400 and 500 years; that means right now there could be Greenland Sharks swimming around that were around while the Salem witch trials were going on in 1692. These predators are pretty restricted to waters of the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. They eat things like smaller sharks, Arctic char, cod, herring, flounder, and eels, but they’ve never even been observed hunting. They have, however, been found with remains of animals in their stomachs that they’re not known to eat, like polar bears, horses, moose, and once even an entire reindeer body. The meat of a Greenland Shark is toxic; despite that, it’s treated and served in Iceland as a delicacy. For now. It sounds like they’re kinda flirting with disaster.
2. Eulagisca gigantea
This freaky fish-looking creature is actually not a fish at all, but a worm. Found on the seabed of the Southern Ocean, this little guy can grow to lengths of about eight inches and a width of around four. They almost appear like big shrimp, as they have forty segments and is dorso-ventrally flattened. They have bristles that can be used for swimming, self-defense, and probably crawling about on the ocean floor. The mouth-looking part of this worm is really a retractable pharynx that is the size of about a quarter of the length of the entire thing, meaning it’s terrifying. Its diet is unknown, but scientists believe that it is some kind of carnivore judging by the size of its jaws. Considering we don’t know what it eats, don’t get near one anytime soon.