Man Moves Aquarium After Fish Goes Missing, Finds Huge Creature Inside
What Is That Creature?
When couldn’t believe what he was seeing when he first spotted it. Although he thought himself well-versed in marine life, he had never encountered something like this. He began to wonder as he stared at it in awe and horror.
How did it manage to get in there? Most importantly, how was he going to get it out? He didn’t feel prepared for the task at hand. But if he did nothing, what would become of the rest of his creatures?
A Fishy Hobby
Owners of fish tanks and home aquariums rarely confronted such problems. People usually keep marine life, such as harmless fish, coral, and turtles. This was precisely the type of animals that YouTube user Gurutek was used to. He was a passionate aquarium hobbyist who enjoyed keeping a variety of colorful exotic fish.
But then the day came that he realized he had gotten more than he signed up for and that his entire aquarium could be at risk.
Gurutek kept a large aquarium with an assortment of fish and coral. Additionally, he managed to ensure that the water was in optimal condition for aquatic life to thrive. But then, one day, he started to notice a peculiar phenomenon.
It appeared as though the coral in his aquarium was fading away. At first, he wondered if he was hallucinating it. However, overnight disappearances of entire coral colonies began to take place overnight. A problem arose.
He tried to come up with an explanation for why his coral would be vanishing. Coral is known to be devoured by some fish species, including parrotfish. He didn’t, however, keep any of the fish in his aquarium. To protect the health of the coral, he next made sure the water’s temperature, acidity, and salinity was at the proper levels. He also checked the remaining coral for signs of disease.
However, none of these elements alone could result in the sudden disappearance of coral. Although he could not place it, he felt there had to be another culprit.
He was obliged to buy more coral to preserve the colonies’ health because he couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the issue. However, he didn’t forget about the problem. He began paying more attention to his fish tank to find hints or indications that could help him find the solution.
However, despite his best efforts, he could find nothing wrong. Then, as he looked into possible marine predators, he made a critical discovery.
Hunting At Night
Many aquatic predators only venture outside to prey at night. Gurutek most likely couldn’t have seen whatever was consuming his coral for that reason. He, therefore, decided to stay up and sit in the dark in front of his aquarium. That was how eager he was to catch the perpetrator.
He finally saw some results after several nights of this experiment. He glimpsed flashes of something slithering around and noticed movement in the sand near the tank’s bottom. But it was just too dark to see.
Gurutek was unable to determine what the strange animal was in the middle of the pitch-black room. The creature, however, stopped moving when he turned on the light, and Gurutek struggled to see it again. Despite his failure, he continued to look for the animal a few more times, but over a year, he only spotted it three more times.
It was obvious that this was a critter that did not want to be discovered. But when Gurutek chose to move his aquarium, things started to fall into place.
Can’t Hide Anymore
Gurutek started the tedious work of disassembling everything so he could move his gigantic aquarium to a new location. He transferred the rocks, fish, and other components to temporary tanks. The sand at the aquarium’s bottom and a few bits of dead coral were the only things that were eventually left.
Gurutek combed through the sand with a long instrument until he discovered something moving. The creature finally showed itself.
Gurutek and his friends couldn’t believe their eyes as the creature rose from the sand. It looked like a water snake in that it was long and slender, but it also had bristly feet like centipedes and no perceivable head. That was terrifying.
Gurutek tried to catch it with a set of tongs after he had time to collect himself. However, the animal’s tail wholly snapped off and continued to twitch as the rest of its body furiously circled the aquarium. A horrifying scene presented itself. What was this monster?
After some investigation, Gurutek discovered the name of this aquarium intruder: a Bobbitt worm, also called a sand striker. It is a predatory worm that lives on the ocean floor and hunts by ambushing its prey.
With its razor-sharp teeth and incredible speed, it can easily slice its prey in half. Gurutek’s fish and coral were no contest for this frightful creature. What was it doing in his aquarium?
Bobbitt worms are usually found in warm oceans such as the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic, which leads many to wonder how one ended up in a British man’s aquarium. However, like many sea creatures, these worms are broadcast spawners.
This means that females release their eggs into open water, and the males fertilize them as they are discharged. Sometimes the eggs adhere to plants or rocks for survival, which could explain how one of them hitched a ride to Gurutek’s tank. So what did he plan to do with it?
Rehoming The Worm
Despite being fascinated by this otherworldly creature that lived in his fish tank for two years, Gurutek did not want to keep it. After all, it was a fierce predator with a powerful toxin that could kill or severely harm all the sea life in his aquarium.
So he contacted a fellow marine fish keeper, who was more than happy to take the huge worm and give it a new home. Meanwhile, Gurutek decided to share his discovery with the world.
A Fascinated Public
Gurutek uploaded the video of the Bobbitt worm to his YouTube page, and soon it gained a lot of attention — being viewed over 8 million times. Most of the commenters agreed that the creature was terrifying, and many suggested Gurutek should kill it, while others said he should dry it and frame it.
Others couldn’t comprehend how it had lived in his tank for so long without him noticing, which is a fair point. But there’s precedent for that.
Other Sneaky Worms
There are two recorded instances of Bobbitt worms being accidentally introduced into aquariums. The Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, England, once found a specimen in a tank display. Staff had noticed injured or disappearing fish, as well as coral, sliced in half.
Just like Gurutek, they discovered it while taking the display apart. A branch of Maidenhead Aquatics in Woking also found a Bobbitt worm in one of their aquariums. By the way, do you know how this worm got its name?
Many animal species are named after the scientist who discovered them, so it would make sense that this is how the Bobbitt worm got its name. But that’s not the case.
The worm is named after Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who, in 1994, gained international infamy by cutting off her husband’s genitals. It makes reference to the Bobbitt worm’s sharp, scissor-like jaws.
Just How Old Are These Creatures?
The Bobbitt worm is by no means a new creature to this planet. There were two cases in which Bobbitt worm fossils had been found. One such occurrence was in Taiwan, where the fossil found was dated to about twenty million years old, and the other was discovered in Ontario, Canada, where the fossil is believed to be four hundred million years old.
But such fossils are fragile and tend to dissolve, so how did these survive?
The Taiwan Dig
Professor Ludvig Löwemark and professor Masakazu Nara were in Taiwan searching for trace fossils of other ancient animals when they stumbled upon the twenty million-year-old Bobbitt fossil. In total, the professors discovered 319 fossils at the sites they were busy with.
But the Bobbitt fossil had them intrigued.
The professors took their findings back to the lab and started analyzing them. Thanks to a chemical analysis that showed that the fossil had a high iron content, they deduced that the fossil was a burrow typically made by soft-bodied animals.
The high iron content accrued because the worms tend to stabilize their burrows with mucus.
The burrow was L-shaped, proving that it was made by a soft-bodied animal because it can’t dig much since the ground becomes too hard. But the real proof came when the professors noted that the burrows weren’t the same size as other burrow diggers like eels.
The professors then compared the burrows to that of modern-day Bobbitt worms and found a match.
How Big Is Big?
The longest Bobbit worm ever discovered was found in an aquaculture raft in Shirahama, Japan. It was a whopping 117 inches long and weighed 15.27 ounces. But that’s not a common sight. A typical Bobbitt worm is about 3 feet long.
However, some larger worms- approximately the size of the one found in Japan- have also been found in Australia and the Iberian Peninsula.
A Bobbitt worm’s entire body is rarely seen since they are concealed by their burrows, making them stealthy predators. Once prey falls victim to their traps, Bobbitt worms instantly act. They will rapidly thrust their bodies out of their den and snag their prize.
The unfortunate prey spends its last moments in the den with the nightmarish creature.
Bobbitt worms have eyes on the front section of their heads, but they are practically blind. Instead of seeing their prey, they sense them with their antennae.
They don’t have a brain, though. They rely on a large sector of nerve cell clusters in their autonomic nervous system instead of spending the day thinking about fish.
Prey Is Not Helpless
Over time fish have come up with a deterrent for Bobbitt worm attacks. Certain tropical fish like the Peters’ monocle beam tend to throw sharp jets of water at Bobbitt worms when they try to attack, and they often don’t act alone.
Once one sees it, the rest will join the defense.
A Bobbitt worm’s jaws are wider than its body when they are fully extended. The Bobbitt worm will often be completely hidden in its burrow, with only its wide, extended jaws sticking out as it waits for its next meal to approach.
And those jaws are strong enough to cut its prey in half.
Power Of Bristles
The Bobbitt worm’s body is covered in powerful bristles that allow them to grip onto the walls of its burrows and quickly push out when prey is within its grasp. It also helps them to pull their prey in.
But the Bobbit worm is not the only ocean creature that knows how to pack a punch.
The Mantis Shrimp is a small creature- only about 0.4-11.8 inches in length- and it’s a real beauty. But this shrimp can pack a punch that will leave its enemies wobbling. Nothing is confirmed, but it’s said they could have the fastest punch known to science.
Could that be true?
Mantis Shrimp are among the most important predators in many of their habitats, but they are often misunderstood. Many shrimps burrow underground or take shelter in holes, but some of them prefer fighting over hiding.
They can spear, stun and dismember their prey, but what about their predators?
Interactions With Humans
Humans who handled shrimps incautiously often report having painful wounds caused by the shrimps, but how can such a tiny critter possibly inflict such injuries on a human? It’s all in the name. Mantis shrimp either have calcified “clubs” or sharp forelimbs which help them defend themselves or strike their prey.
That’s what makes the Mantis Shrimp such a powerful puncher.
When a mantis shrimp strikes, its movement is fifty times faster than the blink of an eye. Its acceleration is faster than a .22 caliber bullet, and that alone can cause severe damage to whatever it is within striking distance.
But the damage isn’t the only thing such a fast strike does, especially not underwater.
Unique Side Effect
The punch of a Mantis Shrimp is so powerful and fast that it boils the water around it. So even if the punch doesn’t connect, the swirl of boiling water that follows is sure to do something to its predator or prey.
But their punch isn’t the only thing that makes them unique. They also have odd mating behavior.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.