20 Hair-Raising Photos That Show What Really Lurks In The Shadowy Depths Of The Ocean

Our planet is home to a number of scary places, but it could be argued that the deep sea is the most frightening of them all. From blood-sucking eels to sharks with jaws which shoot out of their mouth, it’s a locale full of terrifying surprises. So on that note, we’ve compiled a list that might make you think twice about diving into the ocean.

20. A close shave

Some of us may be excited at the thought of swimming with sharks. In most cases, a participant will be placed inside a cage to prevent the aquatic predator from attacking them. But as we can see here, there are other individuals who find themselves inadvertently confronted by the large fish while exploring the deep sea.

The YouTube channel Jake’s Top 10 posted a clip of a diver who came face-to-face with a 6-foot tiger shark in the open sea. But instead of swimming for safety, the man is seen gliding alongside the fish for several minutes. The peace is then broken when a group of tuna arrive and the tiger shark takes a bite of out them – narrowly missing the hapless diver. Thankfully, a group of other fish arrive to finish off the tuna, and our swimmer makes his way to safety.

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19. The gulper eel

Below the surface, there are said to be roughly 800 different types of eel swimming around. And this jet-black gulper eel filmed in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument near Hawaii is definitely one of the more bizarre forms of the species. In the video – uploaded by the Exploration Vessel Nautilus’ YouTube channel – the fish seems pretty normal at first. But that soon changes when the camera takes a closer look under the water.

These types of eels have the ability to open their mouths extremely wide, “gulping” down prey if it gets too close beneath the waves. And we are given an unnerving glimpse of that in the clip, as the fish’s jaws are seen expanding to an incredible size.

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18. The barreleye

In the darkest depths of the ocean, you’ll find a number of bizarre animals moving around. Some of these creatures are truly monstrous and wouldn’t look out of place in a bad dream. While the barreleye doesn’t fit into that former category, you can’t deny that it’s a very odd fish. Just take a look at this clip filmed by experts at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and you’ll see why.

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Otherwise known as a Macropinna microstoma, the barreleye has a completely transparent skull. And if you take a closer look, you’ll probably notice two green balls in the center of its head too. Incredibly, those are the fish’s eyes. Thanks to the barreleye’s strange appearance, it’s also able to avoid incoming dangers from above.

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17. The vortex current

Deep-sea divers naturally have to prepare themselves for certain dangers. And aquatic predators will no doubt be at the top of that list for very obvious reasons. But should you factor in vortex currents? Well, if this YouTube video uploaded by Be Amazed is anything to go by, then it might be time to do so.

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The clip shows three swimmers who were exploring the ocean’s depths when two of them got stuck in a vortex current near Mexico’s Socorro Island. The whirlpool can be seen violently spinning the divers, who both struggle to break free. But the pair thankfully manage to navigate a way out and return to the surface with their lives. Indeed, it turns out that sharks aren’t the only thing to be wary of in the deep blue sea.

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16. The Portuguese man o’ war

With a name like that, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Portuguese man o’ war was a heavily armed ship. As you can see, though, it’s actually a rather majestic-looking animal that uses a so-called vertical membrane to traverse the ocean’s surface, like a biological boat sail. But don’t be fooled by its appearance in this BBC Earth YouTube video.

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Below the surface, the Portuguese man o’ war harbors tentacles that can reach close to 100 feet in length. These limbs also exude a deadly toxin that paralyzes its prey. And humans aren’t immune to the poison, so try not to hang about if you see a creature looking like this in the water.

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15. The bigfin squid

Squids can be scary at the best of times, but this nightmarish creature takes the cake. It was captured on camera for the first time at a depth of nearly 8,000 meters by staff from a Shell oil rig back in 2007 near the Gulf of Mexico. As we can see, this bizarre creature resembles that of a horror movie monster. Following that incident in the ocean, the animal was revealed to be a Magnapinna – better known as the bigfin squid.

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As you can see, the bigfin squid sports massive tentacles beneath its upper torso which measure in at over 25 feet in size. Indeed, even Captain Nemo would’ve thought twice about pursuing this monster from the deep.

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14. The lamprey

At some point in time, we all learn that looks can be deceiving. That’s also true when discussing the ocean’s wildlife, as certain fish are known to be more dangerous than they may initially appear. And the lamprey certainly falls under that category. It seems harmless enough at first glance, but wait until you see its mouth.

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The lamprey has a terrifying ring of teeth that grips prey in the water. The fish attaches itself to other organisms using its mouth, before drilling into their skin with its tongue. From there, it then consumes its victim’s blood. Humans aren’t immune to these assaults either, so keep an eye out.

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13. The cave

Caves can be wondrous places to visit and explore, yet there are a few downsides to them. One of the biggest relates to their various sizes. In other words, they’re not ideal locales for people who suffer with claustrophobia. And the same applies to cavernous spaces under the water as well.

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The website Ranker published a story by a Reddit user who went with his friends to some coastal caves in La Jolla, California. But while the man was swimming inside, a wave smashed him into the cave wall and cut his shoulder. Fifteen minutes from the shore, the individual saw three dark figures coming towards him under the water. Luckily, the unknown fish gave the person a wide berth, but it’s safe to say that the group’s trip back to shore was a quick one.

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12. The goblin shark

People have long been scared of sharks, and movies like Steven Spielberg’s classic Jaws certainly haven’t helped matters. However, if you possess a deeper knowledge of the ocean, you’ll know that the great white isn’t the scariest of these predators. That title arguably goes to the goblin shark.

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As you can see in this video uploaded by Slate, the goblin shark really is the stuff of nightmares. From its transparent skin to its horn-like nose, this aquatic monster is truly unnerving. But their jaws take the biscuit. They catapult out of the shark’s mouth, emerging like an additional head to catch their food.

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11. The sarcastic fringehead

Remember what we said about looks being deceiving? Well, that applies in this instance, too. The sarcastic fringehead can be found inside ridges under the water, resting its head at the opening. It doesn’t seem particularly threatening, unless you get into its personal space. Then you’re in trouble.

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The sarcastic fringehead becomes a hellish creature when it’s startled. As can be seen in this BBC Earth video, the fish’s jaw opens up to reveal a row of sharp teeth, ready to strike. And this creature has shown very little fear in the past, as it attacks anything that threatens its territory. And whether it’s an aquatic organism or a swimmer, nothing’s safe.

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10. Parasitic eels

As we highlighted earlier, there are many different types of eel out there in the ocean. This particular fish was found nearly 3,000 feet beneath the waves by a team from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. And this form of the species – known as the parasitic eel – will surely send a shiver down your spine.

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The clip uploaded to YouTube shows the parasitic eels attacking the bait laid out for them. They all swoop in at once and devour everything in front of the camera. Regardless of their size, do you really want to come face-to-face with that under the water? We didn’t think so.

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9. The Anglerfish

For the fish near the ocean floor, this monstrous creature is a terrifying sight. The anglerfish is a patient beast that’s not afraid to stay in one spot, knowing that food will be nearby. Thanks to its massive mouth and razor-sharp teeth, it can ingest almost anything that gets too close. But that’s not all.

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Anglerfish also boast an appendage close to their jaws that lights up – similar to a fishing pole. That subsequently gets the attention of other fish and often leads to their grisly demise in the darkness. Keeping all of that in mind, the aquatic predator certainly earned its “Sea Devil” nickname.

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8. The lion’s mane jellyfish

Providing that you don’t get too close, jellyfish can be truly majestic creatures to watch under the water. However, for swimmers living in Japan and China, there’s a particular type of the species that must be avoided at all costs.

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In this case, we’re referring to the lion’s mane jellyfish. Alongside its distinctive appearance as shown in this photo uploaded by a Reddit user, this huge aquatic animal can administer a deadly sting. On that note, we hope that the photographer in the background managed to escape before the surrounding jellies noticed them.

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7. One hungry crab

We’re all familiar with the humble crab, but have you ever wondered what they rely on for food? Well, this particular one was captured eating a bunch of fish eggs below the waves off the North Carolina coast by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. And it was both fascinating and disturbing at the same time.

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As the crab continues to work its way through the eggs, the camera zooms in for a close-up of its mouth. While it is an interesting sight, you might’ve noticed some other organisms sticking to the crustacean’s body. Those are amphipods, a type of parasite that latches on to deep-sea animals.

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6. The black dragonfish

Thus far, we’ve looked at a few deep-sea creatures that wouldn’t be out of place in our darkest dreams and nightmares. Yet this aquatic animal must be one of the scariest. Known as the black dragonfish, its striking appearance once again highlights just how terrifying the ocean can be.

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Due to the lack of light in the ocean’s depths, the black dragonfish has piercing white eyes and dark brown skin. Much like the anglerfish, it also has an appendage of sorts hanging from its jaw, to lure other life forms in. And as we can see from this YouTube video uploaded by Indoona, the creature boasts some vicious teeth as well.

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5. The basking shark

As we showed with the goblin shark a little earlier, there are a lot of creepy aquatic predators lurking around the ocean. At first glance, the basking shark could be placed into that category too. This creature has an incredibly large mouth, which provides swimmers with an unwelcome glimpse of its anatomy.

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But while you’ll no doubt look to avoid the basking shark’s opening jaws, here’s something to consider. According to Science 101, there have been no reports of this creature eating human beings; it instead focuses its attention on zooplankton. This particular one was filmed off the Irish coast by BBC Northern Ireland. And judging by its formidable size, you might want to give it a wide berth if you’re taking a trip to the sea.

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4. A feeding frenzy

When animals die in the wild, their bodies can attract scavengers from far and wide. For them, the carcass is just another food source. And the same thing applies in the ocean too. In this instance, the team from the Exploration Vessel Nautilus filmed a dead whale which had the attention of some nearby fish and octopi in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

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The clip uploaded to YouTube shows the group going on a feeding frenzy on the carcass. And even though the whale’s body is already stripped of its flesh and muscle, that doesn’t stop the fish from getting their fill from the empty bones. Indeed, it is a grim sight made even creepier by the surrounding darkness.

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3. Swallowed whole

The ocean is an unforgiving place at the best of times, with fish trying to avoid the deadly clutches of predators below the surface. Unsurprisingly, many of those animals don’t succeed, like this poor creature, which has been filmed again by the Nautilus team in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It’s firmly in the grasp of another unnamed aquatic life form looking for food.

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Over the course of a few agonizing seconds, this fish is sucked further into the mouth of its predator and is swallowed whole. Indeed, the clip shows an unnerving incident that further showcases the harshness of life under the sea.

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2. Christ of the Abyss

In certain parts of the world, we’re sure to find a multitude of statues dedicated to Jesus Christ. One of the most famous figures can be found in Brazil, as Christ the Redeemer watches over the city of Rio de Janeiro. However, if you’ve gone diving in the Mediterranean Sea, you might have caught sight of a haunting alternative.

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Back in 1954 a bronze figure of Jesus was lowered down into the ocean just outside Italy. Known as Christ of the Abyss, the statue ended up over 50 feet below the surface, attracting visitors from far and wide. There’s no denying that it’s an impressive piece of work, but, as this photo uploaded by a Reddit user shows, unsuspecting divers could be in for the shock of their lives.

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1. The sheepshead’s smile

Unlike some of the other entries on this list, the sheepshead fish looks completely normal. As you can tell by the creature’s appearance, it sports zebra-like markings on its skin and is reasonably sized. So why is it here? Well, take a look inside its mouth, and brace yourselves for a shocking sight.

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Yes, the sheepshead is hiding a set of teeth that look scarily human. It’s also got several rows of them throughout its mouth, giving the fish a terrifying smile when it opens wide. Along with the denticles found in creatures such as the lamprey and black dragonfish, these teeth are pretty unnerving.

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