Lance Burgos was on a fishing trip with his daughter in Louisiana when he saw a sudden tugging on the line. But as the dad went to pull his catch to the surface, he got rather more than he bargained for. Yes, this was no ordinary fish. Instead, Burgos had rather terrifyingly hooked a deadly beast from the deep – and it was one big and scary enough to put fear into anyone’s heart.
It goes without saying that Burgos is a keen fisherman. He’s so dedicated to the pastime, in fact, that he often posts videos about his water-based exploits on his eponymous YouTube channel. And in 2016 he shared his most popular – not to mention most spinechilling – update yet.
Burgos had taken the footage in question at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park in Louisiana. This nearly 6,000-acre park sits in the Atchafalaya Basin, which happens to be America’s biggest swamp. And for that very reason, visitors are encouraged to make their way around the area by boat or along raised boardwalks.
Burgos decided, then, that he’d venture around the park on its waterways. And to make the trip even more special, he brought his 11-year-old daughter Evan along for the ride. The pair wouldn’t have realized at first, though, that this would turn out to be an excursion to remember for one horrifying reason.
As for why Burgos was in the area in the first place? Well, Lake Fausse Pointe happens to be a fishing hot spot for those in the know. And as bass swim in the lake’s waters, perhaps Burgos was looking forward to bagging himself a couple of large specimens.
Regardless of whether he got lucky, though, Burgos set up a GoPro on his kayak to record his adventure and subsequently share his experience with his subscribers on YouTube. And on this particular outing, the fisherman caught on camera the very moment that something unexpected grabbed onto the line.
In the video, Burgos uses a green pool noodle – an item commonly used while fishing in the American south – in an attempt to ensnare unsuspecting lake dwellers. Typically, the foam flotation device is attached to a submerged line; when the noodle is elevated, however, it indicates that something has been captured.
And Burgos’ excitement is plain to see when he realizes that his noodle has assumed a vertical position. He then pedals towards the contraption and yanks it out of the water. But, strangely enough, Burgos has an altogether harder time lifting his catch.
It’s clear that the father and daughter pair have hooked a much larger than expected object. And in anticipation of the reveal, Burgos excitedly turns to Evan – who is behind him in the kayak – to tell her that he believes they’ve got something on the line. At that moment, though, the dad may have never guessed just what they had captured.
Then, as Burgos wrestles with the line, Evan reaches out a hand to help him. Doubt may have gotten the better of the father, however, as he warns his little girl to “be careful.” Taking heed of her dad’s warning, Evan therefore returns her arm to the safety of the kayak – a decision that may have saved her life.
Seemingly growing impatient to see his catch, Burgos goes on to give his line one almighty tug. But as he does so, an enormous, gaping mouth appears from the depths, with a row of fearsomely sharp teeth lining the almighty jaws. In a shocking instant, it becomes clear that Burgos has unwittingly caught an alligator.
The revelation is met with screams of terror from Evan and a cry of “Oh my god!” from her father. And in order to flee the danger, Burgos begins to pedal away furiously. Finally, he gains enough distance from the predator, after which he looks back in the creature’s direction and exclaims, “That is a big ’gator.”
Then, following his brush with the alligator, Burgos begins to laugh in sheer relief. Evan, by contrast, appears to fail to see the funny side, as she can be heard crying from the back of the kayak. And turning to another pair sailing nearby, she warns of the gigantic reptile, “It’s bigger than your boat.”
Yet while Evan is clearly shaken by the incident with the alligator, the brush with the creature seems to have given Burgos a shot of adrenaline. “Holy cow, it was right by me,” he shouts across to the other boat, adding, “That’ll get your blood flowing.”
Still, it’s not uncommon for people to spot alligators in the wild in the U.S., as they are are native to the southeast of the country. The creatures are particularly widespread throughout Florida and Louisiana – the latter state being, of course, the location of Lake Fausse Pointe.
And as American alligators’ natural habitat is freshwater, this mwans they can be found in wetlands, ponds, rivers, marshes and lakes as well as swamps. It would be fair to say, then, that Burgos and his daughter were in prime alligator territory.
Thankfully, the pair survived their near-miss with the beast from the deep. Burgos was even able to talk to New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune about the ordeal. He said in 2016, “We saw some ’gators throughout the weekend – but nothing like what was on the end of that line. My daughter and I got back to camp, and when we went to bed, we both said, ‘We’re going to have nightmares about this.’”
But even if Burgos did go on to have bad dreams about the alligator, he still shared his run-in with the beast on YouTube. And since then, the video has attracted over ten million views and more than 4,300 comments. In short, the clip has become a viral sensation.
Writing in the caption section to the video, Burgos explained, “See what I found on a noodle near our campsite. It wasn’t what I expected. Kayaking and camping at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, St. Martinville, LA, will never be the same.”
But while Burgos may have appeared rather blasé about his experience, YouTube users were at hand to remind him of how dangerous the incident could have been. “The moment when you warned your kid to not put [her] hands in the water might save [her] life. Congrats,” one person wrote.
It’s not always in open water that unwelcome beasts can rear their ugly heads, though; they can even lurk in the depths of a household fish tank. Yes, one man noticed that something had been eating the coral in his home aquarium but failed to identify the culprit – even after two years of searching. Then, as he was taking the aquarium apart, he first caught sight of the creature responsible for the coral theft. And when he finally saw it, he couldn’t believe his eyes – it was practically a monster.
That surprised man was a social media user known as gurutek, who in August 2012 uploaded an astonishing video to YouTube. As a tropical fish enthusiast, gurutek had a variety of exotic marine life in his large tank. The YouTube recording in question revealed, however, that a true horror of the deep had also been lurking within the vessel.
Before gurutek had put his video online, though, he had had suspicions that something wasn’t right about the tank – or, rather, its contents. And those suspicions had arisen after he had noticed an unusual phenomenon that none of the fish within could have been responsible for: specifically, the coral in the container was going missing.
Indeed, to gurutek, this was a clear indication that there was an unwanted presence in the fish tank. And not only was the coral noticeably absent, but a lot of it had also disappeared suddenly. “[I] only noticed because I had whole coral colonies missing after a single evening,” gurutek subsequently wrote on YouTube.
So, as gurutek wanted to identify the uninvited guest, he staged an old-fashioned stakeout. “I first saw it after I spent a few nights [sitting] up [after lights went out],” gurutek explained in his comments. “[I waited] for about three hours per night looking for the critter.”
And when the tank owner finally spotted the creature, he may have been surprised at its identity. That’s because the creature was none other than a Bobbit worm, and it was rather far from home. Bobbit worms are usually found in warm oceans, in fact, buried in the seabed.
Somehow, though, one example had hitchhiked a ride into gurutek’s fish tank and then started munching the contents. But even though gurutek was aware of its presence, the Bobbit worm remained elusive. What’s more, it seemed entrenched in its new home, meaning that simply removing the intruder was not an option.
“I only ever saw it three times within the space of a year,” gurutek wrote. “It [hid] in the rocks, and only [came] out at night. [It was] impossible to catch without taking everything out the tank.” And that’s exactly what he did eventually.
Indeed, in 2012 gurutek was deconstructing the tank with the intention of moving it to a new location. And while it’s unclear precisely how it happened, the Bobbit worm’s tail was severed in the process. That did little to diminish its huge size, however.
Then, when the worm was finally unearthed from its hiding place in the aquarium, its full length was revealed. And gurutek estimated the creature to measure up at almost four feet long. He and friends subsequently watched the huge Bobbit worm in amazement; they were particularly struck by its “tail.”
That may have been because the severed lower half of the worm was still floating in the tank and was even wiggling around independently. And, as it turned out, YouTube users were also fascinated by the sight of the Bobbit worm; to date, gurutek’s video has received almost eight million views.
Yet while one person in the footage suggested that they dry and frame the worm – hopefully in jest – viewers of the clip had other ideas. In fact, many of them wanted to be nowhere near the beast. “That thing’s f**king terrifying,” one YouTube commenter wrote. “How do you miss something like that?”
Others, meanwhile, thought that the Bobbit worm was so big that they likened it to an end-of-level video game boss. “That worm deserves a health bar,” one YouTube user joked. But you might be asking yourself whether the creature was actually that big compared to its sea-dwelling brethren.
Well, the Bobbit worm – or Eunice aphroditois, to use its scientific name – can grow much bigger than gurutek’s intruder did. Indeed, the size of the worm in his aquarium was only slightly above average for the species, as there have been recorded specimens that have reached lengths of around ten feet.
And it’s not surprising that gurutek didn’t notice the worm, considering the fact that the unusual-looking creatures typically lie buried until they spot prey. Bobbit worms use their head-mounted antennae to detect movement, and when they do, they strike viciously.
What is surprising, though, is that gurutek had any fish left, as Bobbit worms’ razor-sharp teeth have even been known to strike prey at speeds fast enough to cut fish clean in half. And not only are the worms fast and deadly, but larger sea-dwelling creatures may also fall victim to their toxins. So even if they’re not killed outright, targets may still be left helpless.
However, if gurutek has any ideas as to how the Bobbit worm even got into his aquarium, he hasn’t mentioned them. Still, a clue may come from the species’ mating habits. Specifically, Bobbit worms are known to be broadcast spawners; this means that when a female lays her eggs, they are fertilized externally.
So, perhaps a fertilized Bobbit worm egg was accidentally transferred with one of the fish and hatched in the aquarium. Whatever the reason for the intruder in gurutek’s tank, however, it hadn’t been the first time that one of these worms has made a surprise appearance. A similar incident happened in March 2009, in fact.
Indeed, staff at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Cornwall, England, found damaged coral and evidence of fish attacks, too. And as with gurutek, they subsequently uncovered the worm – which they named “Barry” – when the tank display was being dismantled. What’s more, yet another Bobbit worm was discovered at another English aquarium, Maidenhead Aquatics, in October 2013.
The fate of gurutek’s Bobbit worm, however, is unclear; hopefully, though, it was donated to a sea life center. After all, although not everyone appreciates these potentially destructive worms, they are certainly fascinating. And any opportunity to learn new things about unusual creatures should surely be embraced.