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Moray eels, which are known to live in most of the world’s marine regions, may seem like a fairly innocuous and harmless creature.
But underneath their ordinary and somewhat underwhelming appearance there lies an extraordinarily dangerous and gruesome predator.
Moray eels have jaws like aliens
Moray eels have incredibly powerful jaws and teeth, with their spiky fangs possessing enough raw power to cut straight through bone. As though that didn’t make them formidable enough, they also have something called a pharyngeal jaw, which is a second jaw concealed within their throats. Moray eels capture their victims, ordinarily animals like crabs, between their first fearsome set of teeth and crush their prey. They then transfer the body of their prey to their secondary jaw which crushes the creature once again and easily slides their broken body down the gullet and into the stomach.
If this unusual and highly frightening characteristic sounds familiar to anyone, they are probably aware of the terrifying science fiction character in the 1979 version of Alien. At the time that the film was made, scientists did not know about the Moray eel’s terrifying second jaw, but the trait had been observed in other marine creatures which are assumed to be distant relations of the Moray eel such as cichlids.
However, Moray eels shouldn’t give the public any cause for concern. While they are sometimes characterized as vicious creatures who are always on the look-out for a fight, they have only ever been known to attack human beings in cases of self-defence or a few odd instances when they have mistaken humans for their natural prey. The evidence suggests that they would prefer to flee from contact and potential confrontations with large creatures like human beings. However, as some varieties of the eel are suspected to be highly poisonous, perhaps human beings encountering these unusual creatures should keep their distance as much as they possible can to be on the safe side.
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