Nature

How a 3.4-tonne nightmare slime eel apocalypse wrecked a highway last week


If you thought your commute was bad Thursday, it probably wasn’t as bad as what people dealt with while driving along a coastal highway in Depoe Bay, Oregon.

A truck carrying 7,500 pounds (3.4 tonnes) of hagfish – or slime eels – tipped over while trying to make a stop, tossing containers of slime-covered prehistoric fish all over Highway 101, according to The New York Times.

 

Only minor injuries were reported.

The eels were being transported to South Korea, where they’re sometimes considered a delicacy, The New York Times reported.

Check out the scene below.

Depoe Bay Fire District announced around 1:50pm PST that Highway 101 “just got slimed” on Twitter. The pictures really speak for themselves.

These slimy creatures are “hagfish”, or “slime eels”, which produce slime to protect themselves when stressed. They have remained virtually unchanged as a species for the last 300 million years.

 

Oregon State Police asked the question we’re all wondering.

You should toss your clothes out if they’ve been exposed, wrote Dr Andrew Thaler, a deep-sea ecologist and population geneticist, on his website.

As you can see, the hagfish don’t mess around when producing slime. A “single hagfish can fill a 5-gallon [18.9 litre] bucket with slime, seemingly instantly,” wrote Thaler.

 

Hoses and bulldozers had to be brought in to clean up the highway mess.

The fire department’s truck took some slime damage, too.

The lanes were eventually re-opened hours later, but no word on the smell.

This is what the hagfish looks like in its natural habitat.

Peter Southwood / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

And here’s the Smithsonian Channel telling you everything you don’t want to know about the hagfish. Do not watch if you have a weak stomach.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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