Stargazer Fish Looks Like the Babadook, Will Haunt Your Nightmares

iStock
iStock

Anyone who’s spent any time flipping through a National Geographic knows that the ocean is home to many wonderfully weird creatures. There’s the goblin shark, which thrusts its entire jaw forward to eat; the bobbit worm, which has truly terrifying jaws capable of slicing a fish in half; and blobfish, which look totally normal in their natural deep sea environment but resemble a pile of snot on the surface.

And then there’s the stargazer fish.

There are 53 species in the family Uranoscopidae, and they can be found all over the world in waters both deep and shallow. All of these bony fish are venomous; some have electric organs they use to shock their prey, and some have lures they use to tempt prey to come closer. These ambush predators use their pectoral fins to bury themselves in the sand and lunge out to devour fish, crabs, and anything else unlucky enough to wander by.

When stargazers are buried, their eyes, nostrils, and upward-facing mouths sit just on the surface—and they look totally horrifying.

The creepy fast of a stargazer fish.
iStock

A close up of the stargazer fish face.
iStock

Even when they're not buried, they don't look very friendly.

A stargazer fish.
iStock

In fact, they look kind of like the horror movie monster the Babadook. Don’t believe us? Here’s a side-by-side.

A babadook and a stargazer fish side by side.
IFC Films (Babadook) // iStock (Stargazer fish)

Sweet dreams!

[h/t Strange Animals on Twitter]

The Time German and Russian WWI Soldiers Banded Together to Fight Wolves

iStock.com/567185
iStock.com/567185

During the winter of 1917, Russian and German soldiers fighting in the dreary trenches of the Great War’s Eastern Front had a lot to fear: enemy bullets, trench foot, frostbite, countless diseases, shrapnel, bayonets, tanks, sniper fire. Oh, and wolves.

In February of that year, a dispatch from Berlin noted that large packs of wolves were creeping from the forests of Lithuania and Volhynia into the interior of the German Empire, not far from the front lines. Like so many living creatures, the animals had been driven from their homes by the war and were now simply looking for something to eat. “As the beasts are very hungry, they penetrate into the villages and kill calves, sheep, goats, and other livestock,” the report, which appeared in the El Paso Herald, says. “In two cases children have been attacked by them.”

According to another dispatch out of St. Petersburg, the wolves were such a nuisance on the battlefield that they were one of the few things that could bring soldiers from both sides together. “Parties of Russian and German scouts met recently and were hotly engaged in a skirmish when a large pack of wolves dashed on the scene and attacked the wounded,” the report says, according to the Oklahoma City Times. “Hostilities were at once suspended and Germans and Russians instinctively attacked the pack, killing about 50 wolves.” It was an unspoken agreement among snipers that, if the Russians and Germans decided to engage in a collective wolf-hunt, all firing would cease.

Take this July 1917 New York Times report describing how soldiers in the Kovno-Wilna Minsk district (near modern Vilnius, Lithuania) decided to cease hostilities to fight this furry common enemy:

"Poison, rifle fire, hand grenades, and even machine guns were successively tried in attempts to eradicate the nuisance. But all to no avail. The wolves—nowhere to be found quite so large and powerful as in Russia—were desperate in their hunger and regardless of danger. Fresh packs would appear in place of those that were killed by the Russian and German troops.

"As a last resort, the two adversaries, with the consent of their commanders, entered into negotiations for an armistice and joined forces to overcome the wolf plague. For a short time there was peace. And in no haphazard fashion was the task of vanquishing the mutual foe undertaken. The wolves were gradually rounded up, and eventually several hundred of them were killed. The others fled in all directions, making their escape from carnage the like of which they had never encountered."

Afterward, the soldiers presumably returned to their posts and resumed pointing their rifles at a more violent and dangerous enemy—each other.

Think You Know Sharks? Try to Sort the Real Species From the Fake Ones

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