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Hagfish


By NOAA Photo Library (expl2941) CC BY 2.0

The hagfish has terrible table manners. It starts its meal by biting into the gill of another fish. Then it eats its way into the fish's throat. Finally, it crawls totally inside the victim and kills and eats the fish from the inside out. These hagfish have four hearts and they all beat with independent rhythms. They are also the only known animal with a skull but no spinal column.

Hagfish exude remarkable quantities of slime to repel predators. They then form their long eel-like bodies into a knot, working from head to tail, to scrape the slime off themselves. They can also run the knot in reverse, from tail to head, in order to get a good grip for pulling off chunks of meat from their prey.


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