This article was originally published on October 6, 2018.
It's no secret that Lake Ontario isn't the best place in the world to go for a casual swim. Pollution has practically made it unswimmable in certain areas and, at this point, most Ontarians would opt for a dip in a swimming pool to cool off in the summer.
But even if you enjoy kayaking or paddle boarding on the lake in the warmer months, after you see what was pulled out of the water recently, you might think twice about wading in those waters ever again.
Earlier today, an account on Instagram called 905sidetv posted this video of the creature that was pulled from the waters of Lake Ontario:
*Warning: This thing is absolutely terrifying*
Now, initially, I thought this was some sort of hybrid between an eel and a Demogorgon from Stranger Things. But, after some digging, it turns out the terrifying creature is actually called a "sea lamprey." While it may look like an eel, it's actually a spineless fish - and, unfortunately, yes, it's a predator.
Probably the only thing more terrifying than the fish itself is the way Invading Species describes how it eats its prey. The website says that it "uses its sucker mouth, sharp teeth, and rasping tongue to attach itself to the body of a fish and suck the fish’s blood. Fish that survive the attack are left with a large open wound that can become infected and often leads to death." Not horrifying whatsoever!
Sea lamprey have attacked humans before, but apparently only in situations when they're "starving." But, honestly, we don't know if that makes us feel any better. While they were initially found on the Atlantic coast of North America, they've now made their way into all of the Great Lakes and continue to populate neighbouring waters.
Not only that, these sea creatures are actually harmful to the environments they infiltrate. Experts have routinely asked for the public's help when they cross paths with one. With regard to what you can do to help stop sea lamprey from spreading, Invading Species' recommends that you:
- Learn how to identify sea lamprey and how to prevent the spread of this unwanted species
- Don't put any live fish in Ontario waters
- Don't help sea lampreys pass over dams and culverts that block their spawning migration
For any other questions regarding sea lamprey, you can contact the Sea Lamprey Control Centre of Fisheries and Oceans Canada at 1-800-553-9091.