Nature is just…weird. There are no two ways about it: once you get out of the “normal” human areas of habitation, nature turns out to be absolutely freaky. And nowhere is it more bizarre, baffling, and unsettling than in the ocean.

Case in point, the above photo is entirely safe for work–but only if your job is in a nightmare factory. Click below to see exactly what this monstrosity is. Just don’t blame us if you don’t sleep or enjoy your dinner tonight.

Meet the horse conch and its photogenic meal the lightning whelk.


In case you’re wondering, no, this isn’t actually something from a horrible hentai video. It’s a real creature–but it’s not from Japan. In fact, it’s not even from Asia. The horse conch and the lightning whelk are both native to North America. Interestingly, the horse conch is the state seashell of Florida, and the lightning whelk is the state shell of Texas. They’re as American as…umm…chopping down cherry trees with apple pie? We’re not sure, but when the photo above popped up on a Japanese website – and caused a tremendous amount of fuss, it should be said – we just had to share it with you.

Though it’s a little difficult to tell, the horse conch–the larger mollusk with the salmon-colored body–is actually eating the smaller, white snail at the bottom. Yes, the horse conch and the lightning whelk are both apparently snails. Sea snails, of course, but snails nonetheless.

Still, a simple photo just isn’t enough. You have to see the horse conch in action to really get an idea of how gross it can be.

Enter National Geographic. They’ve uploaded a video to YouTube showing how the horse conch hunts (unsurprisingly, very slowly), and it even includes a small-but-fierce crab battle! Check it out below.

Finally, did you know that these things are edible? Alhough it seems like it takes a little bit of work to get them prepared, these things apparently make quite the dish. All you need to do is flash freeze the conch, use a drill to release the suction holding the conch in its shell, pull it out and peel off the salmon-colored outer part, and then cook up the white body meat. Yum!

Well, we were going to go eat, but maybe we’ll just stay home and sob ourselves quietly to sleep instead. Ick! We will never look at snails the same way again…

Source and images: Byoukan Sunday, Wikipedia