The vampire squid might just have the best name on the books when it comes to creepy creatures. But this unique animal has more fascinating features than its spooky name — with a Dracula-style cloak and a built-in defense system, the vampire squid has some of the most interesting characteristics of any deep-sea creature.
An Animal Like No Other
It’s no exaggeration to say the vampire squid is very unique. Although it shares characteristics with squids and octopuses, this animal actually has its own order in taxonomy (A.K.A., the classification scientists use).
But why aren’t these creatures squids? They even have squid in their name! Well, it comes down to a few of the animal’s characteristics. With eight arms and two tentacles, the vampire squid shares features with both octopuses and squids. However, its arms are connected by a web resembling a cloak, landing under the “Vampyromorphida” category.
Try saying that ten times fast! …Or even one time.
A Built-In Defense System
You probably already know that an octopus jets ink when in danger, but did you know some animals use mucus as a defense mechanism? That’s exactly what the vampire squid does!
When the 12-inch creature is in danger, it will shoot a bioluminescent cloud of gross, sticky stuff. Yes! Glow-in-the-dark mucus! Weird!
Deep Ocean Life
Vampire squids are “extremophiles,” a category of animals that thrive in extreme environments. In this creature’s case, that environment is between 2,000 and 3,000 feet below the ocean’s surface!
So, if you want to see a vampire squid in real life, maybe check out your local zoo… because getting shot with glowing mucus 3,000 feet underwater doesn’t sound fun.