True Facts about the Sea Pig

Sea Piggy

I’m a little sea pig short and stout…

Oh poor Sea Pig’s they really have a bit of a rough deal don’t they? For a start they live extremely deep in the ocean, in between 1000-6000m otherwise known as the ‘Midnight Zone’ and ‘The ABYSS’. Here it is very dark and you have to contend with giant/colossal squids as well as deep sea hydrothermal vent colonies that can basically melt your face off.

AGH!!!

Or this – AGH

But well, look at them. They really didn’t get the best lot when it came to looks; if you squint your eyes at their photo they kind of look like pigs. Well pigs with tons of tentacles for a face. They’re kind of like the vacuum cleaner of the ocean floor bless them.

land pig & sea pig

Land pig vs. Sea Pig. The similarities are endless including how they taste… If you like squishy, gelatinous bacon anyway

1 – So what do Sea Pigs have in common with land pigs? Well pretty much nothing to be honest. If you’d immediately started imagining poor sea pig rolling around on the ocean floor and eating pretty much everything in sight then you’d be WRONG. Firstly they are way pickier eaters; they will only eat the tastiest the ocean has to offer aka something that is less than 100 days old. As far as I know pigs would probably eat 2 year old pork if they were given it. I’ve definitely eaten dubious looking foods that are older than that, you’re meant to scrape mould off cheese, right?

shiny shiny

Aaaahhh soooo shiny

Secondly sea pigs are very proud of their cleanliness, I mean look at them – they’re so shiny and clean and… see-through. Hardly how you would see a land pig, unless you put it in a washing machine. Sea pigs aren’t just partying it up with the rest of the sea pigs rolling around in dead whale carcasses, oh no. In fact unless you pushed them over, a la cow tipping, they can’t really roll over. This is due to the fact that their legs, of which there are many, are filled with water by a hydraulic pump, therefore preventing them from doing this. No wonder they look so sparkly clean.

Sea Pig Herd

March of the Sea Pig – a less fluffy, mushier version of ‘March of the Penguins’

2 – You’ve got a friend in me. Sea pigs travel in herds not unlike land cows (maybe they should be called sea cows). Hundreds of sea pigs have been observed travelling together, combing the ocean floor with their little face tentacles. It hasn’t been determined whether they actually LIKE each other’s company or if they’ve all just ended up together because there’s so damn many of them down there. But to be honest how would they even know they were hanging out with a bunch of other sea pigs? It’s so bloody dark down there; it’s not called the abyss for nothing my friend. But it does make me feel slightly comforted that the poor things might potentially have some kind of social life to keep them going on a really bad day.

Check out this cute little video of sea pigs having a party:

 images

Ye GOD

3 – To make things even WORSE for the poor sea pig is they get parasites. Now those of us who have dogs, cats etc. we generally try to avoid them getting fleas and ticks, right? Well at least they only steal blood because the snails and worms that attach themselves to sea pigs get in and eat up their yummy internal juices. These parasites burrow into the sea pigs flesh, because let’s face it, they’re extremely squishy and it’s probably not super hard. Not only that but certain types of crustaceans actually get inside them and eat their INTERNAL ORGANS. God do sea pigs actually have the worst life ever? Luckily for the sea pig they don’t actually have a brain so the fact this is happening to them and the fact their life is pretty damn rubbish means they probably don’t give a crap.

Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber

4 – Sea pigs are very closely related to the sea cucumber which actually breathe out of their anus. Yup that’s right they have one hole and it’s multipurpose. Technically if you think about this it is actually very sensible, who needs all those extra ones really? Instead they happily mate, eat, breathe and eviscerate themselves (yep I’m coming to that) all out of the same orifice. Not only that but the ingenious little pearl fish has decided this is a great place to get away from all of the scary things deep down at the bottom of the ocean. It uses that multipurpose hole as a great hiding place, you could call it a symbiotic relationship but unfortunately the pearl fish does absolutely nothing in return for the poor sea cucumber. It doesn’t even pay rent! What an a-hole (literally).

Mmm lung tastic

Mmm lungtastic

5 – Ever thought you were so scared that you were going to poo yourself out of fear? Probably not but if you said yes to that question then the sea cucumber is right there with you. When challenged to a mighty duel by a let’s face it far superior predator, the sea cucumber’s defence is to shoot its lungs out of its multipurpose hole. Now I’m not really sure what this is meant to achieve, is it meant to confuse the predator, blind them with squishy insides or perhaps giving them something to nibble on while the make a slow escape across the ocean floor? Maybe this is what the pearl fish is for and it actually acts like a small, annoying guard dog when it’s forcibly ejected from its mushy, squidgy home.  This remains a mystery.

Sea Pig/Land pig!

Sea pig that’s actually a land pig!! :D

So remember people, you think you’re having a bad day? Well stop complaining or you might end up being reincarnated as a poor sea pig; living in the dark, getting your insides eaten by parasites and having a defence mechanism that involves shooting out your lungs from your bum/airway. Mmm

- Sarah

3 thoughts on “True Facts about the Sea Pig

  1. Pingback: Unusual and Amazing Underwater Creatures

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