You’ve been slimed! Truckload of eels shuts down highway

Accident happened last Thursday in Oregon after a truck carrying 3,400 kgs (7,500 lbs.) of hagfish tipped over
hagfish slime eels Imagine a truckload of these critters being dumped on the road in front of you! (© Ffennema | Dreamstime)

Ever see a large, unmarked truck passing by on the highway and think to yourself: Hey, I wonder what's in there?

Maybe it's a refrigerated truck full of ice cream sandwiches! Or perhaps it's transporting a bunch of video game systems and TVs!

Or, maybe... it's carrying several tons of slime eels on their way to South Korea.

And maybe... just maybe... it's, uh, TIPPING OVER RIGHT NOW!


Yep, that really happened

Last Thursday on Highway 101 near the coastal city of Depoe Bay, Oregon, a truck tipped over while trying to come to a stop. In the process, it dumped its entire cargo on to the road. That cargo? 3,400 kgs (7,500 lbs.) of hagfish.

That sounds pretty messy at the best of times, but a unique trait of the hagfish turned this traffic accident into a stop at gross-out factory. Hagfish are also known as slime eels. It's a good name.

Masters of slime

When under attack, the hagfish quickly produces an unbelievable amount of slime. In the wild, this makes them both difficult to grab and also just gross. Imagine being a shark thinking you're getting a snack of tasty noodle fish only to have your mouth suddenly full of sea snot!

Of course, to be a truly effective defence, these creatures would need to be able to produce a lot of slime and fast. And can they ever! It is reported that just one of these creatures can produce enough slime to fill an 18 L (5 gallon) bucket in seconds.

Now imagine what thousands of these frightened creatures can do when suddenly dumped on to an open road...

Who's cleaning this mess up?

Thankfully, only minor injuries were reported at the accident. But members of the Oregon State Police and Defoe Bay Fire Department aren't likely to forget the day they spent cleaning tons of hagfish and slime off of Highway 101.

In case you're curious (we know you are!) here's a great video showing more about what hagfish can do. Enjoy!

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