Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s previous World of Wonder columns for The Butter can be found here.
This translucent little cutie can fit in the palm of your hand and eats “marine snow”—that tasty bit o’ sea life dander and detritus that sloooowly trickles down to the very bottom of the ocean floor. Scotoplanes globosa is a type of sea cucumber that sports five to seven pairs of tube feet, which can be inflated/deflated to scoot-march around on the ocean floor.
Sea pigs live in the coldest and deepest parts of the ocean—about four miles below the water’s surface. In fact, they’ve been found in every single one of the planet’s oceans, but no one knows how they reproduce or how long they live on average because their bodies are so darn fragile—one false move and pop! goes the sea pig’s skin.
Here is what they look like in motion (but keep in mind this already slow video is sped up ten times already!):
Sea pigs are usually found numbering in the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) where a particularly juicy patch of marine snow has gathered, or even better—when a shark carcass makes it all the way down to the ocean floor. What makes the sea pigs particularly hypnotizing when they feast is that they all face the same direction, munching to their content on the carcass, facing into the ocean current, which is thought to help them sense out and sniff where their next food party should take place.
Speaking of food parties, O Wonder Readers, I want to hear from you: What animal’s eating habits have YOU found particularly mesmerizing? Or so horrifying you couldn’t possibly look away, so you stared and stared with a scrunched-up face instead? And p.s.: don’t be sassy and name a human for this! No, you cannot include your yucky ex-roommate, har dee har har. But bonus points and sequins if you can include a video to show said feeding frenzy!
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Lucky Fish. She is a professor of English and teaches poetry and environmental lit at a small college in Western New York. She is obsessed with peacocks, jellyfish, and school supplies. Follow her on Twitter: @aimeenez.