The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

'Slime Eels' Explode on Highway After Bizarre Traffic Accident

On July 14, a truck carrying thousands of fish wrecked on Oregon’s highway, covering the road and at least one car in slime and creating surely one of the most bizarre traffic jams in history.

The culprit? Hagfish, deep-sea scavengers that look a bit like eels and are capable of generating massive amounts of anti-predator mucus at a moment’s notice. The Pacific Northwest is home to several hagfish fisheries that supply the fish to many Asian countries, including South Korea, where it is a prized dish.


Hagfish are eyeless, jawless chordates that burrow into their victims (usually dead; they're scavengers) and eat them from the inside out. Just so you know. Their copious and extremely slippery mucous somehow helps them in this process. They are found at the bottom of the deep ocean.

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