Ready your barf bags, because this footage will make your stomach churn. On Thursday, a truck full of live eels on their way to Korea “for consumption” overturned on Highway 101 in Oregon. What resulted was a nightmarish explosion of live water snakes and viscous, milky goo all over the sedan that happened to be driving behind the Truck o’ Eels and the surrounding highway.
Luckily for anyone with strange curiosities, both the Depoe Bay Fire District and the Oregon State Police tweeted out photos of the nauseating scene. Perhaps this is the future of strange local news, in which stories that would have become state-level lore are trumpeted out to a larger audience via Twitter. Would we have known about the fate of these thousands of eels strewn across the unforgiving soil of Oregon, if only the local Fire Department didn’t recruit a social media employee with such good taste in stories? Probably not.
The Fire Department said the highway had been “slimed,” and that no one was injured, though, arguably, many, many eels were definitely injured while being flung wetly all over the road.
If you can stomach those photos and you’re still hungry for more cylindrical creature gore, check out the video the Fire Department tweeted at Oregon’s Department of Transportation. In the final few seconds, the camera pans to a tractor scraping dead or dying eels across the asphalt. The moment will either make you gasp or laugh, depending on your feelings on Anguilliformes.
As The Oregonian reports, “The highway is down to one lane in the area of the crash, and travelers should expect delays, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. The agency estimates the highway will completely reopen around 3 p.m.” Though the eel explosion didn’t result in any human causalities, their stench and presence on the road will continue to be a minor inconvenience for many Oregonians, at least for a few hours. As for the rest of us, we’ll always have Twitter.
Update: Kelsey Kennedy at Atlas Obscura points out that the eels are actually hagfish, creatures which secrete the white goo visible in the photos when they’re in distress. Kennedy reports, “Slime from just one hagfish can grow to five gallons, which means things got pretty gross when cleanup crews took hoses to the mess.” That means the sheer panic experienced by the slimy creatures was made tangible all over Oregon. Anyone driving through the mess was getting fear-goo all over their tires.
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