Not all animals can be golden retrievers, but holy hell are some of them terrifying. In August, scientists working with the European Union to “minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing” caught a frilled shark off the Algarve coast of Portugal, Sic Noticias TV reports. The creature in question — which looks like a snake that swallowed a bag of knives — is considered a “living fossil” because it hasn’t changed much over millions of years.
According to Portugal’s Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere, this particular frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is a male measuring about 1.5 meters long. Though it was caught at a depth of 700 meters, these creatures have been found creeping at much greater depths, which is one of the reasons we know so little about them. Though sightings are indeed rare, frilled sharks have been spotted off the coast of Australia, Japan, and more.
In addition to looking like Guillermo Del Toro’s interpretation of a dog, a frilled shark has 25 rows of teeth of backward-facing teeth, with about 300 chompers total. It’s pretty much designed to be a stone-cold killer.
“It’s got all those hook[ed teeth] in there…if you’re trying to catch a squid that’s gonna be slippery and moving fast, you need these velcro-like teeth to come down and stop everything,” Christopher Bird, a PhD Student in deep sea Shark ecology at the University of Southampton, told Gizmodo back in April. “As it grabs a fish or squid, [the prey] can’t escape.”
The good news is you’ll almost definitely never be swimming deep enough to see one of these chompy boys in the wild. But if you do — swim. Fast.