Viral Nightmare-Eating Pufferfish Is Just Doing What It Does Best: Killing

The centipede didn't stand a chance.

fahaka puffer

If the enemy of your enemies is your friend, then this pufferfish is about to be your bestie. In a video that’s gone viral on Reddit and Twitter, a pufferfish eats a series of increasingly creepy animals: a centipede, a scorpion, and a snake. Besides the fact that this fish rips the living heck out of three animals that strike fear in the hearts of many humans, there’s just something about watching a seemingly innocent fish go from gently floating to shredding its prey that makes you want to root for it.

Here’s the thing: The pufferfish is not the underdog in this fight (if you can even call it a fight). In fact, even though we might think of it as a defensive creature due to its reputation for ballooning up when threatened, the pufferfish is equipped with a wicked strong beak that makes it a formidable predator. This particular individual is a fahaka pufferfish (Tetraodon lineatus), also known as a Nile pufferfish, which is well known to aquarium enthusiasts for being so aggressive that it must be in its own tank.

Here it is in action:

On Friday, reporter Jason Kirell tweeted the video, which he tells Inverse he found on Reddit, with the caption, “A puffer fish will eat all your nightmares.” Since then, it’s received more than 100,000 likes and 50,000 retweets. Redditor Toomad316 posted the same video on r/WTF around the same time that Kirell tweeted it, and it’s accumulated over 50,000 upvotes and 3,000 comments. Inverse has reached out to that user to find out whether they shot the original video, and we will update this story if we receive a response.

In the meantime, let’s revel in what a perfect killing machine the pufferfish is. As a baby, a pufferfish has teeth lining its jaw, just like we do. But as they grow up, these teeth fuse into a beak, which it uses to feast on its natural diet of crustaceans like crawfish — as well as anything unlucky enough to find itself in its tank. People who keep fahaka puffers in captivity generally feed them crawfish and shrimp. Some feed them live fish, but others warn these can cause infections if they have diseases.

But really, they can eat pretty much whatever you throw at them. Saltwater aquarium enthusiasts note that pufferfish beaks are so sharp that they must even be kept away from coral, which they can chew up. They’re just that dang tough.

pufferfish skeleton
A pufferfish's body is full of sharp bones that keep other animals from eating it.

In addition to its excellent attack stats, the fahaka pufferfish plays a very strong defense. Its bony spines not only keep it from getting chomped by bigger predators but also help protect it from attacks by smaller animals like the scorpion in the video, forming an armor-like barrier.

At this point, you may be thinking that you really want to get one of these fish for your home aquarium. But you should definitely think twice before you do, as they can reach 18 inches in length, requiring at least a 120-gallon tank and a lot of food.