As if bringing us a horrifyingly awesome deep-sea version of Ariel wasn’t enough – no really, go look at it – the crew at BuzzFeed have come through again with these “scientifically accurate” renditions of Ursula. Of course, mermaids and sea witches only exist in fairytales, but if this classic villain evolved under different seas, she’d be quite the mother cussin’ boss.
Folks that cross paths with this little witch will walk away with several gifts: breathless screaming, facial numbness, uncontrollable vomiting, oh, and death. Poor, unfortunate souls. Barely the length of a pencil, the blue-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena maculosa) packs a potent venom laced with tetrodotoxin, the same element that makes pufferfish meat so dangerous to eat. Once it enters the bloodstream, tetrodotoxin blocks communication between the nervous system and the body’s muscles, causing a fast-spreading paralysis. A single octopus holds enough tetrodotoxin to suffocate 10 mermen. That said, these small animals aren’t out for blood. They feed on crabs and other crustaceans, and most bites occur when clumsy humans accidentally step on them. That bright coloration acts as a warning sign, a way of saying “back off.” How do these tentacled wizards change color? Find out here!
When she wasn’t busy shrinking mer-people for her soul garden, this menacing creature would spend her nights fending off sperm whales 6,560 feet (2,000 meters) below the surface. Equipped with a powerful beak, sucker-packed tentacles, and arms lined with razor-sharp hooks, we certainly wouldn’t want to mess with her. “Colossal Squidsula” would likely measure 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) in length (nearly double her Disney-given size), but in reality, she’d look a bit freakier than this. Like their cousin, the giant squid, colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) have some of the largest eyes in the animal kingdom. Each one of those spell-casting peepers would be the size of a dinner plate. These massive organs allow them to detect objects in the lightless depths where most normal fish would see nothing. See for yourself in this dissection!
Don’t let that fashionista front fool you: blanket octopuses (genus Tremoctopus) are extreme ocean BAMFS. For starters, they’re weaponized. Young females have been known to rip the stinging tentacles off portuguese man-o-war jellies, store them for later, and use them to inflict doom on their enemies. Secondly, they have capes. While a long, easily-tangled cloth might not actually help a vigilante hero, for the blanket octopus, it’s more than just an accessory. When startled, the animal unfurls this vast stretch of flesh, which can be left behind, possibly to distract potential predators for a quick getaway.
Then there’s the topic of sea-witch sexy time: “Blanket Octopursula” would be somewhere in the realm of 6 feet (1.8 meters) long, but you’d have a hell of a time spotting an eligible warlock. Male blanket octopuses are some 10,000-times smaller than their female counterparts, about the size of your thumbnail. Never underestimate the power of body language, right?
Of course, there’s more were these came from. Head over to BuzzFeed to check out the rest of the gallery!
IMAGES: Disney, Andrea Hickey/BuzzFeed