Something that appeared to be pulled right out of a science fiction movie took place following a bizarre accident in Oregon which resulted in a highway – and a vehicle – being covered in a gross slime. A truck transporting thousands of slime eels – known as hagfish – was involved in an accident, causing the hagfish to spill all over the highway.

The question is – where did all the slime come from? Well, hagfish secrete a huge amount of slime any time they are stressed out. As one could imagine, getting into an auto accident and being dumped all over the highway would have been very stressful for these fish.

Some eels were lost

Not only did the eels come out when the truck didn't stop, but they spilled onto a car (container and all) causing that car and three others to collide. The Oregon Highway wreck was quite a mess, fortunately no one was seriously hurt. It will probably take a lot of elbow grease to get the slime off of the cars seeing as how one hagfish can produce enough slime to fill up a five gallon bucket. There were over seven thousand eels spilled in the wreck so you can only imagine the amount of slime. Unfortunately, the lives of most of the eels were lost in the accident.


Hagfish -- or slime eels as they are sometimes called -- are gross. The literally have slime as a way to keep predators from eating them.

They will use it to slip from their grasp and live to fight another day, so not only was the spill full of eels, it was full of their slime.

They have a snub nose you’ll recognize like the eels in "The Little Mermaid" and a dorsal fin, but everything else about them is not the same. They are known to bury into the bodies of other fish like a parasite.

Since they are bottom dwellers it’s not clear how they mate or go about their everyday lives. Hagfish have four hearts and no scales, so their skin is smooth. They look more like giant worms than eels, and breathe through their noses and their skin.

Hagfish are boneless and jawless and they are scavengers. They will eat anything dead on the sea floor.

A hagfish can sneeze out the slime and then avoid choking on it by tying itself in a disgusting knot. In Japan they are consumed as food and even barbequed by some eel enthusiasts. They have been around for millions of years but this is the first report of slime eels being responsible for a four car pileup.

Can you imagine a hoard of slime eels slithering along your car? How do you think you would feel?