Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Sea Lamprey

This weekend I went to a family reunion in Rogers City, Michigan, where my uncle lives. Before the reunion officially began on Saturday, my mom, dad, sister, and I decided to explore the town a bit. Rogers City is an absolutely beautiful place. Waterfalls, Lake Huron, light houses, etc.

After exploring a bit, we saw an ice cream place by the beach and decided to pull over. It turns out the town was holding a "family fun day" on the beach, so once we got our cones, we wandered around a bit.

In the building attached to the ice cream place, volunteers had set up informational booths about the marine life in Lake Huron. One of the booths had a tank full of sea lampreys, and invasive species that made their way into the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean. They attach themselves to fish, and suck their blood dry. They. Are. Disgusting.

Yet fascinating.

(found on interwebs, did not take myself)

I asked the guys at the booth a lot of questions about them. The cute guy in charge of the booth asked me if I'd like to pet one. I wasn't so sure I did but once he put his gloves on, pulled one out and handed it over to me, I couldn't help but stroke its back. It was slimy and DISGUSTING.

So why did I do the next part? I have no idea.

Something you need to know about me before I tell you what happened next: I don't really do BIG adventurous things. I'm never going to sky dive, or swim with sharks. I'm not likely to bungee jump unless someone flings my dead body over the side of a bridge, and I'm the last person in the world to go heli-skiing. But little adventures? Yep. Sign me up.

So when the guy asked me if I'd like to suction the sea lamprey to my arm, I heard the word "yes" come out of my mouth before I had time to think it over. He let it suction onto his arm first to show me how easy it came off. He tugged just a bit and *pop* it came off, no problem. Here it is on my arm:

As soon as it attached, I felt a shock. It feels more like being electrocuted than anything else. The guy started tugging it right away, but had to tug three times, hard, before it would come off. It was sucking on my arm for dear life. Little tiny pools of blood were on my arm when he did get it off. Hardly any blood at all, but still really gross.

WHY DID I AGREE TO THAT? I have no idea. No regrets though. Yesterday I had a sea lamprey suctioned to my arm. What did you do!? (Burn.)

Here's a picture I found of a close up of their mouths. Yeah, I know. Sick.

I could not possibly have used more soap to scrub the wound clean once I saw how gross that mouth was. Those poor trout. As I told the guys at the booth, sea lampreys are a bunch of jerks.


Katherine said...

I'm still disgusted that I witnessed it (and took the photos - that insanity HAD to be documented). GROSS!!! I still can't believe you said "yes," either. It was like you were possessed. Not in a million years.

Heather said...

I just passed out again. Look at its teeth! It looks like an alien! That guy must have been reallllyy good looking. Lol. Im glad you had fun. Thanks for all the pictures.

lizzie mc.- said...

I obviously don't know you at all! This must not be your first experience with parasites. Aliens come to mind. What a story! Gross and awesome. You're cool factor has increased which means I'm cooler by association and I don't have to do anything so gnarly.

Emily said...

I love Rogers City. Chesley and I stopped there on our bike tour a few years ago. We camped at PH Hoeft State Park and rode our bikes into town. We watched a movie there and then road back to the campground in the pouring rain. Good times.

This is a little bit gross and a lot bit awesome! Did you have a giant bruise?

Liz said...

How did these creatures get from the Atlantic to Lake Huron?
I would say that those things look like aliens but I know how you think aliens are silly.
You let it suck your blood. Is this like a vampire situation, are you going to turn into one?