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There Was a Massive, Gross Slime Eel Spill in Oregon

The hagfish were on their way to South Korea.

This car's owner did not have a great day.
This car’s owner did not have a great day. Depoe Bay Fire Department

Oregon’s Highway 101 is a beautiful drive along the coast, but for some drivers yesterday, it was a little more slimy than scenic. The Oregonian reports that a truck carrying 7,500 pounds of hagfish overturned two miles south of the town of Depoe Bay, causing a five-car crash and covering two sedans and the highway in goo and fish. It required a bulldozer and fire hoses to clean it all up.

Hagfish are about one to two feet long, and while they have a skull, they lack a spinal column. They’re sometimes called slime eels because they ooze goo–up to four cups in less than a second–when they’re distressed. When combined with water, that goo expands. Slime from just one hagfish can grow to five gallons, which means things got pretty gross when cleanup crews took hoses to the mess.

Hagfish meat is popular in South Korea, and the country consumes around five million pounds of it each year. The skins are used for leather. That’s where these hagfish were headed, before they ended up all over the highway. Needless to say, this catch won’t end up on dinner plates.