Predatory Sea Worms With 'Hook-Like Jaws' Swarm South Carolina Coast

Beach-lovers, beware—especially if you plan on swimming along the South Carolina coastline.

Earlier this month, WBTW reported the appearance of a terrifying sea worm in the area, known for its hook-like jaws strong enough to break through human skin.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) confirmed the influx of sea worms on Facebook, noting that the creatures, also called clam worms, "ordinarily live on the seafloor" but "undergo an incredible transformation under new and full moons in spring." In the spring, the animals "morph into reproductive forms called 'epitokes' as they swarm in coastal waters."

The worms are undeniably creepy, especially compared to the average earthworm. In addition to their freakishly strong jaws, clam worms are equipped with a pair of lips and four eyes.

The SCDNR added that the springtime arrival of the bottom-dwelling worms brings much action to the area's beaches. "This fascinating phenomenon occurs every year at our marine headquarters in Charleston and is often followed by hungry throngs of fish and birds along the marsh edge," they wrote.

Since they can indeed bite, the SCDNR recommends avoiding close contact with clam worms on your next beach trip. "You may not want to go swimming with epitokes, as clam worms do have a set of hooked jaws, but it's hard not to appreciate such an unusual coastal sight," they said.

Nothing says spring on the coast like… a frenzy of marine worms? 🐛🐛🐛Sometimes called clamworms, these animals that ordinarily live on the seafloor...

Along with their statement, SCDNR staff posted a video of the sea critters, leaving viewers horrified. The footage, filmed from above, shows thousands of the pink sea worms darting through the water. One worm is captured and shown wriggling and writhing around the circumference of a plastic container.

"Reason #2794 to stay out of the ocean," wrote one Facebook commenter.

"Thank you to the birds and fish....may they continue to devour!" said another.

Many more appear too shocked for words and simply convey their terror with GIFS in the comments section.

The emergence of the sea worms comes just weeks after mysterious, "eyeball-looking" creatures were identified in Texas. The rare, stinging creatures threw locals for a loop but were later discovered to be Rhizophysa eysenhardti, a creepy-looking species similar to jellyfish. The sea critters, also known as "spaghetti monsters," feature a gelatinous bulge, similar to what an eyeball might look like, followed by a tail.

Last week, it was also reported that a highly-venomous short-nosed sea snake was rediscovered in Australia after scientists believed it to be extinct for over 20 years.

South Carolina Beach
South Carolina's picturesque coastline is currently experiencing the springtime appearance of hook-jawed sea worms. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images