If you look at a sheepshead fish closely, you may believe he’s found a sailor’s lost teeth on the ocean floor.
But don’t let the dazzling whites fool you: they’re entirely natural.
The sheepshead, which is native to the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines of the United States, is a unique fish that has gone viral after the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources recently shared a photo of one individual’s toothy grin.
Some thought he was creepy right away, while others marveled at how bright and human-like the fish’s teeth were.
Regardless of what the internet says, one thing is certain: these guys have some rather spectacular chompers.
Sheepsheads have super-strong jaws that allow them to readily crush hard-shelled marine life such as oysters, crabs, and barnacles, which make up a large part of their adult diet. As they chew, the food is ground up into tiny particles by many rows of molars behind their front teeth.
Their jaws are so strong that they’ve been known to break metal fishhooks in two with them.
They’re a frequent target for fisherman due to their size, weighing in at roughly 20 pounds as adults, and have even been threatened in the past due to overfishing. Fortunately, the sheepshead fish population as a whole is doing considerably better these days, and divers frequently encounter them along mangrove roots, piers, and jetties.