If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard of sea cucumbers. You might even know that they’re marine animals. But did you know that they can vomit out their guts? Yeah, pretty crazy.

Sea cucumbers, of course, are different from real cucumbers in a number of interesting ways. How they evolved from, like, other different animals, using a series of small genetic changes over probably dozens of generations, is also fascinating. And the environment they live in—marine, oceanic, even saline—deserves a detailed explanation too. But all that, sadly, is beyond the limited scope of this article, so I won’t be able to tell you about it here. Right now, I just want to talk about how they spit, that is vomit, out their guts.

So basically, you can think of a sea cucumber as like this giant worm, or bug, or little crab. I’m pretty sure it’s small and kind of an oval-ish shape. And when it’s threatened by predators—or maybe as sort of a molting process—wait, no, I think it’s part of how they mate… anyway, it takes what is maybe the most extreme and crazy step a sea cucumber can take. That’s right, it vomits out all its internal organs. Lungs, intestines, I bet the bladder, too. Probably even the tusks and cell walls. I want to say it turns inside out? Basically, there is nothing left on the internal side of the sea cucumber once it’s done with this whole process.

You’re probably wondering why a sea cucumber would do something so fucked-up and weird, not to mention painful too, probably. Well, animals think different from people, so the honest answer is no one knows, except for, like, a sea-cucumber anthropologist. But at the end of the day, it sure is weird and cool that they do that. And, yeah.

A. Burch

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