The internet is mesmerised by footage of a slimy, green, worm-like creature attacking its prey

An oddly captivating video of a goopy-green substance attacking its prey is blowing up around the internet so fast it’s become a trending topic on Facebook along with news of a Gilmore Girls reunion and photos of Princess Charlotte.

No, it’s not a lost container of Nickelodeon-branded Slime. The green sludge is a ribbon worm (also called “Nemertea”).

The Independent reports the video originates from a man “in Taiwan, when the animal was spotted [by uploader Wei Cheng Jian] while he was fishing in a port, and uploaded to Facebook.

That same publication also embedded the video from a YouTube channel called “FunnyVideoHD.”

But it’s hardly funny. Remember going to the grocery store as a kid and cranking out one of those slimy sticky toys from the quarter machines? Imagine if that came to life. Yeah, exactly.

That pink tongue you’re seeing is called a “proboscis.” Most ribbon worms average about seven inches long, though it’s rumoured that at least one specimen measured up to 177 feet.

A student from NCSU explains in a study how the ribbon worm secures its prey:

When the animal senses a prey organism nearby, a circular muscle layer around the proboscis sheath rapidly and vigorously contracts. This contraction forces the fluid from the proboscis sheath into the proboscis and, in the process, literally turns it inside out, blowing it out of the proboscis sheath. The proboscis will rapidly (within a second or so) wrap itself around the prey, which is then drawn to the mouth and eaten.

How charming!

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