The human body is delicious and nutritive, and some creepy crawlers are perfectly aware of that. They range in size from big enough to admire, to sufficiently small to go undetected.
If you think your body has protective armor against creatures desperate to invade, you are in for a shocking discovery. Evolution gifted these crawlers with disgusting mouths, claws, or other drilling mechanisms, for which your epidermis is soft as butter.
We will start our list of creepy crawlers that feed on the human body with the champions regarding size.
Unbelievably, surgeons discovered tapeworms of more than 15 meters in length inside the digestive tract. If you wonder where in the hell can something like that fit your small body, we will remind you that the intestines are a twisted tube through wich food pass on its way out.
Tapeworms are probably the most common parasites that can take advantage of your body’s resources. While in most cases they cause few symptoms and are easily treated, they can sometimes create life-threatening problems.
The most common source for tapeworms is raw or poorly cooked animal meat. Next time you grow anxious waiting for the pork chops to get nice and crisp, remember that your body might become a cozy and nutritious home for something that looks like a thin snake.
2. Dust Mites
Dust Mites might live in your home without bothering you, or you could suffer from severe allergy due to inhaling their little fecal matters.
If it does not sound creepy enough, wait until you see how these little buggers look under magnification. Zooming in will show you that these strange creatures are perfectly adapted to feed on your body.
However, unlike other members of our list, these arthropods will not borrow under the skin or go deeper in your body. They are good guys that settle for what falls from you. Flakes of shed human skin are the breakfast of champions for dust mites, and dead hair is a delicacy.
If you befriend your dust mites, you need to know that they live no more than 20 days, although a lucky female can unleash up to 100 offspring.
3. Baby Squid
Squids are adaptable creatures, and they are notorious for their ability to call “home” even the most inhospitable waters.
From time to time, their eggs end up in the wrong places, creating colonies of baby squids that are eager to eat and crawl back to water.
Reports of people finding living baby squids attached to the inside of their mouth can come from no other place than the Far East. Eating raw seafood is practically an invitation for such a bizarre occurrence.
Scientists prefer to call the incidents as impregnations of human mouths with spermatophores (sperm bags). You will be terrified to know that surgery was needed to remove each one of them and that the feeling of having someone consuming parts of your tissue is not nice.
Tick season might be over this summer, but it’s useful to know how dangerous these small creatures can get.
Ticks are parasites, which means they rely on other living creatures to feed, develop, and reproduce. While this might sound like a nasty and unfair side of nature, it is also an interesting use of resources.
Ticks are directly linked with transmitting Lyme disease, although it’s useful to know that not all types of ticks are responsible. Ticks steal your blood by cutting a hole in the skin and then inserting their long mouth in it.
To keep the blood from coagulation, they poop some enzymes. Damn nature, you are scary!
5. African Eye Worm
The African Eye Worm, also known as the Loa Loa, is one of the creepiest crawlers that needs to invade the human body to survive.
The worm has adapted very well to its parasitic lifestyle, and it uses some very common flies as a transportation vehicle.
While the photo above might not be genuine, larger African eye worms move across the human body and can become visible at eye level. Extreme cases include people feeling how these creatures move in subcutaneous tissues or from one eye to another.
African Eye Worm cause swelling and itch bellow the skin. As far as we are concerned, the anxiety of having a foreign organism inside you beats anything else.
You would be glad to know that stripping your skin to catch those buggers is not needed, although surgical interventions are indeed required once the worms reached gigantic proportions.
When creepy crawlers go for unusual orifices of the human body, everything gets out of proportions.
Something as simple and as enjoyable as urinating in in the water has become the nightmare of every man. The Amazonian forest is host to a fish that inserts itself into the human urethra.
Although the myth is as old as the conquistadors roaming the jungles of South America centuries ago, the first recorded medical case did not occur until 1997.
The scent of urine apparently attracts the Candiru, and its translucent body makes it hard to spot. Agile, the predator fish is quick enough to enter any unprotected orifice at a blink of an eye, further inserting itself with the help of backward pointing spikes.
We do not know how painful is to have your genital organs overtaken by this parasite organism, but it helps to know that the fish feeds by sucking blood from the victim.
We will just leave on the table the fact that Candiru individuals can reach lengths of up to 40 cm. This article might have just ruined your swimming appetite.
7. Head Lice
Head lice probably entered your vocabulary when you had your first full head shave in primary school.
It helps to know when kids stay away from you, a standard behavior adaptation kicks in, ensuring they will not go through the same ordeal.
We will not go into detail about the lifecycle of the head louse, although it helps to know it takes a considerable effort to get rid of them. Lice are blood feeders, and they have an eating schedule similar to ours.
Three or four bites daily are enough to keep them alive and well, while extra snacks between the main meals make them eager to lay eggs and infest your entire family.
Maggots are the inevitable creepy crawlers that will consume your dead body unless you are a fan of other funerary ceremonials.
The term “maggots” is a generic one, and many species of flies are responsible for these ugly creatures.
When they are not invading the human body uninvited, worms become fishing bait. They are the forensic detective’s best friends, indicating up to a certain degree of accuracy when the crime took place.
It might sound sickening, but maggots of a particular fly are used to remove from the human body dead or necrotic tissues, leaving the healthy parts unharmed. Future medicine will be able to engineer maggots that will enter the human body and feed on tumors, making the whole procedure less invasive.
In the meantime, maggots are responsible for some of the most disgusting invasion of the human body. Just Google some picture!
9. Giant Roundworm
The Giant Roundworm might be your worst fear if you live in a civilized and developed country. However, this parasite is like an internal pet for people in poor tropical and sub-tropical countries.
The lifecycle of the Giant Roundworm is one taken out of the horror movies. Ingested fertilized eggs become larvae by the time they reach the duodenum, which allows them to penetrate the walls and entered the bloodstream.
Once on your body’s highway, it reaches the heart, liver, and eventually the lungs. Breaking apart makes it airborne, and coughing brings it back to complete the cycle in the intestines.
This crawler is one of the most annoying parasites Mother Nature has produced, largely because its eggs are resistant and easily distributed in the environment.
The Botfly is the death drone of nature.
As you already found out, maggots are baby flies in early stages of their lifecycle. However, the botfly takes things to an entirely new level of creepy.
The human botfly, Dermatobia hominis, is the only species of bot fly known to parasitize humans. Although it looks like an insect flying around from flower to flower, the botfly is a flesh eating monster that crawls under your skin, lays eggs, which in turn use your body heat to hatch.
While recognizing the species might help, the botfly has adapted to use other insects as vectors, contaminating its hosts in stealth mode.
We will not show you pictures of how human flesh looks like when the larvae are ready to head out because it can cause you permanent trauma. We only add that a type of botfly which parasites the caribou is consumed by Inuit tribes.
11. Bed Bugs
If you wake up often during the night and feel a foreign presence crawling all over your body, it means you are sharing the bed with someone else. No, it is not your imaginary girlfriend, but something real – bed bugs.
Bed bugs disappeared from developed country. However, tourism in exotic and unsanitary place brought back this crawler on the list.
It helps to know that at some time in history people were convinced that bed bugs could be used to treat hysteria and other mental conditions. Good thing we have psychologists nowadays, although they also became a nuisance!
Bed bugs are so “famous” that there is even a saying – “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” While bed bugs usually harm your body less than other creatures we reminded you of, some individuals develop extended allergies to them.
12. Giant Centipede
Giant centipedes are not an Internet joke, and they can grow up to 30 centimeters in length.
Found mostly in the northern part of South America, they are nature’s funny way of reminding that being a more evolved species does not guarantee a place higher in the trophic chain. A centipede is the definition of a crawler and just feeling those many legs stepping over you is enough to make your heart race.
Giant centipedes feed on birds, bats, mice, and even snakes. There are even reports of children killed by the venom injected by these ugly and disgusting creatures.
While it might sound counterintuitive, some people are fascinated by these strange inhabitants of the jungle floor, and they take them home as pets. If you want to know what the real feelings of a giant centipede are towards you, we cannot give a straightforward answer.
It might be love, or it might be the constant desire to march those feet all over your dead body.