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PSA: A mantis shrimp can punch you so hard it rips right through your boots

Video shows a fisher catching a mantis shrimp and it punching him so hard it draws blood

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Weighing in at maybe a single pound, a mantis shrimp enters the ring.
Weighing in at maybe a single pound, a mantis shrimp enters the ring.
Screenshot: Love Nature

After years spent foolishly underestimating the power of shrimp to do much other than fill our bellies with their delicious water-bug meat, we’ve been shocked out of our complacency by a video of one punching a fisherman so hard it draws blood.

The clip in question, posted by fishing YouTuber Mr. Markus and described in the notes as “That one time I got my ass kicked by a shrimp,” gives us a first-person look at what a mantis can do to a person if not handled carefully enough. Markus draws it up on his line, surprised by what he’s caught, then, just after he’s cut it free, the mantis shrimp gives his bootie-covered foot the old one-two.

“That thing just grabbed onto me and smashed my foot,” he explains, somehow not jumping out of the boat that’s now been firmly claimed by the shrimp. “Wow, he just punched through my brand new booties.”

Markus then uncovers his foot to show off where he got hit by an attack sometimes compared to a .22 caliber gunshot. Driving right through the fishing bootie he was wearing, the shrimp managed to cut a good-sized gash into his foot. “You’re crazy, dude,” he says to the shrimp lying below him. “That does not feel good at all!”

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Curious to learn more about this ornery little creep, we scanned its Wikipedia page for information. Mantis shrimp, it turns out, are referred to as “prawn killers” in Australia and also as “thumb splitters” elsewhere because they use their little shrimp arms “to attack and kill prey either by spearing, stunning, or dismembering” and, in the case of certain species, possess “specialized calcified ‘clubs’ that can strike with great power.” They also live for a long time, “exhibit complex behaviour, such as ritualised fighting,” and there are occasional “accounts of this shrimp breaking glass tanks” that are too small for them.

Anyway, here’s one beating the shit out of an octopus.

And here’s another one punching a crab so hard its arm flies off.

Take all of this to heart next time you look upon a cocktail shrimp ring and allow yourself to think humanity has nothing to fear from these creatures. Let your guard down for a single moment and the shrimp can knock your goddamned block off.

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