A fish with large, human-like teeth was caught off the coast of North Carolina last week. It was a sheepshead fish brought in by Nathan Martin, and photos of it were posted to Facebook by Jeanette’s Pier in Nag’s Head.
A subsequent post showed off the fish’s striking smile with the caption “#bigteethbigtimes”:
Wow! The post caught a ton of attention, racking up more than 1,700 reactions and 1,200 shares.
“It’s a very good fight when you’re fighting on the line, it’s a really good catch, and it tastes very good,” Martin, who fishes regularly at the pier, told McClatchy News.
Although it may look like something out of your worst nightmares, sheepshead fish are actually a common North American marine species that can be found from Cape Cod down to Florida and Brazil. They’re also sometimes called convict fish because of the black bars that run vertically down their white bodies.
The rows of teeth, which include incisors and molars, are used for crushing prey, including echinoderms, barnacles, clams, crabs and oysters. They may be called sheepshead fish because their teeth look like that of sheep, although plenty of people on social media thought their chompers looked like they belong on a human.
“Is there where dentures come from?” asked Facebook user Lisa Drouin Martin in a comment on the post.
“That fish has better teeth than I do,” declared Kathryn Henry.
“Pretty sure that’s my ex,” joked Jessica Nicole. “Don’t know who the guy holding him is though.”
As Martin noted, the fish is known to be tasty as well. They’re said to have a similar flavor to shellfish due to their diet and firm, moist flesh. Sheepshead can be seared, pan-fried or baked. Check out these five sheepshead recipes.