I have an idea for a creature, and I want to figure out if it's possible. I'd rather not handwave it with "magic", so, here I am, asking the Stack.

The creature is eel-like, and is capable of emitting a chemical when scared that turns all water within a 5?( subject to change) into slime, rapidly (in around a few seconds). This traps predators, and it can escape by slipping through the slime.

Is this chemical possible? If so, can it be created through natural,biological processes? Also, can a slimy eel slip though the newly created high viscosity slime?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Have you looked at hagfish? They emit small amounts of proteins that turn into a stringy, persistent, gill-clogging slime: youtube.com/watch?v=Bta18FdkVcA $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2021 at 15:05
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ChristopherJamesHuff Hagfish should be the top answer to this question. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Dec 20, 2021 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ Now I feel less clever since you guys thought of hagfish hours ago but neither one bothered to post it. Well, I am not proud. HAGFISH RULE! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 20, 2021 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk I thought it would be rude to post the answer before Christopher did. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Dec 21, 2021 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron - I have overcome such hesitations thanks to AlexP who routinely offers the germ of a fine answer in the comments. Seminal ideas, as it were. Then I come along and raise the baby and teach her kung fu. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Dec 21, 2021 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


You have invented the hagfish.



Hagfish are elongated eel-like (as regards body type) fish that make lots of slime. I saw a video where one little hagfish turned all of the water in a bucket into slime.


The Characteristics of Hagfish Slime When a hagfish feels threatened, it releases hagfish slime, a protein-based, jelly-like substance from slime pores that run the length of its body. The slime is a thick glycoprotein excretion called mucin, which is the primary substance in mucus, commonly referred to as snot or phlegm. Unlike other types of mucus, however, hagfish slime doesn’t dry out.

The mucin is made up of long, thread-like fibers, similar to spider silk. These strands, which are arranged in bundles called skeins, are thinner than human hair, stronger than nylon, and extremely flexible. When the skeins come into contact with seawater, the glue holding them together dissolves, allowing the slime to expand rapidly. It is said that one hagfish can fill a five-gallon bucket with slime in only a few minutes. The slime fills the mouth and gills of the hagfish’s attacker, allowing the hagfish to escape.

The only problem with hagfish is that they are never used as school mascots. I implore the WB community to address this terrible oversight.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! I thought something like this might exist, but I wasn't sure from where. $\endgroup$ Dec 21, 2021 at 13:20

Your creature would have to release a massive amount of substances in the water.

A glue like substance soluble in water is the basis, e.g.

Polyvinyl acetate


Then, in order to maintain the soft viscosity and reduce stickyness, add

  • Salt or
  • Borax



How your creature would produce (or gather?) these substances, I don't know. But I think the amount of "excretion" needed will certainly limit the amount of water affected. The slime emitted would become a mantle around the creature, rather than extend far into the surrounding water.

It won't extend far. In order to affect all water around it, your beast would have to turn a relevant part of its own volume into slime. Slime consists of 90% water, so there would be at least 10% of substance weight that would have to be released into the water.

Note: in Earth's nature, some animals release defensive substances into the water. Octopus can do that, blinding the attacker.



You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .