Thousands of swimmers jump in Lake Erie to cool off every summer.  But what else is in there with you?

It's certainly not like the ocean.  There are all kinds of animals in there that can sting, poke, bite, or even kill you.  Or is it?

Let's be honest, we don't hear stories all summer long of people having to avoid the lake because of shark attacks.  You don't often hear of people getting life-threatening bites from something below them.

Despite the fact that there aren't sharks (that we know of - I'll get to that in a bit) in Lake Erie, there are still some creatures that most of us would prefer not to imagine sharing space with.  Some are native to the lake, others are invasive species.  But they are there nonetheless.

While most of us would like to believe that it's just a big huge tub of water with some seaweed in it, there's more than that below you. We've got eels, snakes, and fish with teeth, and some that are even up to 12 feet long!

Most are admittedly harmless...but the idea of swimming with them might be a little creepy!  Here are just some of the creatures that it's possible to see in our own Lake Erie:

Sea Lamprey

The sea lamprey honestly look nasty.  They look like eels and they've got tons of teeth (like over 150 of them).  Some people call it call it the "Vampire Fish of the Great Lakes" because of how they love the smell of blood from just about any creature and will prey on it like a shark.  They're an invasive species and create havoc by targeting other fish like trout and walleye. Fortunately they don't really feed on people.

 

Lake Sturgeon

These things are pretty harmless, but they look intimidating.  They can grow up to around 12 feet long!

 

Spiny Water Flea

They've got long spines and huge eyes....but these things are absolutely tiny.  They just look gross!

The Lake Erie Water Snake

They aren't venomous and mostly live on the Western part of Lake Erie.  But they will bite and they're incredible swimmers.

 

Ships!

Yep...like human-made ships.  There are around 6,000 ships sitting at the bottom of the Great Lakes after disasters above water.  We are assuming that all the people swam to safety and aren't still in them.

 

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