Sea cucumbers are echinoderms that have a tough leathery skin rather than a spiny one. Lying around on the sea floor in tropical and subtropical countries they look rather like long fat sausages with tentacles at one end. They feed by poking the sticky tentacles around and then placing them one by one into the mouth. All the food fragments are sucked off as the tentacle is removed, almost like licking marmalade from your fingers. To prevent being eaten by crabs, fishes and starfishes, many sea cucumbers produce a poison. Others when molested will eject long white sticky threads from the rear end to enmesh the attacker. More spectacular still are those species that partially turn themselves inside out when alarmed and rapidly shoot out their branched respiratory organs, reproductive organs and some intestine for good measure. This really confuses the attacker, allowing the cucumber to escape. It later grows a new set of everything that is missing.
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