The Southern Washington/ Northern Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network is used to getting strange calls at all hours.
A few nights ago, around 6 p.m., volunteers fielded a call about a strange animal buried in the sand on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State.
Dog owners were walking along the beach when they saw something weird sticking out of the sand.
“It looked like it just burst through when we found it,” according to a post by Candance Woodbury.
The Southern Washington/Northern Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network identified the creature as a Pacific Snake Eel (Ophichthus triserialis) an animal which has never been seen on the Washington Coast. The Seaside Aquarium stepped in:
When we received the pictures of the animal on the beach, we knew it was something special, but we also knew that though buried in the sand it had been out of the water for some time. These fish are usually found at depths between 25 feet and 500 feet. When we arrived, we uncovered the fish which was remarkably still alive and got it into sea water.
Too lethargic to be returned to the sea, we decided to bring it back to the Aquarium. The eel is currently in an isolated in a tank which we are slowly warming to make the eel more comfortable. There is some damage on its pectoral fins that we are hoping will heal. Pacific Snake Eels range from Peru to northern California. In fact, according to ODFW they have only been found twice on the Oregon coast, both had already died before being spotted.
Video credit: Candace Woodbury