A monstrous, fanged sea creature deposited on a Texas beach in the wake of Hurricane Harvey has finally been identified.
The scary-looking specimen was found by self-professed “science nerd” Preeti Desai, who reached out on social media, asking: “Okay, biology twitter, what the heck is this??”
Among the less serious suggestions were a chupacabra, a monster from Tremors, Dr Finkelstein and, er New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enjoying some time on the beach.
Thankfully science has ridden to our rescue, in the form of Dr Keeneth Tighe, an eel specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Dr Tighe told Earth Touch News Network, he believes the specimen is a fang-tooth snake eel but conceded that it could be a garden or conger eel, given that “all three of these species occur off Texas and have large fang-like teeth.”
The Aplatophis chauliodus which translates roughly as “terrible serpent” can grow up to 84cm in length and tends to inhabit waters between 30 and 90 metres deep in the Atlantic Ocean.
It is NOT these things:
They are usually found tucked away in burrows with only their snouts and eyes exposed, darting out to feed on fish and crustaceans.
Desai, who was at the beach assessing the damage from the hurricane, told the BBC: “It was completely unexpected, it’s not something that you’d typically see on a beach. I thought it could be something from the deep sea that might have washed on to shore.”