Preeti Desai took photos of the decaying mysterious creature that she found on a beach in Texas City. She posted the photos on Twitter, asking people for help. Desai was wondering what the animal may be, so she asked: “Okay, biology twitter, what the heck is this?”
Her post drew a lot of attention, and the question reached biologist and eel specialist Dr. Kenneth Tighe, who believes that the creature in the photos is a fangtooth snake-eel. However, he wasn’t 100 percent sure, stating that it could also be a garden and conger eel, because “all three of these species occur off Texas and have large fang-like teeth.”
If you are wondering how this fish/eel/creature got washed up to the shore, you might turn to Hurricane Harvey for the answer. The storm brought strong winds and flooding to Texas causing major desolation and material damage to the city of Houston. This could be the explanation why the fangtooth snake-eel lies on the beach.
Speaking of which, the snake-eel is also known as a “tusky” eel, and it can be found in waters between 30 and 90 meters deep in the western Atlantic Ocean. Ms. Desai was on that beach assessing the damage from the hurricane, and she 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.”
“My main reaction was curiosity, to figure out what the heck it was,” she continued. Ms. Desai posted the photos on Twitter because she is in contact with a lot of scientists and she knew that the image would spread around the web quickly reaching someone who could identify the creature.
“I follow a lot of scientists and researchers. There’s such a great community of these folks that are very helpful, especially when it comes to answering questions about the world or identifying animals and plants,” she said. Desai decided to leave the eel on the beach “to let nature take its course.”