“A very strange animal” is how the Seaside Aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe described it — and she’s used to finding pyrosomes, vellela vellela and mola mola along the beach.
But when the aquarium came to the assist of a Pacific snake eel a little after 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, they made something of a regional first. The Pacific North eels has never been seen before in Washington, and both of the two found along Oregon coast waters died before being spotted.
According to Boothe, a visitor to the Peninsula one mile south of the Cranberry Approach found the fish buried in the sand not far from the water’s edge.
Concerned and curious about what type of fish is was, she called the Seaside Aquarium.
“When we received the pictures of the animal on the beach, we knew it was something special,” Boothe said. “But we also knew that though buried in the sand, it had been out of the water for some time.”
The snake eel is usually found at depths between 25 feet and 500 feet, Boothe said.
“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 now in Seaside, isolated in a tank slowly being warmed to a more moderate temperature for the fish.
There is some damage on its pectoral fins, Boothe added, which will be allowed to heal.