A visitor to Padre Island National Seashore off the coast of South Texas discovered a mystery sea creature washed ashore on the beach and sent a photo of it to officials there in hopes of identifying it.

Unfortunately, the officials were at a loss to positively ID the slimy-looking sea creature.

“Initially, we thought it might be a Texas blind snake, which look very similar to earthworms and often show up when their habitat floods,” the Padre Island National Seashore Facebook page reported. “Given all the coastal flooding that has been occurring, we thought this might be a pretty good guess.”

However, the more officials looked at the photo, the more they had second thoughts because “the body structure seemed more like that of an eel.”

“We discovered that there is a type of eel known as snake-eels,” PINS stated. “These are also known as burrowing eels and often hide in mud or sand to catch their prey, which is normally small fish or crustaceans. Sometimes they can mimic the coloring of venomous sea snakes to deter predators and are often washed up by large storms.”

After “endlessly researching eels and snake eels that might live in the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas coast,” the officials concluded that they don’t know exactly what the mystery sea creature is.

Snake-eel was their best guess.

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Mud snake, ribbon snake, garter snake, sand eel, surf eel, yellow snake eel, garden eel, speckled worm eel, worm lizard and just plain eel were among the guesses from commenters on the Facebook post. They seemed as baffled as the officials.

Unidentified sea creatures aren’t the only things found at Padre Island National Seashore, located on North Padre Island, which is the longest underdeveloped barrier island in the world at 70 miles. It is known as a nesting beach for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and is a haven for 380 species of birds.

Photo courtesy of S. Garcia via Padre Island National Seashore.

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