HomeOutdoorsRare 12-Foot-Long Sea Creature Washes Ashore in Front of Beachgoers: VIDEO

Rare 12-Foot-Long Sea Creature Washes Ashore in Front of Beachgoers: VIDEO

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit: Eric Broder Van Dyke via Getty Images)

Many people believe that Australia is the strange or dangerous animal capital of the world. After all, it seems that just about everything in the great outdoors Down Under evolved to frighten or kill humans. However, they don’t have a corner on the weird animal market. Recently, beachgoers in New Zealand came across a rare sea creature that rivals the weirdness of anything in Australia.

According to Stuff, Isaac Williams was enjoying a day on Aramoana Beach in Dunedin which is in the Otago region of New Zealand. However, his relaxing time on the surf and sand got a little more exciting when a massive oddity from the depths of the ocean washed into the shallows. He was understandably astounded by the sight of the rare sea creature. The video below shows Williams’ reaction to the creature and provides a closer look at it.

Luckily, Dr. Birdie Allan, a marine biologist, was also having a relaxing day at the beach. She was able to put her expertise to use to identify the surprisingly large fish. “As soon as I saw it, I knew it was an oarfish,” she said. However, just because she could identify the sea creature doesn’t mean that the sighting wasn’t rare.

Oarfish Are Deep-Sea Creatures, Seeing Them Is Rare

Oarfish are long slender fish that got their name because they look a little like a boat’s oar. The one that Williams and Allan spotted was almost 12 feet long.

The thing that makes seeing these sea creatures on the beach rare is that they usually don’t roam the shallows. Usually, oarfish live in the depths and can be found about 3,000 feet down. There’s a good chance that this one came to the beach to die. “It was alive but very clearly distressed,” Dr. Allan said of the oarfish.

Williams and his companions tried all they could to get the oarfish swimming again, but nothing worked. Despite their best efforts, the rare sea creature continued to float on the shallow water. “It wouldn’t have survived,” Dr. Allan said. “There’s no way. I’ve seen enough dead fish to know it was on its last legs.”

As for where the oarfish came from, Dr. Allan doesn’t know for sure. However, there are some deep water canyons just off the coast of Dunedin. She said that the sea creature may have been there before making its rare appearance on the beach. This, she said, “is pure speculation.”

The Otago Region Has a Historical Connection to Oarfish

Emma Burns, curator of the natural sciences at Otago Museum spoke to Stuff about the region’s historical connection to oarfish. She explained that one of the first specimens of oarfish was discovered not far from Dunedin. The 12-and-a-half-foot-long specimen washed ashore on a beach in Moeraki in 1883. Four years later, beachgoers discovered an 11-foot-long oarfish skeleton on Portobello Beach in the Otago Peninsula.