In 2021, beaches across the globe encountered weird things and animals washing ashore. From a rotting body of a nearly 10-foot-long (3 meters) “river monster” near the Gulf Of Mexico to a tangled rope coral that found its way onto a beach in Texas, let’s take a look at these wild and strange things that washed ashore in 2021.
1. Basking Shark
A male basking shark measuring 26 feet (8 meters) washed up on the coast of Bremen, Maine earlier this year in January. Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the sea, despite their formidable size, they are harmless to humans. They mainly prefer to cruise through the water with mouths open. However, the reason behind the death of this basking shark is unknown.
2. Twisted Rope Pile
2021 also witnessed a knotty pile of coral known as a colorful sea whip (Leptogorgia virgulata). At first sight, it might appear like a tangled yellow rope. Colonies of such coral polyps lend sea whips their vibrant colors. A National Park Service (NPS) guide found the partly-buried “rope ball” at a Texas beach near the Gulf of Mexico.
3. Toxic Tar Balls
Earlier this year in February, strange toxic tar balls began to wash up along Israel’s Mediterranean coastline. The tar balls were the result of an oil spill that took place 31 miles (50 km) off the coast. Normally, oil spills wash up on beaches in a liquid form. The Israel spill, however, turned the oil into tar balls owing to the rough sea conditions, which also ended up being one of the most serious ecological disasters. Over 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the coastline was affected by the mishap.
4. Amazon’s River Monster
Florida locals were shocked to spot a rotting body of a dead Amazon “river monster” near the Gulf of Mexico. The ‘river monster’ known as arapaima is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish. They grow to be 10 feet (3 meters) long and can weigh up to 440 lbs (200 kilograms).
5. Majestic Moonfish
Beachgoers in Oregon this July were surprised to witness a gorgeous moofish washed ashore with its girth and glistening hue. The 3.5-foot-long (1 meter) fish flashed a mix of silvery and bright reddish-orange scales, and white dots had covered its flattened body. However, the golden eyes of the Opah were quite attractive.
6. Fish inside a jellyfish
Dead jellyfish washing the shoreline are not a regular sight, but in August, a peculiar blob grabbed the attention of the beachgoers in the United Kingdom. The jellyfish had an undigested fish in its belly. It is assumed that the fish was consumed right before the hungry compass jellyfish met its end as well.
7. Sawfish Mom
The invertebrate broke the world record for being the largest small tooth sawfish, but unfortunately it never got a chance to bask in its glory. The animal was found dead in the Florida Keys in April. The 16-foot-long (4.9 meters) specimen was a boon to science and the softball-size eggs in her reproductive tract led the scientists to study the carcass.