It’s not out of the ordinary for things to wash up on the beach. But a mystery creature that washed up on a North Carolina beach over the weekend has experts stumped. The dead creature washed up on one of North Carolina’s barrier islands.  Officials with the Cape Lookout National Seashore took to Facebook to enlist the public’s help in identifying the creature.

There were two that were discovered both about 6 inches long possibly some sort of sea cucumber or sea slug. The “objects” resemble a sort of worm or caterpillar but have bristles pertruding from them.

Weird things found on the beach -- okay everybody, we need some help identifying these objects. Our turtle patrol found...

Posted by Cape Lookout National Seashore on Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The discovery was made by the Cape Lookout National Seashore turtle patrol on an oceanside beach. A log covered in barnacles was also discovered at the scene but they state that they don’t know if the two are related.  No images online seemed to be of the same species. Which lead to the post asking for information.

As with any photo of this sort posted to social media, commenters had many ideas. One commenter named Gerry said they look like a creature he has referred to as “Fire Worms”. Gerry wrote that “When they are alive if you wave your hand near them the white pieces will extend to defend the worm. I think they are also called Bristle Worms as well. I have never touched one but I have been told that the bristles are very painful.”

Several other commenters said bristle worms, which would be my guess. Others agreed with the original post that it might be some form of sea cucumber. If you do happen to come across this mystery creature on a North Carolina beach or any other location avoid touching it.

What do you think it is?

GALLERY: List of Animals Native to North Carolina

As found by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission