Unusual sea hares spotted in Fla. waters

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Unusual Sea Hares Spotted in Florida Waters


Ever seen this slimy-looking thing before at the beach? Many of these sea creatures have been spotted recently along the Florida coast.

"Essentially they're like a snail without a shell," Dr. Zack Jud from the Florida Oceanographic Society said.

"They're called Atlantic black sea hares and can grow to be a foot long," a WPTV reporter said.

"There were just so many of them, I -- we couldn't even count them. ... They're black and kind of slimy," beachgoer Harriet Conn said.

The good news for beachgoers, according to Newsy's partners at WPTV, is that these sea hares are harmless to humans.

Sea hares defend themselves from predators by emitting a purple ink. It's usually their last line of defense.

See more of the creatures in this gallery:

7 PHOTOS
Sea hares invade Fla. waters
See Gallery
Unusual sea hares spotted in Fla. waters
Photo courtesy: WPTV
Photo courtesy: WPTV
Photo courtesy: WPTV
Photo courtesy: WPTV
Photo courtesy: WPTV
Photo courtesy: WPTV
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


As for why it's called a sea hare?

"They have little projections on their head that make them look almost like a rabbit," Jud said.

The Florida Oceanographic Society says that because of their extensive neural circuits -- interconnecting neurons in the brain that pass messages -- sea hares are often utilized in medical research.

It also says anyone who comes across a sea hare washed up on the beach should just scoop it up and put it back in the water.

More from AOL.com:
Woman's bare hands stop gator from attacking her dog
Giant lobster found at Jordan Lobster Farms
Beachgoers are making their own shark cages to prevent attacks
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners