Seahorse dropped by seagull, mistaken for a Cheeto

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   May 11, 2017 at 3:14 PM

May 11 (UPI) -- A Florida aquarium said a tiny seahorse initially mistaken for a Cheeto snack when it was dropped at a little girl's feet by a seagull is recovering.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium said a little girl visiting Indian Shores Beach with her mother spotted a seagull dropping what appeared to be a Cheeto nearby and she decided to investigate.

The girl quickly realized the Cheeto was actually a tiny orange seahorse, which she and her mother rescued by putting it in a bucket and contacting the aquarium.

The aquarium, which dubbed the female seahorse Cheeto in honor of the little girl that rescued it, said the seahorse started eating grass shrimp after a few days of rehabilitation.

Officials said the seahorse is growing stronger and will eventually be released back into the wild.

"Although initially appearing very orange, Cheeto now has taken on a bright yellow color," the aquarium said. "Color change is common in some seahorses, which have an ability known as crypsis to camouflage and match their surroundings."

Cheeto can be viewed in real-time on the aquarium's "Cheeto Cam" until her release.

"Each creature is important to us, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to rehabilitate Cheeto," said David Yates, aquarium CEO.

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