April 2 (UPI) -- Officials at an Oregon aquarium said a rescued Pacific snake-eel -- only the third member of its species to be found on a state beach -- is recovering after being found struggling in the sand.
Jerry Olson said he thought there was an unusual snake thrashing in the wet sand Sunday near Sunset Beach, but he described the animal over the phone to an expert at Seaside Aquarium and was told it was more likely a Pacific snake-eel.
Aquarium staff retrieved the animal and confirmed it was a Pacific snake-eel, making it the third member of its species to ever be found on an Oregon beach. The species is normally native to waters much further south, officials said.
Experts said the Pacific snake-eels might be venturing further north due to the changing climate.
The animal rescued from the beach was determined to be too weak for immediate release and is being rehabilitated at the aquarium until it is healthy enough to return to the wild.