Sea hares can grow up to 30 inches long and weigh up to 15 pounds. They also ooze a purplish ink, which may have fooled curious beachgoers into believing they had stumbled upon remnants of a crime scene, but this is the sea hare’s way of protecting itself against predators. The slugs are not a threat to humans and usually live at depths of up to 60 feet below the sea surface.
Related: Polar bears are eating dolphins stranded by climate change
The San Francisco bay area has recorded temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a drastic change from its typical 57 degrees. It is believed that the unusual warmth is one reason the sea hares are showing up on the local beaches. Other animals have been seen farther north than expected as well, including thousands of tuna crabs arriving on the shores of San Diego last week. While residents can rest assured that the slimy mounds washing ashore in the bay area are not a real-life CSI nightmare, the bigger implications of climate change may, in fact, be even more frightening.
Images via Flickr