What to Know
- Some people came across a northern stargazer fish while walking along Virginia Beach.
- The strange-looking fish has a speckled, flattened body and a large head.
- Stargazers bury in the sand with their eyes and mouth sticking out in order to ambush prey.
Watch your step.
A surfing group is warning beachgoers to watch their step after a scary-looking fish was found lurking in the sand at Virginia Beach.
The East Coast Surfing Championships wrote on their Facebook page that one of the company member's friends came across a northern stargazer fish while walking. The strange-looking fish has a speckled, flattened body and a large head. It can deliver an electric shock that stuns its prey.
Ashley Raper Starr, of Virginia Beach, told NBC News she took the photos when she and her husband's family, who were visiting from Maryland, were walking along the beach. Her niece, Cara Hotaling, saw bubbles in the sand, and they wondered what was causing it.
Starr said when the water ran over the area and washed away some of the sand, they were surprised to see the fish's face peering back at them.
"We were all so surprised and interested to see that face," she said.
Starr said she grew up in North End and had never seen that type of fish. She sent photos to her husband who, after some online research, discovered it was a stargazer.
Starr said her brother-in-law, Jay Hotaling, got a bucket, scooped out the fish from the sand and returned it to the water. She said it was alive and well when they sent it back into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chesapeake Bay Program's website said stargazers tend to live at the bottom of deep, open waters. The program said stargazers bury in the sand with their eyes and mouth sticking out in order to ambush prey.
Surfing officials said that while northern stargazers don't pose any real threat to humans, their electric spines make them a serious predator.