MUSTANG ISLAND, Texas (KFOR/Storyful) – A marine researcher was shocked to find a giant American eel that had washed ashore in Texas.
“This is basically as big as they get!” said Jace Tunnell, a director at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute. “Man, look at this thing!”
Tunnell found the huge fish on a beach on Mustang Island, a barrier island on the Gulf Coast near Corpus Christi.
“This thing is massive, it’s got to be, like, four feet long,” Tunnel said. Due to its size, Tunnel believes the eel was a female, as females are larger than males, and can have up to four million eggs.
The American eel is listed as endangered, which, Tunnel explains, is partly due to manmade dams built over the past century.
“Whenever all the dams and stuff started coming in, the life cycle of these fish, of going up the rivers, coming down the rivers, and going way out into the ocean to be able to have their eggs,” he said. “With those dams on the rivers, really, they weren’t able to do the things they would normally do.”
Tunnel says in the video at the top of this story that American eels are opportunistic feeders and eat what they can find, such as fish or crabs.