fat innkeeper worms

Thousands of Strange Penis Fish Scattered Across California Beach

There are strange creatures lurking beneath the sand at many beaches known as “fat innkeeper worms,” and experts believe that the species has been here on earth for over 300 million years.

These creatures are a type of spoonworm that are scientifically classified as “Urechis Caupo,” but most people find them interesting because of their strange phallic shape.

After heavy rains, these bizarre creatures are often washed up on the beach in large numbers.

In northern California, this has actually been happening quite frequently, with large numbers of these creatures washing ashore at Pajaro Dunes, Moss Landing, Bodega Bay, and Princeton Harbor.

When heavy rains come in the tides pull many layers of sand out into the ocean, exposing what lies beneath.

The photo below, taken when a swarm of fat innkeepers was washed up on Bodega Bay in June of this year, shows what one of these things looks like up close. On average, they tend to be about 10-inches long, and have the same distinct shape.

fat innkeeper worms
A beachgoer holds a fat inkeeper worm in Bodega Bay in June 2019. (Photo by Kate Montana, iNaturalist Creative Commons)

Most recently, last week, at Drakes Beach in California, thousands of these strange creatures were scattered across the beach on the morning of December 6th, shocking many disturbed visitors who had never seen this species before.

PENIS FISHStrange fish with the balloon head, Dubbed the ‘Penis Fish.’The interesting creature is a fat innkeepers worm, a name which they get because they live and burrow in sand and mud that often contain other animals.The phallic looking fish is actually a food delicacy in Korea and Japan and, to make the idea of eating one even worse, they’re often eaten raw with just salt and seasame oil or with a red chilli paste known as gochujang. The icing on the cake is that the delicacy is known as ‘hoe’, *tries not to laugh*.The Koreans and Japanese aren’t their only predator though, apparently otters, flounders, sharks, rays and gulls are known to eat them too.#AnimalLovers#PenisFish#DidYouKnow#Omg#wth#Wtf

Posted by Keesee Anthony on Thursday, December 12, 2019

Unfortunately, once these things are exposed on the beach as they were at Drakes Beach last week, they are an easy target for predators, like sharks, stingrays, and other fish. Humans have even been known to eat fat inkeepers, depending on where you are from.

In South Korea, this strange fish is actually a delicacy, which they call “gaebul.” As the Instagram post below shows, they are sold in South Korean markets, likely picked from the beach in similar circumstances to those seen at Drakes beach last week.

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