He had never seen anything like it before. It was beautiful, he could hardly suppress his excitement at the thought of showing his family the strange creature he had found.
He reached for the amazing creature and looked over at his parents. He made the mistake of looking away from the charming but dangerous thing he was holding in his hand.
The Lane family had been on the Padre Island National Seashore for 30 years and considered it a tradition at the time. After all, they always needed a place to escape.
Lane’s son, Hunter, had learned to love the soft sand and crystal clear water when they went away. But one day the boy wanted adventure, so he set out on his own to find something he hadn’t seen before.
Hunter really loved the aquatic life. His favorite pastime when they got to this beach was scouring the wet sand on the shore to see if any mysteries of the deep had reached the shore.
Hunter was walking along the coast checking on both sides and there was something in front of him. All he saw were the usual clams and trash that had washed up in front of him. Suddenly he saw a blue glimmer in the corner of his eye.
Blue is a color that really stands out in nature as it is usually not a color that plants and animals are. They usually have a natural camouflage to keep predators off.
It wasn’t the same blue you’d find on a flower. It was more like the shimmering blue of the sea. It faded into outlines of silver and gray. Hunter sank a little lower than he had to look at the animal.
Small tentacles slid out from the sides and grabbed the air in Jäger’s direction. The boy fell back in surprise. It wasn’t anything artificial, it was a real living animal!
Hunter was excited and scared at the same time. But overall he was just glad that he had found something he had been looking for for so long. He had to be brave, he found a stick nearby and nudged the riddle.
The animal responded by writhing on its side. Hunter could now see sand clinging to its tentacles as it twisted. He decided to give it another push.
Hundreds of thoughts went through Hunter’s mind, maybe it was a new species that no one else had found! All he wanted was to become a famous and well-known explorer.
One voice screamed louder than the others under Jäger’s mind, and she wanted him to pick it up. When he showed it to his father, he wondered if he would let him take it home.
He thought of all the children’s open jaws as he got them to point and tell. But when the boy dreamed excitedly, he did not see any of the signs on the beach.
While the boy was trying to decipher the secret behind the animal he had found, the Texas National Park Service was already working hard to educate the public about these small creatures that appear in the sand on the coast.
Hunter didn’t know what kind of animal he was trying to touch with his bare skin, but he also didn’t know what to do if it attacked him.
The parking services insisted that beach goers who saw a “blue kite” in the sand should absolutely avoid it. And no one should ever touch one, let alone bare skin.
In his excitement, Hunter hadn’t noticed any of the signs and had already picked up the animal. He sprinted towards his family with a big grin on his face.
Show and tell
Hunter had gotten to where his family was and was grinning widely at them. He crouched to show them the blue dragon that was desperately trying to escape.
Both his parents and his sister loved animals. They were almost as excited as Hunter to see what he had found. They wanted to pick it up and hold it too.
Hunter’s father Trey leaned forward and looked closely at the blue kite – although of course he had no idea that he was seeing it then. “Was it some kind of colorful jellyfish or a snail?” he asked himself.
“Let’s take a walk and see if we can find more!” Hunter suggested excitedly. The family held onto his new pet and went in search of more blue creatures. And they didn’t have to look very far.
As the alleys strolled to where Hunter first spotted the creature, a huge wave crashed into the bank, nearly knocking Trey over.
But after the father had regained his balance, he felt something brush against his ankle. Trey looked down and saw some of the same blue creatures his son was holding. And that wasn’t all.
They are everywhere!
More mysterious blue creatures appeared along the coast as the tide washed them onto the sand.
Other beach goers had taken off their phones and were filming or taking photos. Some looked panicked and were on the phone. But when the worried father overheard one of the conversations, he froze in place.
“Hunter, put that down! Don’t touch it. It is poisonous! “Trey yelled at his son. Hunter dropped the blue kite and jumped away before another wave of them reached his feet.
The blue dragon – also known as Glaucus atlanticus, sea terns, or blue angels – is not the type of thing a seven-year-old boy should mess with. But how could a 1 inch sea slug be so dangerous?
The sea snail spends its life in the temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
His favorite prey may sound familiar: the Portuguese warrior (a jellyfish with a VERY painful sting). For the blue dragon, however, it is not only a source of food, but also a way to recharge ammunition.
Mine, thank you
Blue dragons are inherently non-poisonous and have excellent immunity to the stings of other creatures.
But the way they harm a predator is very interesting (and a little bit scary). When they bind themselves to a man of war, their feathered fingers have little sacks at the ends with which they carry what he steals.
Floats like a butterfly
Spiky cells from his food are transferred to the small bags where they are kept for later.
The more it collects, the more excruciating the pain becomes for its enemies – especially since it can focus on one point and set the nerve endings on fire. But why are the creatures so unnaturally blue?
I can’t see myself
The hue comes from what the blue dragon eats as well as the environment in which it lives.
It swims blue side up to blend in with the water and gray side down to camouflage itself underwater. However, the bright color of the blue dragon was particularly dangerous for the young hunter because it pulled him right into it.
“Hunter loves marine animals and thought he found a jellyfish with blue buttons,” said his father Trey. “After he picked it up, he announced that he had discovered a new species!”
But Hunter could have become the hunted if he had held on to the dangerous creature for a second longer – its stings hurt twice as much as a jellyfish’s.
Word of warning
This is the first time park official Jaime Kennedy has heard of blue kite sightings on the beach. “So when you see a kite in the park, you’ll be amazed it’s a rare find, but keep your distance too!” warns the national coast.
In fact, you shouldn’t usually pick up any strange creatures that you find unless you know exactly what they can do to you!