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Watch Your Step! Scary-Looking Fish Seen Lurking In Virginia Beach Sands

Jul 15, 2016 04:40 AM EDT

A few weeks back, a family was enjoying their time walking under the sun in Chesapeake Bay when they suddenly spotted bubbles popping out of a pile of sand. As soon as the water ran off the sand, they found a strange-looking creature: the stargazer.

The Chesapeake Bay Program said a stargazer is a fish that is usually found in rubble bottoms of sandy lagoons and coastal waters of the Atlantic. They can grow up to 22 inches in length, but it averages 8 to 18 inches.

These fish are called such because their eyes are positioned on the top of its head.

Stargazers are usually spotted buried beneath the sand with only their eyes popping on the surface. This technique allows them to prey on their catch without being too obvious. They are also called tube-nosed stargazers because they breathe through their nostrils.

A Facebook group called East Coast Surfing Championships shared a photo of the stargazer spotted by the family. According to the caption, they are baffled as to how the fish reached the ocean side since they are often only spotted in deep waters of the bay.

Ashley Starr, who took the photos of the stargazer, told NBC News that her brother-in-law, Jay Hotaling, scooped out the fish from the sand and returned it to the water.

Just like an electric eel, it uses high voltage to attack its prey. The Inertia notes that when it senses food nearby, it uses a jolt of electricity to stun it and devour it right away. Its large mouth allows it to suck its prey like a vacuum cleaner.

On humans, the electric jolt from the stargazer is not very dangerous. Still, everyone in Virginia Beach should be wary when stepping on the sand. The Florida Museum of Natural History said it generally will not move unless disturbed.

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