10 Strange Creatures that Came Ashore in 2022

Marine fauna tend to use ocean currents to facilitate their movement. For this reason, a disturbance in these currents is likely to cause various types of strange or unfamiliar creatures to wash ashore.
10 Strange Creatures that Came Ashore in 2022
Cesar Paul Gonzalez Gonzalez

Written and verified by the biologist Cesar Paul Gonzalez Gonzalez.

Last update: 04 February, 2023

Every year, beaches around the world receive many different marine animals that approach the land as part of their life cycle. Although these types of events are normal and recurrent, some strange events also occur, which can surprise and disturb those who witness them. Stay with us and discover some strange creatures that came ashore in 2022.

These phenomena are caused by different reasons, such as water conditions or other factors peculiar to each animal. For this reason, it’s difficult to predict them and they have quite an impact every time they occur. Keep reading and get ready to be amazed by these creatures that came ashore unexpectedly in 2022.

Why do sea animals come ashore?

Marine animals spend most of their lives underwater, but some come to the surface to reproduce and ensure the survival of their offspring. As in other environments, the ocean contains many predators that actively seek out weak prey, either old or young. This is why certain species have chosen to come ashore to increase their survival rate.

Of course, reproduction isn’t the only reason why marine animals come ashore. There are other factors that could be conducive to this situation, such as:

  • Old age: Older animals tend to have problems swimming, and so the force of the currents strands them on the beaches.
  • Illness, malnutrition or injury: These can interfere with the mobility or orientation of marine species, causing them to come ashore by accident.
  • Predator attacks: While animals are fleeing from a predator, they may get too close to the beach and end up stuck or stranded.
  • Climatic factors: Exceptional conditions such as storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and underwater volcanic eruptions cause marine species to leave their natural course and reach land.
  • Anthropogenic (man-made) factors: Fishing nets, collisions with boats, pollution and oil spills affect the mobility of marine fauna and disorient them, which could cause them to come ashore by accident.

Strange creatures that came ashore in 2022

Many marine animals live in the depths or are extremely large, and so it’s not at all common to see them on the surface or near beaches. However, under certain conditions, even they could suddenly come ashore and surprise people with their appearance. Some of these strange creatures that came ashore in 2022 are the following.

1. White humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

The humpback whale is one of the largest rorquals in the world, so it’s rare to find them near the coast or stranded on the beach. However, in July 2022, the body of a whale was found off the coast of Australia that exhibited white pigmentation, quite similar to albinism.

Apart from the fact that it’s unusual to find a whale stranded on the beach, it’s even more unusual for such a whale to be albino. This is why it was such an extraordinary event, as, to date, the sightings of white humpback whales are scarce and almost nonexistent.

Humpback whale stranded.
Megaptera novaeangliae.

2. Giant squid (Architeuthis dux)

Giant squid live at depths of over 1000 meters (3300 feet), so it isn’t common to see them swimming at the surface or even near the shores. However, in September 2022, the body of a giant squid was found stranded on a beach in New Zealand. This fact caused shock and amazement among tourists due to the enormous size of the specimen (4 meters long without counting its tentacles).

Cuerpo de un calamar gigante enterrado en la arena
Architeuthis dux.

3. A whale stomach

In October 2022, local residents of Marazion Beach (England) discovered something shocking in the sand: a large, gray, amorphous mass. Although some people thought it was an alien, specialists discovered that it was, in fact, a whale’s stomach.

The origin of this organ is still undetermined, but it’s likely that the waves or ocean currents displaced the stomach of the remains of a cetacean. Of course, it comes from a large specimen, such as a fin whale, minke whale, humpback whale, or sperm whale.

Estomago de una ballena sobre la arena
Whale stomach on the sand.

4. Little blue penguins (Eudyptula minor)

Although certain species of penguins frequent the coasts of several countries, it’s incredibly rare for hundreds of specimens to wash up dead for no apparent reason. In May 2022, the bodies of more than 180 little blue penguins washed up on the beaches of New Zealand.

When the remains of these peculiar animals were analyzed, they showed signs of severe malnutrition. This meant that they could have been left without food for several days or weeks, which caused their death and then they were washed ashore by the waves. Although there’s still no answer as to why this happened, some specialists point out that it could be the result of overfishing or climate change.

Dead penguin.
Eudyptula minor.

5. Common thresher (Alopias vulpinus)

The coasts of the United Kingdom received a curious specimen of thresher shark, whose size and appearance was far from what a baby of the species should be. Thanks to a necropsy, it was recognized that it was in fact a baby shark that had been miscarried shortly before birth. This was the reason why it didn’t have any teeth and was much smaller than normal.

Shark miscarriages are more common than you’d think. However, they’re also caused by conditions such as stress or predator attack. However, not all the remains reach the beaches, so people are always very surprised to see them on the beach.

Strange creatures that came ashore.
Alopias vulpinus.

6. Beaked whale (Ziphiidae)

In May 2022, the remains of what appeared to be a whale-sized dolphin (almost 5 meters long – just over 16 feet) were found on the beaches of California (United States). Although this creature is strange, it’s a peculiar species of odontocete (a relative of dolphins) known as the beaked whale.

These animals aren’t easily found in the sea, as they dive more than 1000 meters (3300 feet) deep. In addition, they’re able to survive for a long time underwater. Therefore, not many people know about their existence and are amazed to see what seems to be a strange combination of a dolphin and a whale.

Ballena picuda varada en la costa

7. Cannonball jellyfish (Stomolophus meleagris)

Thousands of cannonball jellyfish appeared off the coast of North Carolina (USA) and caused a commotion among the locals. Although it isn’t uncommon for these animals to appear on the sand, this time they carpeted the entire sand with their presence.

Jellyfish are animals that reproduce easily as long as they have the necessary resources at their disposal. If the environment is favorable, they’re able to produce many offspring and cause what is known as blooms. Thanks to this and to the marine currents, it’s possible for vast amounts of jellyfish to reach the beaches.

Jellyfish on a beach.
Stomolophus meleagris.

8. “Kraken” with huge eyes

In August 2022, a strange squid-like creature was found on the rocky shores of South Africa. This specimen was very similar to the mythical creature known as “kraken”, as it was more than 4 metres (13 feet) long with huge eyes.

Although it caused a surprise because of its appearance, this animal isn’t unknown. It belongs to the group of giant squids, which are characterized by immense sizes that can exceed 10 meters (33 feet) in length. Of course, it is uncommon to find them near the coast, but it isn’t a mythical creature as originally thought.

A giant squid.

9. Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) over 100 years old

A Greenland shark was found off the coast of the United Kingdom in March 2022. This specimen was about 4 meters (13 feet) long and weighed almost 290 kilograms (640 pounds), so it was gigantic for the locals. However, it held an incredible secret that would not be discovered until after the necropsy.

Upon completion of the analysis of its remains, the specialists realized that this shark was approximately 100 years old. Contrary to what one might believe, this fact didn’t impress the professionals, since the species usually lives between 150 and 500 years. Even so, it’s unusual to find a specimen of this age on the coasts or on the beaches.

Tiburón de Groenlandia varado en la costa
Somniosus microcephalus.

10. Giant sunfish (Mola alexandrini)

The giant sunfish was discovered floating off the coast of the Portuguese islands. It was about 3.6 meters wide and 3.5 meters long (11.8 feet), weighing almost 3 tons. This huge specimen broke the record for the largest bony fish in the world, as it surpassed the size of other sunfish such as Mola mola or Mola tecta.

Giant sunfish.
Mola alexandrini.

As you can see, there are many strange creatures that can end up straying on different beaches around the world. Although it’s true that these events are very unusual and infrequent, it’s possible for pretty much any species from the deep to appear on the beaches.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.