When a man found a strange-looking creature on a beach near Perth, Australia, he immediately noticed how bizarre it was. He shared a photo of his discovery on social media. “ID on this alien-looking thing that washed up on Leighton Beach,” he wrote on his Facebook post. It turns out that this creature was a sea hare, a common occurrence in Australian waters.
The public immediately raised the alarm after seeing the creature, identifying it as a “dog-killer” because its venom can be very toxic to dogs. Another man even suggested to get plastic and throw it away. This species is usually around 20 centimeters long and can grow to a whopping 14kg. According to Unilad, a British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group that provides social news and entertainment, there are 23 different species of sea hares in the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
Professor Culum Brown from the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University stated that the sea hares produce a purple dye when they are alarmed. “They are mildly toxic depending on the algae they have been eating,” he said. This ink acts as their defense mechanism that contains toxins, which is thought to be poisonous to dogs.
“The trouble with dogs is they go up and lick them and sometimes they eat them, too, and as soon as they go in your mouth, if they're super toxic, then they can cause spasms,” Brown added.
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According to the Daily Mail, a British daily middle-market newspaper published in London in a tabloid format, veterinarian Dr. Joshua Ovens previously warned anyone who suspects that their dogs may have eaten a sea hare to contact a vet immediately. “In terms of clinical signs, if your dog has licked or eaten one, they’ll tend to drool excessively, they can get muscle spasms and begin shaking, vomiting and it can progress to seizures and possible death if they get a really large dosage,” he said.