The United Kingdom isn’t exactly renowned for being a place heavily populated by exotic flora and fauna – at least, compared to places like the Americas, Australia, and so on – but it does have starfish, and everyone loves those, right? With a little patience and perseverance, you can normally eventually spot one or two along the coastline, perhaps just beneath the waves or in a rock pool.
On occasion, however, you may stumble across an invasion of them. As depicted by the attached video, a horde of starfish washed up near Ramsgate, Kent, over the weekend, which several outlets are linking to the extreme change in regional temperatures following the curiously named “Beast from the East” meteorological monster.
As immediately, aesthetically thrilling as this site is, it’s worth pointing out that these starfish have perished. So what you’re looking at here is essentially a mass grave.
A few crabs, stingrays, sea urchins, and lobsters were also reportedly found along the plateau of death. “I think someone found a lobster in there as well – and some false teeth,” eyewitness Lara Maiklem, 47, told The Huffington Post.
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She shared plenty of fantastic and otherworldly photographs of the event, seen at low tide, on her London Mudlark Facebook page, which you can peruse through here.
Although at this stage it can’t be confirmed that the Beast from the East is indeed the primary antagonist here, it’s worth pointing out that starfish are often dragged along by the prevailing current. The changes brought about by the perturbations in the northern polar jet stream may have led to a localized current change that swept these invertebrates to a premature, onshore demise. Sudden drops in temperature in near-shore waters likely killed off a good few beasties before they were washed up onshore, too.
The National Trust explains that “the cause of the mass strandings is unknown but bad weather and storms out at sea coupled with higher than usual tides may be to blame.”
Either way, it’s not just Kent. As reported by ITV News, “millions” of dead fish, along with some seals and velvet crabs, have also washed up on Yorkshire’s East Coast over the weekend too. This second site of nightmarishness has been captured by Bex Lynam, who's also put together a set of images on her Facebook page.
Be thankful you can view these grim scenes from the comfort of your computer or mobile, ladies and gentlemen: Those shorelines are going to stink to high heaven once the decomposition processes kick into gear.