Parade of octopuses spotted on Welsh beach

Marine expert says storms could have caused creatures to make rare appearance on land

(Image credit: SeaMor Dolphin Watching Boat Trips New Quay/Facebook)

A mysterious parade of octopuses has been seen taking an evening walk on a Welsh beach.

Around two dozen curled octopuses emerged from the waves on New Quay beach, in Cardigan Bay, and squelched along the shore on Friday evening.

The eerie procession was caught on video by Brett Stones, owner of SeaMôr Dolphin Watching Boat Trips, who was returning from a late trip when he spotted the creatures.

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“They were coming out of the water and crawling up the beach,” he told WalesOnline.

On its Facebook page, the company said staff had picked up the octopuses who had wandered out of the water and dropped put them back in the sea to prevent them being stranded. Despite their efforts, some of the octopuses were dead the next morning.

Curled octopuses are a common species around the British and Irish coasts, but they are ordinarily “sublittoral”, according to the Marine Life Information Network, meaning they tend to stay up to 200m below the water’s surface.

Stones, who has been skippering boats in Cardigan Bay for more than 15 years, said he was unsure why the octopuses had decided to leave the water.

"Maybe they are getting confused by the bright lights in New Quay harbour and maybe they are dying off after summer or getting knackered after the recent storms,” he told the BBC.

James Wright, a curator at Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, told The Daily Telegraph he was concerned by multiple reports he had heard this week of octopuses on the shoreline.

“Being found in the intertidal is not common and suggests there is something wrong with them I am afraid,” he said.

He added that the two areas were curled octopuses had been spotted on the shore, Wales and north Devon, were also the areas worst hit by Storm Ophelia and Storm Brian, suggesting the creatures had been injured or confused by the extreme weather.

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