Do you know what this hairy sea creature is?
PUBLISHED: 12:13 28 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:13 28 May 2015
A family had a close encounter with a weird looking sea creature - not often seen on the shore - as they enjoyed a summer stroll on a Norfolk beach.
Laura Andrew, her husband Michael and son Harvey, had taken a day trip to Hemsby with her parents and were dipping their toes in the surf when they spotted the multi-coloured sea mouse.
The family, who had travelled to the coast from Stoke Ferry, near King’s Lynn, first thought the bizarre-looking creature was a piece of seaside flora - until it suddenly moved.
Laura, 30, said: “We were all stood there watching the tide and getting out feet wet and I just looked down and thought, ‘that’s a funny bit of moss’. Then as I bent down to look at it, it moved and it made me jump.
“I thought ‘oh my God, what’s that?’”
The eagle-eyed mum and her family then gathered round the small, hairy sea creature and she quickly took some pictures of it with her phone.
Once back home she searched on the internet to find out what it was they had seen and discovered it was a sea mouse - a marine worm covered with distinctive multi-coloured hair.
Laura said: “As it moved it had a turquoise/purple tinge to it, a bit like the colour of petrol. When I was looking online it said it’s defence was to go those colours. It doesn’t like light and it always stays under the sea.
“It was quite strange but in a good way. It’s always nice to learn new things about nature.”
The sea mouse is usually at home burying under the seabed searching for food but individuals can be found washed up on the sand after storms, or stranded at low tide.