Blue dragons are washing themselves on Padre Island national beach

A blue dragon, found by 7-year-old Hunter Lane.

Visitors to Padre Island National Seashore in Texas are discovering blue dragons on their travels, and although they may not be the flying and fire-breathing creatures that their name might suggest, it is still “a rare find”, the says park.

Hunter Lane, a 7-year-old boy from Mesa, Arizona, found four dragons in minutes on May 2 during a vacation with his parents. Her father, Trey Lane, told CNN that he has been vacationing by the sea for 30 years and has never seen one.

“Hunter loves sea creatures and thought he found a blue button jellyfish,” said Trey. “After picking it up in a beach toy, it proclaimed that I had discovered a new species!”

Blue dragons, or glaucus atlanticus, are small sea snails – typically only 3 cm wide or just over an inch wide. They can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, according to the nonprofit conservation Oceana.

But even though creatures aren’t as big as dragons, they have an average punch. Blue dragons eat the Portuguese man of wars, which look like big jellyfish, and store stinging cells of their prey for future use, according to Oceana. So when humans touch these small snails, they can free the stinging cells and create a sting that can injure more than one man of war.

“So if you see a dragon in the park, let yourself be surprised that they are a rare find, but also keep your distance!” warns the national beach.

Recently, many seaside visitors have seen dragons, Jamie Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the park, told CNN. He said the wave could be the result of a group washing up on the shore. However, in his two years working on the national seashore, Kennedy said he hasn’t heard of anyone who has seen them so far.

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