What the hell is that?

I love taking photographs and videos.  Of what?  Whatever.  Everything.  The slightest opportunity.  Even what others might describe as nothing.  Nature abounds with beauty and wonder, so it’s never difficult to find a subject.  Clouds and the patterns they form, The Kids, every insect wandering through my field of vision, wildlife transformed into every conceivable shape and size, plants both unexpected and mundane, the lake, weather’s many faces, plus a myriad of other sources spanning the pedestrian to the exquisite.  Hence the following.

It’s a simple question: What the hell is that?  I ask myself this very thing nearly every time it rains.  It is then a creature emerges from the darkness (having rarely been seen in any amount of daylight) that seems to be a leech yet does not live in water.  Sure, it looks like a worm of some kind, or perhaps a slim species of slug, but it doesn’t move like either of those.  It moves like a leech, like a creature hunting for something, a beast that lifts its head to look about and decide on direction, a slithering wet something that intrigues me to no end.

Let me apologize in advance for the quality of both the photos and the video.  As I said, it only comes out right after it rains and water reflects and refracts light in ways that greatly diminish visibility.  Likewise, it’s almost always dark when it appears.  It’s for these reasons I can’t offer something better.

Anyway, on to the presentation.

The slimy beast on my patio (143_4380)

In that photo, as in all the others to follow, its head is on the right and its ass is on the left.

One might easily say it looks like a gross example of unfamiliar excrement left behind as a gift from some hateful animal passing through these parts.  One would not be too far off in describing the slimy monster were it not for the fact that it moves on its own, and it reacts to my presence.  For instance, I tested it by putting my hand down in its path.  When it reached me, it briefly investigated my finger before lifting its head and looking over it, and then it turned and worked its way around the obstacle.

Another photo of the slimy beast on my patio (143_4379)

I wish environmental factors had not conspired to make it so difficult to see.  Nevertheless, here’s a brief video of it moving about.  If you watch closely (on the right side of the film) you can see the way it moves its head about in very un-wormlike ways, and certainly not like any slug I’ve ever seen.  Of note on the video: because it was so dark and wet when I captured this, I was forced to lighten each video format it to make them it at least somewhat presentable; this has unfortunately diminished their its quality., and that is especially true with the WMV file (again… damn Microsoft crap).  Also note the AVI file is not the raw video originally captured since it too was lightened.

I’ve seen only one of these small mysteries at any one time, but I suspect there are more living in the immediate area.  I say that because I’ve seen them in different locations around the patio on the same day and within only minutes of each other.  Because that would be insufficient time for one of them to move that distance, I can only surmise they are scattered about.

One more of the slimy beast on my patio (143_4377)

Regrettably, our drought seems to have impacted these unknowns.  The small amount of rain we’ve received in the last month or so has not prompted them to make an appearance.  I suspect they either died from lack of water, moved on to wetter areas (closer to the surrounding creeks or the lake itself), or are hibernating in some way until regular amounts of precipitation return to North Texas.

Irrespective of their present disposition, they are a cool oddity I’d like to identify if possible.  I’m still working on that.  Hopefully, I’ll see them again.

[Update] I have since identified this as a blue planarian (Caenoplana coerulea).

3 thoughts on “What the hell is that?”

  1. I agree, Wayne; I do have way too much free time, but I’m learning to fill it with all manner of excitement I’d never considered before — like staring at creepy-crawlies on the patio!

    They change size. I’ve seen them flatten out, squish together (so the whole thing is short and fat), and several other physical transformations. When they’re moving though, their “heads” thin out and elongate as you see it in the video and photos.

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