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Ground Eel Population Explosion Terrorizes Blacktip Island

ground eels

A Blacktip Island ground eel crawls past a game camera in a Blacktip Island mahogany grove Thursday evening. A sudden uptick in eel numbers has the Caribbean island’s tourism industry concerned about their impact on hotel bookings. (photo courtesy of Blacktip Island Chamber of Commerce)

A surge in the Blacktip Island ground eel population has island residents on edge and guests panicking this week, causing local businesses to scramble for ways to combat the creatures.

“Ground eels are incredibly rare. We know little about them,” said Goby Graysby, marine biology chairman at Tiperon University-Blacktip. “They’re akin to aquatic morays, but adapted to breath air. This is the first time there’s been a population explosion like this, and we have no idea what caused it.

“The problem is, they’re slimy, they’re smelly and they get into everything. And now there’s a ton of them,” Graysby said. “They’re like hagfish on steroids and can wiggle under doors, down vents and up toilets. They’re normally a solitary species, but in numbers this large, apparently, they can be problematic.”

Island hoteliers say the creatures are wreaking havoc among tourists.

“The eels love sunscreen. And hair gel,” said Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort manager Kay Valve. “They gobble the stuff up and look for more. Most locals don’t use that crap, so for us it’s not so bad. Resort guests, though, they can’t sleep or eat or even sit by the pool and read.

“God help you if you have sunscreen on you,” Valve said. “Yesterday a swarm of eels got on one of our docked dive boats and gnawed everyone raw. We have guests cancelling left and right. And the sunburns have been horrific.”

Departing visitors at the island’s airstrip agreed.

“We expected mosquitos and flies and ants and scorpions, but these eels threw us one hell of a curveball,” said Eagle Ray Cove guest Harry Blenny. “They wormed into our room last night and ate everything in my Dopp kit. And what they did to my wife’s hair while she was sleeping! We had to shave it all off. We’re leaving and never coming back!”

Some locals say the problem is a decline in the eels’ natural predator.

“The mersquatch usually keeps them in check,” said longtime resident Molly Miller. “What we need is a second mersquatch. Or a livelier one.”

The Chamber of Commerce has declared an island-wide state of emergency.

“We put a bounty out on the suckers,” Mayor Jack Cobia said. “Problem is, they’re damned hard to catch, or kill, because they’re so slimy. And nocturnal.

“We got teams in headlamps hunting them with sticks and machetes and golf clubs, but those eels’re damned savvy,” Cobia said. “Shine a light on them, they slither off right quick, leave you clubbing slime trails.”

Island scientists, meanwhile, hope to capture some of the elusive creatures for study.

“We keep setting traps, but the eels can get out of about anything,” Graysby said. “And the few we have caught slip out of any container we put them in. Mason jar with holes punched in it for air? They’ll screw the top off from the inside – they generate that much torque.”

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Mersquatch Steals Blacktip Island Christmas

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A security camera image of Blacktip Island’s Christmas day thief making off with a bag of stolen holiday items. Residents believe the thief is the island’s legendary mersquatch, an aquatic relative of the more-famous sasquatch.

 

Blacktip Island residents were shocked Friday morning to find their homes had been robbed during the night. Security camera images show a creature matching the description of the Caribbean island’s legendary mersquatch making off with bags of stolen goods.

Hand-fishing lines, hooks and seaweed strands were left behind in place of the stolen items.

“It was a God-awful sight, and a God-awful smell,” said robbery victim Rocky Shore. “The whole house stinks like someone left a mess of fish in the sun too long.

“Whoever, whatever it was, he cleaned us out,” Shore said. “The kids’ presents, our Christmas dinner, the honk-hoozles, everything. He even stole our Festivus pole.”

Island police are unsure of a motive for the thefts, but were quick to discount reports of a non-human thief.

“Best guess, it’s a prank,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “No one would have any need for many of the stolen items, and the thief certainly couldn’t sell any of them.

“Our working theory is the individual captured on camera is someone dressed in a gorilla suit,” Marquette said. “There’s several people on island with the bulk to carry that off, and criminal records as well. Problem is, most of them were passed out across the Last Ballyhoo bar last night. But we’re leaving no drunk unturned.”

Authorities are also interviewing a young girl believed to be the only eyewitness to the crimes.

“Little Shelly Bottoms got up for a sneak peek at the tree and surprised the thing,” Blacktip Island mayor Jack Cobia said. “She said it patted her on the head and gave her a glob of seaweed. If that thing had been violent, though, I shudder to think what might have happened.”

Wildlife experts blame the thefts on increased development encroaching on mersquatch habitat.

“These creatures have roamed Blacktip for centuries,” said Tiperon University-Blacktip anthropology professor Nelson Pilchard. “With the island’s recent building boom, we’re getting more and more reports of human-mersquatch confrontation.

“All the commotion people make during the holidays would be incredibly stressful to a solitary creature like this,” Pilchard said. “Most likely, the items were stolen in an attempt to reduce stressors in its environment. Humans aren’t the only ones who find the holidays taxing.”

Some residents, however, found reason to be thankful for the thefts.

“He was mean to steal my toys, but Santa Squatch took bad stuff away, too,” eight-year-old Shelly Bottoms said. “This year I won’t have to eat nasty candied yams with the marshmallows on top. Or Brussels sprouts.”

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