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Thousands of starfish wash up on South Carolina beachs during low tide

The beaches in seaside communities in South Carolina are teeming with activity as thousands of sea creatures ended up on land.

Small starfish washed ashore Monday during low tide in areas near the tourist hotspot of Myrtle Beach.

The large mass of wriggling critters ended up on the shore of Garden City Beach and in Surfside.

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Residents and tourists rushed to play in the mass of wriggling starfish, collecting some and putting handfuls of others back into the water.

People play with starfishes as thousands of them washed ashore during low tide on Garden City Beach, S.C., June 29.

People play with starfishes as thousands of them washed ashore during low tide on Garden City Beach, S.C., June 29.
(Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

Ann Malys Wilson, an interpretative ranger at Myrtle Beach State Park, told The Sun News the starfish are known as Lined Sea Stars and can wash up with strong waves, depending on the current.

Briggs Holtry, 9, of Surfside Beach, picks up starfish to return to the water, June 29.

Briggs Holtry, 9, of Surfside Beach, picks up starfish to return to the water, June 29.
(Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

“We tend to see more sea creatures when it’s warmer water,” she told the paper.

Thousands of small starfish washed ashore during low tide on Garden City Beach, S.C., June 29.

Thousands of small starfish washed ashore during low tide on Garden City Beach, S.C., June 29.
(Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

Wilson added that people should put the 5-legged creatures back in the water, but they must be careful since their arms are fragile and can break.

Linda Frizzell, of Murrells Inlet, searches out dead starfish to collect on Garden City Beach, S.C., June 29.

Linda Frizzell, of Murrells Inlet, searches out dead starfish to collect on Garden City Beach, S.C., June 29.
(Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

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Starfish sightings increased over the weekend, with returning them to the sea.

Dakota Hughes, an aquarist from Ripley’s Aquarium, told WPDE-TV that starfish washing up on South Carolina beaches is normal.

Thousands of small starfish washed ashore during low tide on Garden City Beach, S.C. Residents and tourists rushed play in the mass of wriggling starfish, collecting some and putting handfuls of others back into the water.

Thousands of small starfish washed ashore during low tide on Garden City Beach, S.C. Residents and tourists rushed play in the mass of wriggling starfish, collecting some and putting handfuls of others back into the water.
(Jason Lee/The Sun News via AP)

“We see them more this time of year because there are more living organisms in the intertidal zone for them to feed on,” he told the television station. “As winter comes, they tend to head back out closer to the shelf.”

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Hughes added, however, in the five years he has worked in the area that he’s never seen as many starfish as the ones that washed up in recent days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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