On the beach: Thousands of live sand dollars wash ashore on Oregon coast

SEASIDE, Ore. — The Oregon shore was teeming with dollars on Sunday -- sand dollars.

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Thousands of live sand dollars washed up on the Oregon coast, and marine officials have no explanation, The Oregonian reported.

The Seaside Aquarium posted photos of the sand dollars on its Facebook page on Sunday evening, reporting that thousands washed up with the afternoon high tides on the south end of Seaside Beach.

“At this time, we do not know what has caused this, and these types of incidents usually have several contributing factors,” aquarium officials wrote on Facebook. “We are also unaware if this is an isolated incident or if this is happening on other beaches. It is hard to convey how many sand dollars [are] washing in.”

The sand dollars are not expected to survive, Tiffany Boothe, of the Seaside Aquarium, told KPTV.

“You could put them back in the water if you found live ones, but most likely, they are just going to wash back in,” Boothe told the television station. “There’s something that is going on right now, whether it is current or there’s a lot of contributing factors ... causing this isolated incident.”

According to The Oregonian, sand dollars are a species of sea urchin covered in tube feet and spines that they use to move and eat. In rough waters, they lie flat and are partially buried in the sand. They feed on algae and other small bits of organic material, the newspaper reported.

Aquarium officials said that while the dead sand dollars look interesting with their bleached exoskeletons, living ones are covered in purple fuzz. People should think twice before taking recently dead sand dollars home because they tend to smell after decomposing, KPTV reported.

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