NBC Philadelphia - Ted Greenberg
Sponges that resemble brains or human feces are washing up in the bays and marinas of Long Beach Island.
A vile visitor is lurking in the water off the New Jersey coast. It's creepy, smelly and extremely strange.
Within the last week, thousands of dead potato sponges have floated into lagoons along Long Beach Island, N.J. and washed up on bayside beaches.
People have said the sponges resemble everything from brains to human feces and the smell is not much better.
Lifelong residents say they’ve never seen anything like it.
"You're a little bit overwhelmed with the odor at times," Joe Muzyka said.
As time goes on, the odor from the decomposing sponges just keeps getting worse.
However, officials say the water's been tested and there's no public health risk.
The sponges live in Barnegat Bay -- the same body of water where massive amounts of eelgrass recently surfaced.
Experts think they both fell victim to very warm bay water containing low-levels of oxygen thanks to the summer's extreme heat.