A creature washed up from the ocean during Hurricane Harvey has left the internet thoroughly puzzled.

It was first discovered by Preeti Desai, social media manager at the US Aubudon Society, while she was out at the coast assessing damage after the storm with conservationists. It was found on a Texas City beach, about 24km from Galveston. Desai appealed to biologists on Twitter to help her identify the peculiar-looking creature.

Clearly a carnivore, it has a row of sharp teeth and its eyes are hard to discern. Its brown body was a little dried out and wrinkled by the time it was found. It's not clear how long it had been dead before Desai came across it.

Helpful Twitter users proposed answers ranging from a gulper eel to an alien.

"I follow a lot of scientists and researchers," Desai told BBC News. "There's such a great community of these folks that are very helpful, especially when it comes to answering questions about the world or identifying animals and plants."

However, Kenneth Tighe, a biologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, gave his verdict that it could be a fangtooth snake-eel. These creatures make burrows in the ocean floor at depths of up to 90 metres below sea level. They lie in wait for passing fish and crustaceans, with just the tip of their face exposed.

The other option, Tighe said, was that it was a Bathyuroconger vicinus or Xenomystax congroides – each natives of the Texas coastline.

Without further images or an up-close assessment of the creature, it's hard to come up with an exact species.

"All three of these species occur off Texas and have large fang-like teeth," Tighe told Earth Touch News. "Too bad you can't clearly see the tip of the tail. That would differentiate between the ophichthid and the congrids."

The creature was left on the beach where Desai found it, to allow nature to take its course.