What is it?While exploring the lake, we stopped at a sandbar to take a swim today. I spotted what looked like some sort of creature washed up on shore. I wasn't sure if I wanted to touch it and its furry tentacles hanging down from it's fleshy corrugated body. Hesitantly, I reached down and pulled it from the shore. Surprisingly, it didn't jump up at me or hiss . . . or grab my face and eat it off as I fully expected. It was somewhat soft and the body looked like a foot long caterpillar. I looked it in the face, which looked somewhat like a mole.
I brought it back to the house and examined it further. It appeared to be root like, so I googled 'freshwater root plants' and found out it was a Yellow Pond Lily root in which beaver like to snack on and not something that wanted to snack on humans.
I learned from a USDA website that the root is a spongy rhizome under the water with thin submerged leaves attached to it. The floating part of the plant looks similar to a water-lily and is in the same family but has a yellow flower. Some people eat the root though it is said to not be very tasty.
The USDA website stated that Native Americans consumed the starchy root stocks as boiled or roasted vegetables and harvested the seed for grinding into flour. And there are some accounts of the root being powdered and used as a poultice to help relieve soreness or inflammation.
So we now know what the washed up 'creature' is and will hopefully have our daughter thinking it is alive and active in the kitchen sink when she gets home!