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Diver captures 'Cookie Monster of the Sea'

(Mauricio Hander/

(Mauricio Hander/

Digital writers

Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 11:44 AM -

Underwater photographer Mauricio Handler was scuba diving near the reefs of Curacao in the Caribbean when he made an amazing discovery.

A purple tube sponge, now known as the "Cookie Monster of the Sea."

"There are a lot of sponges in the area. I was kind of busy looking for mostly fish. I wasn't purposely looking for tube sponges," Handler told “They become almost a normal thing on a dive."

He says he nearly missed the funky Cookie Monster look-alike before his wife Julia pointed it out.

(Muppet Facebook page)

(Muppet Facebook page)

The underwater creature is actually a trio of purple sea sponges that fused together to form a resemblance to the Muppet.

The sponge is about three feet tall and squishy to touch and according to Handler, you could easily close its "mouth" by squeezing it together. 

Although they may look plant-like, sea sponges are multi-cellular animals that attach to the sea floor, or to reefs, and feed by filtering particles from currents. 

Handler describes the photo as a "far departure" from his extreme work, but says it was a "fun one" that had him and his wife laughing.

With files from

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