RALEIGH — Deep below Raleigh streets, a prehistoric animal caught on camera is thrilling the nation with its wet, pulsating body: the Sewer Monster.
Footage of the beast in its new habitat beneath Cameron Village has appeared on Web sites across the nation, prompting such comments as, "The Sewer Monster is going to eat us all!"
Actually, the sewer monster is made up of thousands of tiny organisms called bryozoans, or moss animacules, said N.C. State University biologist Thomas Kwak. Invertebrates, they bunch together in colonies and feed with tiny tentacles.
"They can get as big as the size of a watermelon," he said.
They've been known to clog pipes, but Raleigh officials aren't worried, even though bryozoans can move up to 10 centimeters a day.
"I don’t know if we’ve seen anything move on its own inside a sanitary sewer line," Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp said.
As for whether the colony of worms poses a danger, Crisp said if the city found such an infestation it would clear it quickly.
"Anything other than water, human waste and toilet paper and you run the risk of having a blockage created by any debris, whether it’s a sack of worms or anything else," he said.