Pint-Sized Hero Helps Tiny Seahorse Avoid Being Seagull's Lunch

This is one lucky seahorse.

About a month ago, a little girl was walking along Indian Shores Beach in Florida when she saw a seagull overhead carrying what looked like a Cheeto in its beak. Suddenly the bird dropped the orange item nearby, and the girl saw that it wasn't a tasty cheese-flavored snack after all; it was actually a small seahorse.

According to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), the girl placed the seahorse in a bucket and ran to show her mother, who called the aquarium for help. The aquarium put the seahorse, which they named Cheeto, in a "quarantine habitat" for observation while it recovered from the ordeal. After about a week, the aquarium says, Cheeto began eating again. (They fed her tiny shrimp.)

"The chances of surviving being dropped by a seagull in the sand are small," Don Stansell, a marine biologist with CMA, told The Dodo. “It’s amazing because all of the things happened at the exact right time and probably only in a two-minute window for her to have survived."

Cheeto was determined to be a female lined seahorse, which is a species that changes color to match its surroundings. While she was at the aquarium, she changed from bright orange to bright yellow to match her new habitat.

After three weeks at the aquarium, Cheeto was strong enough to be released back into the wild. Aquarium staff put her in the container pictured below, brought her onto a boat and found a "suitable seagrass bed" where they set her free.

It just goes to show how unpredictable life can be. One moment you're lunch meat, the next you're swimming in your own luxury suite.