Unless you’ve been living in a pineapple under the sea you’ve probably heard of SpongeBob Squarepants. The popular children’s programme has been around for decades and is still gathering new fans every year.
The show follows a sea sponge and his best friend Patrick, the starfish, as they run around having adventures in Bikini Bottom.
While SpongeBob is a wildly imaginative cartoon, it does appears that there is a real-life SpongeBob and Patrick out there.
SpongeBob and Patrick are real
Marine researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were undertaking a research mission on July 17 when they spotted a real-life sea sponge and starfish sitting side by side.
They were found at the Retriever Seamount off the coast of New England, Live Science reports.
The duo were sitting at a depth of 1,885 meters when the team aboard the Okeanos Explorer took their picture. Researchers were on an expedition to explore the Atlantic Stepping Stones at the time.
Christopher Mah, a marine biologist at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, pointed out the resemblance to SpongeBob and Patrick on Twitter.
The sponge and starfish even have the right colours to match their cartoon counterparts.
The images have brought delight to fans everywhere. The official SpongeBob Squarepants account even promoted it on Instagram.
Unfortunately, this image is where the similarities to the cartoon end. Kids, you may want to stop reading.
Mah told Live Science that “the sponge is [in] the genus Hertwigia and the sea star is [in] the genus Chondraster.”
“This species of starfish has been observed feeding on sponges. And it is possible that this may have happened after the camera stopped rolling,” Mah said.
While it’s adorable to see SpongeBob and Patrick hanging out in real life, it’s probably best they keep that to the cartoon.
Despite over 20 years of TV, SpongeBob‘s time on-air isn’t over yet. The lovable characters have recently returned in a new series titled Kamp Koral which will launch soon on Paramount+ in Australia.