Dolphins, most dead but some living, are washing up all over Texas beaches but there's no need to worry ... officials say it's totally normal. WTH?

Seriously, dolphins are washing up all over Texas beaches, 18 or so in January alone, and that number is almost certain to rise according to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

As if running into a rattlesnake wasn't enough to make you reconsider a Texas beach vacation, here's another reason to just take the kids to the zoo this summer.

While this is truly heart - wrenching, it is normal. There's even a name for it, "stranding season", and it happens December - April. The reasons behind it are (usually) natural:

This could be attributed to weather, illness, and complications related to birth during the dolphin calving season, which usually reaches a pinnacle in the spring and fall. "The TMMSN not only gathers data to maintain important baselines, but we also collect samples for analysis and submit reports to a national database on each dolphin to ensure that we are not seeing any unusual causes of above average mortality rates," - Chron

If you come across a stranded dolphin, or other sea creature, please notify authorities right away.

In the meantime, if you can safely do so, keep the dolphin as wet as possible while you wait for help. Live, stranded animals are usually ok, once returned to the water, if they receive help in time.

Should you run across a stranded dolphin, here a few dos and don'ts for dealing with it. Meanwhile, also on Texas beaches ...

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Gallery Credit: Tara Holley

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