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A dog walker has been scrambling for answers ever since his beloved pet sniffed out an "alien" rotting corpse.
Ben Landricombe hoped someone else was around at Thurlestone Beach, Devon earlier this month, to make sure he wasn't going mad at the sight of a mystery creature.
The 41-year-old knew his dog Smokey had found something on January 5 when he vanished in among the long beach grass after chasing down a ball.
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When Ben investigated, he immediately pulled Smokey back from a rotting carcass as soon as he locked eyes on the strange metre-long beast.
Quarry worker Ben told the Daily Star: "It was the strangest creature I’ve ever seen. Alien I reckon."
He explained that Thurlestone Beach makes for a great walk just 20 minutes from his south Devon home and often treats Smokey to the sea breeze.
This particular walk, though, was one Ben doubts he'll be forgetting any time soon and got his 2023 off to a very bizarre start.
Ben said: "It was so weird, it was like woah. Smokey found it. I threw the ball, it went into the hedge and basically he ran up and started licking it and trying to eat it and that.
"I was like 'woah' and pulled him away from it.
"When he's disappeared that means he's either found food like an animal or something gross like a dead animal in fact I knew he'd found something, you know.
"I went looking for him, there's a path then real high grass, beach grass, it was just in the left in there."
Ben described the dead animal (or alien) as having a beak and a perfectly round hold in the back of what looked like its skull.
He continued: "I pulled him away then I was trying to work out what the hell was it? It looked like it had a beak so I started taking photos and there was no one around to show.
"What the hell is it? I was trying to find out what it was.
"I reckon it came from the sea, it had a hole, a perfect hole in the back of the head, really odd. The circle was so perfect, weird man. Very strange.
"I got freaked out about it then I sent a picture to my girlfriend and she said 'holy s***, what the hell is that?' She thought it was a dead body first of all, I don't know why."
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Despite its rotten appearance, Ben claimed it didn't smell at all as far as he was concerned although accepted Smokey thought otherwise.
"He was in paradise probably," he added. "He was fine, I gave him a wash when we got home anyway. I just did it because I think he may have rolled on it or something he started to smell anyway, he likes rolling into stuff all the time.
"He's amazing, he had cancer in his mouth so we had to take his bottom jaw off but he survived and he's been very, very good."
The Daily Star has approached a couple of experts in case they could shed light on what on Earth the animal was.
US-based geoscientist Rosie Moore admitted it was "a hard one" to tell from the pictures alone.
Marine biology lecturer Dr Benjamin Ciotti of nearby University of Plymouth told the Daily Star that rather than being a washed up sea creature, it looks like a "large dead bird".
University of Exeter's senior lecturer in marine biology, Dr Chris Laing said he had "no idea" but advised "if it’s a washed up marine animal it should be reported to the the local marine strandings network".
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