Visitors to Hollingworth Lake in Rochdale, England, found what many people believe to be a prehistoric reptile washed up on shore on Sunday afternoon.
The Daily Mail reports that pictures of the five-foot monster, with a mouth bigger than a fist and full of sharp teeth, has circulated social media, where people are debating whether the creature is an ancient beast or just a dead pike. Pikes are common to the area and occasionally grow up to four feet long, but this one is especially gruesome.
Jonny Beckett, a 32-year-old sales worker, was taking a romantic stroll with his partner Suzanne, when they encountered the dead beast, which social media has coined the “Roch Ness Monster.”
“I thought it was a crocodile or some ancient creature and I immediately took a photo of it,” he said, adding that he was “stunned.”
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“It looked huge -- about 5 feet in length,” he went on. “A group of kids saw me taking the photo and looked horrified.”
“Very scary looking thing and yes, awful smell with flies swarming about it,” Beckett told the Manchester Evening News.
Many onlookers posted photos of the mysterious creature, which sparked debates on social media over whether it is a terrifying prehistoric beast or just a dead pike. The jury is still out on this one, but social media users have had enough time to form their own conclusions.
“Some pike that is,” Emma Lorraine Mitchel said, according to the Daily Mail. “That looks lethal, I wonder if that’s the only one or if there are more or if it’s ancient.”
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Pikes, which are commonly found in the Hollingworth Reservoir, are known for their aggressive behavior, notes the Manchester Evening News. While they normally feed on smaller fish, they often cannibalize each other when food is scarce.
Whatever the creature turns out to be, whether it is the Roch Ness Monster or simply a pike, Carole Ann Gleeson does not care.
“It's bloody horrible,” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “I won't paddle in the lake again, that's for sure.”