A bizarre creature that appears to be a combination of a crocodile and a dolphin washed up on an Australian lake shore recently.
An image of the creature was captured by Australian man Ethan Tipper, according to 9 News. It was captured on Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. While some have claimed that the animal is a Largehead Hairtail, others have suggested the image is simply electronically altered.
Australia Museum fish collector Mark McGrouther has noted that the creature is likely a pike eel, which is native to the deep waters near the east coast of Australia.
“This is the first time I have ever seen one of them in the flesh,” McGrouther said. “I suspect it was caught and discarded by fishermen who got more than they bargained for when they tried to reel it in.”
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The pike eel is known for thrashing violently once hooked, which would be a handful for the average fisherman.
Marine biologist Julian Pepperell has also agreed that the creature is a pike eel, according to Stuff.co.nz.
“The head is very indicative of that species,” Pepperell said. “It’s hard from the photo to get an idea of the scale.”
McGrouther said that the photo might make the eel appear to be larger considering the angle the photo was taken at.
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Pepperell noted that the eel looked relatively old and that it probably died from a net entanglement or simply from old age.