Tourists were shocked when an odd sea creature washed ashore at a New Zealand beach.
Martin Stehlik and his uncle George Plesky were at Ruakaka Beach on Feb. 27 when they spotted the dark creature with big eyes, reports The Northern Advocate.
It was a bigeye thresher shark, more than 13 feet in length.
Martin Stehlik posed in photos as he held the tail of the shark, making a memory that will stay for a lifetime.
"It was just so strange, and we'd never seen anything like it before, with its long tail and its big, black eyes," Plesky told The Northern Advocate.
"It was very unusual. Martin thought it might be a shark that isn't seen here often. He's going to go away with some very good memories of his time here."
Clinton Duffy, an expert from the Department of Conservation, was delighted to see the shark’s photographs. He was also eager to take samples and measurements from the carcass of the shark to learn more about it. So far, little information has been gathered on the species in New Zealand.
"They're quite common but rarely seen due to their offshore habits," Duffy said. "They feed on small schooling fishes and squid. Very little is known of the species' biology in New Zealand. New Zealand game fishers hold most, if not all of the world records for this species."
The shark is often found in tropical weather. With oversized eyes and an elongated tail fin, it stands out from other sharks.
Famous for their eyes, the thresher sharks have adapted to the low light conditions that they often hunt in.
They spend most of their days in deep waters, instead of at the surface.
According to Dive Magazine, divers will often pay for deep-sea diving expeditions in order to see the thresher shark.
In this case, Stehlik and his uncle did not have to go into the sea; the sea creature came to them.