Photo:Mystery: The ‘sea serpent’ was spotted stalking a shoal of fish just yards off the Saltern Cove in Paignton, Devon. The fish were apparently so scared that they beached themselves. Click photo for higher resolution..
By Daily Mail Reporter
Cynics may dismiss it as just a piece of driftwood or a trick of the light. But a photograph showing what appears to be a long-necked sea creature has got marine experts scratching their heads.
The ‘animal’ was snapped stalking a shoal of fish just 30 yards off the British coast.
The fish were apparently so terrified they beached themselves just seconds later.
The creature was spotted off the Devon coast at Saltern Cove, Paignton, by locals who reported a sighting of what they thought was a turtle.
But pictures taken by one of the baffled witnesses, Gill Pearce, reveal the neck of the greenish-brown beast with the reptile-like head is far too long for it to be a turtle.
Mrs Pearce, who took the photo on July 27, reported her sighting to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) where it was studied by sea life experts.
Claire Fischer from the MCS said: ‘Gill Pearce spotted the creature about 20 metres from the bay at Saltern Cove, near Goodrington.
‘It was observed at about 15.30 on 27 July but by the time she had got her camera it had moved further out.
Photo: The ‘sea serpent’. Click photo for higher resolution.
She spotted it following a shoal of fish which beached themselves in Saltern Cove.
‘The creature remained in the sea, then went out again and followed the shoal – this indicates it’s not a turtle as they only eat jellyfish.
‘We would love to know if other people have seen anything like this in the same area and can help clear up the mystery.’
Some people think the sea sighting could be linked to that of a sperm whale sighted off south Devon recently but Miss Fischer dismissed that explanation.
‘They [sperm whales] wouldn’t come that close inshore and the reptilian-like head counts that out – at least that’s what the experts are saying.’
The sighting has caused a stir on the MCS website too, where theories range from sea serpent to salt water crocodile.
An MCS spokesman said: ‘It was reported as a turtle as it had large front flippers and small back flippers and what appeared to be a shell but was also said to have a small head on a thin neck about two-feet long which craned above the surface like a Plesiosaur.