'What the f**k is it?' Terrifying sea creature snapped on shore
Forget the Loch Ness Monster, this massive creature has apparently just washed up by a lake in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.
Father Ethan Tippa claims to have photographed the odd creature next to a boat ramp on the vast Lake Macquarie, later posting the image on Facebook.
He asked: "What the f**k is it?"
The photo has been shared by thousands of social media users across the world, with many speculating over what it could be, while others are claiming it has been digitally altered.
Marine biologist Julian Pepperell told the Newcastle Herald she believed it was a nocturnal pike eel, which are common in NSW waters, but he admitted it was hard to tell how big it really was from the photo.
"I think it's definitely a pike eel. The head is very indicative of that species," he said.
"It's hard from the photo to get an idea of the scale."
He said the pike eel was probably quite old and would have given fishermen "the fight of their lives" if it was accidentally caught.
Alternatively, it may have died of old age or if it was hit by a boat, he said.
"There are certainly people who are bitten by them in boats," he said.
"They have incredibly strong muscle and their teeth are geared towards inflicting slashing wounds."
Australian Museum collector Mark McGrouther told Daily Mail Australia he also suspects it is a pike eel.
"This is the first time I have ever seen one of them in the flesh," he said.
"I suspect it was caught and discarded by fisherman who got more than they bargained for when they tried to reel it in."
Dougie Boyd, of the Commercial Fishermen's Co-Operative in NSW, said he did not believe it was a hoax.
"I don’t think it’s been photoshopped," he said. "I’ve seen some monsters, but none that big."
Pike eels can grow up to 1.8 metres in length, they are nocturnal and difficult to catch. They are not poisonous to eat and are sold in south-east Asia.