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 20m 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.
‘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.’