Giant creature washes up on popular beach

URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL URL

A giant creature washed up on a South Australian beach has gone viral online, sparking a mixed reaction.

The animal, estimated to be 2.7m wide and pictured first by Fish SA Magazine, was spotted lying dead on the sand at Petrel Cove near Encounter Bay along the state’s south coast last weekend.

The South Australia Museum has since confirmed the creature was “almost certainly a bump-head sunfish, Mola alexandrini”.

“You can tell it’s a bump-head sunfish rather than one of the other two types (Mola tecta, the Hoodwinker sunfish and Mola mola, the Ocean sunfish) because of the prominent chin you can see in the photo,” a museum spokesman told Yahoo News.

Sunfish, which can grow to over three metres and over 2000kg, are found worldwide, with the species found at Petrel Cove one of the most often encountered in South Australia.

In recent days, curious locals have flocked to the beach to take photos of the carcasses, despite its reportedly strong odour.

The creature has been met with a mixed reaction online, with some expressing their awe over the “amazing” sight, while others shared their sadness over the death of the “gentle” animal.

“Amazing. I wonder how prolific they are,” one person wrote.

“What a shame. They are beautiful. This makes me feel really sad,” said another.

“Beautiful – seen one that big snorkelling. Gentle creatures,” another wrote.

“That’s sad to see,” another shared.

Another social media user, Dani Brown, shared a photo of herself lying next to the fish for a size comparison.

“This is me with it today – for reference, I’m 164cm tall!” she captioned the photo.

It’s not known what led to the sunfish’s death.

Danish marine biologist Dr Marianne Nyegaard previously told Yahoo News it can be impossible to determine what kills the creatures.

“Stranded sunfish typically appear to have been healthy with no obvious cause of death, or impairment to explain why they ended up on the beach,” Dr Nyegaard told the outlet.

The sighting comes years after a Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, made international headlines when it washed up near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia in 2019.

At the time, Linette Grzelak, shared a photo of the creature to social media after her partner spotted the fish, which had already died, while out fishing.

“A sunfish found by my partner along the Coorong a couple nights ago … I thought it was fake,” the post read.

The Mola mola has a reputation for damaging boats and there have been instances where the aniaml has been blamed for sinking yachts.

A yacht competing in the Sydney to Hobart race in 2019 went down off Flinders Island after it hit a sunfish “as big as two 44-gallon drums”, The Mercury reported.

The yacht lost its rudder in the impact with the fish and started taking on water while returning to the mainland after competing in the race.

Another yacht damaged in the Sydney to Hobart race last year was also suspected to have been hit by a sunfish.

Leave a Comment