'Alien-looking' find on popular beach turns out to be 'dog killer'

A man has found a creature on a beach south of Perth likening it to a being from beyond the stars.

The man posted a photo of the unusual animal on Facebook on Monday which he found on a beach in Fremantle.

“ID on this alien looking thing that washed on Leighton Beach,” he wrote.

One man, who seemed to have an idea of what the creature was, suggested anyone who came across it to “get a plastic bag and throw it away”.

“Don't touch it - that’s a dog killer,” he wrote.

An orange sea hare is pictured washed up on a beach.
A man found this creature on WA's Leighton Beach - but do you know what it is? Source: Facebook

It turns out - the creature in question appears to be a sea hare. Experts have confirmed this to Yahoo News Australia too.

Professor Culum Brown, from the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University said the creature produces purple dye when alarmed.

“They are mildly toxic ... depending on the algae they have been eating,” Professor Brown said.

A Queensland woman came across a sea hare at a beach north of Brisbane in October.

There are 23 known species of sea hares in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Fully grown adults can weigh up to 14kg.

Similar to octopi, sea hares have the ability to use ink but use it more as a defence mechanism rather than to escape prey. The ink contains toxins.

It’s believed this ink can be poisonous to dogs.

Swans Veterinary Services associate veterinarian Dr Joshua Ovens told the Esperance Express anyone who believes their dog may have eaten a sea hare to contact a vet immediately.

“In terms of clinical signs, if your dog has licked or eaten one, they’ll tend to drool excessively, they can get muscle spasms and begin shaking, vomiting and it can progress to seizures and possible death if they get a really large dosage,” he told the paper in 2018.

However, Dr Ovens said some dogs are “more susceptible to it” it than others, while some sea hares produce more toxins than others do.

“It’s difficult to tell how much is too much in terms of exposure to it,” he said.

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