A great white shark has washed up dead on an Australian beach – after choking on a sea lion.
Western Australia fisheries officials were left puzzled by the case of the four-metre (13-ft)white pointer.
It had previously been seen thrashing around in the sea off Coronation Beach,430km (270 miles) north of Perth.
Experts found the shark, which washed up earlier this week, had no sign of visible injury or disease – but they found it had a large sea lion lodged in its throat.
“This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behaviour in shallow waters off Coronation Beach,” said research scientist Rory McAuley.
“It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage.
“Such a large object may have damaged the shark’s internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death.
“Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his attempts to get rid of the obstruction.”
Local man Brad Tapper described how the shark was spotted by a man walking a dog after his pet refused to go in the water.
“When we spotted it, it was about 50 metres off the shore. We thought it was a diver or something,” he told the West Australian newspaper.
“It was kind of surreal, you’re watching it and you don’t realise how rare it is at the time until you get home and have a look at the footage.”
Some people tried to tow the shark back out to sea after it beached, but the animal returned to shore.
“We went to look at it and got within three or four metres of it, but it started kicking and thrashing around again so we thought it was time to leave,” Mr Tapper said.