This bizarre discovery on Diggers Beach, near Coffs Harbour, has given rise to a host of theories explaining what this creature might be and how it washed ashore. The animal, roughly two foot long, was found by surfers on Father’s Day, but only now have the photos surfaced. One of the local men who came across the animal, Peter Atkinson, is at a loss to explain it. Countless others have also been stumped in making a positive identification.
“It was found on the high water mark and we contacted National Parks, but it appears the animal was washed back out to sea on the next tide,” Mr Atkinson said. Suggestions have ranged from the credible to the ridiculous. One strongly supported possibility is that it’s a type of monkey. Others said it could be a South American sloth.
Yet web searches could not help with a positive identification. Even the experts at Taronga Zoo were brought in on the case. Mr Atkinson confirmed the photos were real and taken on a mobile phone, ruling out an email hoax, through several other credible witnesses.
Yesterday a more likely explanation came through the office. Lawrence Orel from the National Parks and Wildlife Service said on first inspection it appeared to be a brush tailed possum. “The bushy fur on the tail gives it away I think. Possums do get that dark in colour, and it looks as though the fur may have come away from the face, but we’ll wait for positive confirmation from the zoo.”