Decaying dolphin with suspected 'shark bite' found on beach in Devon

Marine ecologists admitted the bite did look very 'sharky'. Credit: BPM Media

Walkers in South Devon got a nasty shock when they came across a dead dolphin that looked like it had been bitten by a shark.

The animal washed up at Soar Mill Cove at the tip of the South Hams near Salcombe.

A significant chunk missing from the dolphin's underside caught the attention of beachgoers, despite its carcass already beginning to rot.

However, marine experts say that scavenging birds are more likely to have caused the "bite" than a shark.

Pip Churchyard, who first found the dolphin, said: "It's over five foot and there is a large bite mark straight through the underside which must be a big shark to do such damage."

But marine ecologist Owen Exeter said that while the bite does look very "sharky", he has checked with dolphin experts who provided an alternative explanation.

He said: "Apparently, this is just typical scavenging by seabirds. They will target that area as it is where decomposition often starts so is an easy way into the body for them."