A MYSTERIOUS creature that washed up on a beach after a storm has baffled residents on Greek island Crete.
The hairless, four-legged animal - which resembles a small hippo - was spotted near a river in tourist resort Gournes.
It washed up after days of bad weather lashed the coast near Heraklion.
Images shared online show the bizarre creature sprawled on the sand surrounded by storm debris.
Social media users said it looked like various animals such as a dog, a pig or a seal - but is clearly none of those.
It sparked a frenzy of discussion on Greece's largest island, with some saying they are afraid of it and others curious to understand where it came from.
One expert offered a potential solution to the mystery, although the species has yet to be identified by genetic tests.
Petros Lymperakis, curator of vertebrates at the Museum of Natural History of Crete, said the creature is possibly a badger.
He said it that seems to have lost its hair after being in the water for some time, which also caused it to swell and take on its eerie appearance.