A woman spotted a strange-looking skeletal sea creature while walking along Rakaia Huts beach in Canterbury, New Zealand, recently. The mysterious creature had sharp teeth, spike-covered skin, two legs, a tail and a long head.

Hanna Mary and her mother came across the creature while collecting trash on the beach after a rough storm passed Canterbury.

"When I pulled it out and saw all the teeth and barbs I was convinced it was a rare deep-sea creature. I was so excited because I love the ocean and its inhabitants," Mary told Fox News. "First I thought it was plastic sheeting. I pulled it out from underneath the sticks and it was a bit more than just a piece of plastic.”

Her mother, who was further down the beach, came back running after listening to Mary's scream.

“She [her mother] found an interesting piece of wood, she picked it up and at the time she yelled out 'omg' and I picked up the critter and I screamed louder than she did. She dropped whatever she was holding and came running to me,” Mary said, New Zealand Herald reported.

They were first hesitant to touch the creature as they thought it could be poisonous. However, within no time, she mustered up enough courage to pick it up and take it home.

“My first thought was that it was something alien, but I was more fascinated than anything,” she said. "I took it all the way home and gave it to a taxidermist next door to see if he knew what it was but he wasn't too sure either. That why I thought I should reach out and see if anyone else knew what it is.”

She then uploaded photos of the creature on Facebook and asked people to help her determine what type of species it was.

"I uploaded the photos on Facebook and we were all taking guesses, most people said skate. few of the guesses were a wee bit absurd because it looks so bizarre. Every time we tried to match it with the guesses it just didn't line up,” she said. “My guess it that it's some sort of deep-sea skate, maybe a Bathyraja abyssicola, that might have been picked up by a trawler. I’m hoping that I have the winning guess." 

Malcolm Francis, a fisheries scientist and marine ecologist at National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), identified the creature as a male Dipturus nasutus, also known as rough skate


“They are called rough skate because they are very prickly ... it's quite common in Canterbury. It's like flat shark, it has a skeleton made out of cartilage. They spend much of their time on the bottom,” he said.

He further explained that the wings of the creature can be eaten and hence they are usually caught by commercial fishermen who sell the wings.

"You might see them in the fish shops in the South Island. It might have been one that had been caught by a fisherman, thrown overboard and washed ashore,” he said.