The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after the partially stuffed corpse of a crocodile was found next to a golf course, leaving animal welfare officers baffled as to how it got there.
Concerned passers-by contacted the Scottish SPCA to say they had spotted a reptile in a stream at Carnwath Golf Course, near Biggar in South Lanarkshire.
Officers initially thought it was a prank but discovered it was actually a 4ft 6in (1.4m) long West African dwarf crocodile, which someone had apparently tried to stuff. It is not known how the creature died or how old the protected animal was.
The charity's inspector Heather Lawson, who collected the protected West African dwarf crocodile, said: "I first thought it was a prank when I received a call saying there had been sightings of a crocodile but when I investigated I found it was real.
"The crocodile was dead and oddly had tape wrapped around its head.
"It seems someone has attempted to stuff the crocodile as it had no insides and there was straw stuck in its legs.
"We found it on May 19 and we've been waiting for identification. We now know it was a West African dwarf crocodile and it's a complete mystery how it got there."
Anyone with information about the crocodile is being urged to contact the SSPCA animal helpline on 03000 999 999.
Ms Lawson added: "These are protected animals and anyone who owns one in this country would need to have a dangerous wild animal licence.