Of course, there’s a logical explanation for all of this, but you can see how they might have been a bit creeped out by the whole affair.
The unusual creature was spotted floating atop the water by the crewmen of a naval vessel anchored in the Darsena Medicea, which is in the town of Portoferraio on the Italian island of Elba.
They quickly moved to get the strange creature out of the water, and discovered that it looked as if it had the body of a shark, but the distinctive face of a pig.
Seriously, look at it. It really does, doesn’t it?
Upon closer inspection by people who actually know what they’re talking about, it turned out that the animal was actually an angular roughshark – Oxynotus centrina, to those who know – which usually dwells some 700 metres below the waves.
The deep-sea oddity is also sometimes known – for obvious reasons – as the pig-faced shark.
Despite living so far beneath the sea, the angular roughshark is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
However, even though it is endangered, locals say it has been known to show up on the surface on occasion.
Despite all of this excitement taking place three weeks ago on 19 August, the strange discovery only went viral after pictures of the shark were shared on social media.
Hundreds of comments flooded in, including a load of people mistakenly criticising the sailors for allegedly capturing and killing the endangered shark on purpose.
Once it was taken out of the water, they got it straight to the harbour office, where it was studied and then eventually disposed of.
Yuri Tiberto, from the Elba Aquarium, said that while they’re rare, it isn’t that unusual for the angular roughshark to be spotted in the area.
He explained: “It is commonly called a ‘pig fish’ because when it comes out of the water it emits a kind of grunt.
“In the sea of the Tuscan archipelago, so rich in biodiversity… it is not uncommon to find this fish, and I can safely say that I often receive reports telling me of ‘pig fish’ that have ended up in local fishing nets.
“I also tried for a period to host it in one of the tanks at the aquarium, but soon I gave up because I saw that it is a species that does not adapt to captivity.”
The angular roughshark is known to inhabit the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.