'What on Earth?': Aussie woman's weird find dropped on back deck

While some thought the creature was dropped by aliens, there is a likely explanation.

“What on Earth?" was a Tasmanian mother’s first reaction after finding a dead sea creature on the deck of her suburban home.

Lauren McArthur told Yahoo News Australia she had been bringing the washing in when she noticed the animal stuck between the wooden slats. “I have got two dogs and they were sniffing around it, and I was thinking what on earth is that?”

Moving it gently with her shoe, she was able to get a better look and identified it as a seahorse. “It’s the first time I’ve seen something like that outside of an aquarium.”

Left: The seahorse wedged between boards of the deck. Right - the seahorse on a piece of paper.
A dead seahorse was found by a Tasmanian woman wedged in her back deck. Source: Lauren McArthur

Living at Old Beach, south of Hobart, her property is just 50 metres from the Derwent River. Despite the close proximity of water, she was initially mystified as to how the creature made its way onto her deck.

Social media user suggests aliens dropped seahorse

Posting images of the seahorse to Facebook, she wrote: “Wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something.” Her story was then shared by local media site Pulse, attracting hundreds of comments.

Some readers shared their own stories of snakes and crabs landing in their yards. Another shared a photo of a bat found clinging to his slippers, with others joking about the situation. "If she was laying on the deck sun baking that could have ended differently," one person wrote.

Others became conspiratorial: "It's aliens. I had something similar happen at my house".

A map of Old Beach showing the Derwent River
Despite living at Old Beach, close to the Derwent River, the seahorse was still a surprising find. Source: Google Earth

Why did the seahorse land on her deck?

After reading the colourful reactions, Ms McArthur laughed and said she doesn't believe the seahorse was the work of aliens or any other supernatural being, clarifying: "I'm not a heavy drinker. I don't smoke anything, and it didn't just magically fall out of the sky."

Her rational hypothesis is that the creature was likely dropped by a bird. She's seen increased numbers in the reserve near her house in recent weeks.

Dr Eric Woehler from BirdLife Tasmania told Yahoo News Australia the most likely candidate to have dropped the seahorse was a silver gull, but kelp and Pacific gulls were also possibilities. “Any of these might occasionally pick one up… the other alternative is a forest raven scavenging on the foreshore.”

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