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A man thought he stumbled across “an alien ” while on a Scottish beach – but it turned out to be a type of worm called a sea mouse.

Mike Arnott, 33, was taking a winter stroll along Portobello Beach in Edinburgh yesterday when the strange green creature caught his eye while the tide was out.

The engineer originally thought it was a moss-covered pinecone before realising it was alive.

He added that the idea of it being an alien “did cross his mind” – because he had no idea what the unusual-looking creature was.

Mr Arnott said: “I saw this fluorescent green thing with weird needles – I had no idea what it was.

“The bright green and gold colours drew me straight to it.

“I flipped it over and saw it had lots of tiny legs – I had never seen anything like it.

“It being an alien definitely crossed my mind – or I thought it might be something from way out in the deep sea.”

Pete Haskell, of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, offered his expertise to help identify the sea creature.

He said it’s a washed up ‘sea mouse’ – which is confusingly a type of worm.

Pete said: “It looks a bit strange being out of the water, but it’s a type of marine bristle worm that’s found all around the UK coast.”

The rarely-seen animal’s iridescent shimmering green and gold bristles make it look unlike any other marine animal.

They are also usually found in the Mediterranean sea and the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean.

However, this is not the first time a peculiar-looking animal has been found by passersby on a leisurely beach walk.

Earlier this month, a pig-like creature was found washed up on a beach in Galway, Ireland.

Images of the unknown sea beast were doing the rounds on social media on Saturday, November 12, showing the unfortunate sight laid on the popular tourist beach.

According to Galway Beo, the snaps were posted with the caption: “Some sort of sea creature washed up at Bearna Pier beach over the last few windy days.

“Sea Lion? Seal? In fact, it looks like a pig!”

Later, they added: “I looked it up and I reckon it’s a seal as the front flippers are quite short.

“Also discovered we should report all dead seals to Seal Rescue Ireland as they track seal deaths (who knew?). I sent them photos but couldn’t see a tag on its hind flippers and was not brave enough to try to turn it over just in case things got squidgy.”