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Tiger shark vomits entire spikey land creature in rare sighting: 'All its spine and legs'

It appears the shark liked neither its prey's texture nor taste.

A team of scientists reported getting a surprise after they witnessed a tiger shark regurgitate a spikey land mammal from down under that resembles a hedgehog.

In what may be a first-ever world-sighting, James Cook University (JC) announced Thursday, the team spotted the big fish vomit an , a dome-shaped mammal covered in quills,.

Researchers from JCU tagging marine life off the coast of Orpheus Island in north Queensland in May 2022 "got the shock of their lives" according to a university press release, when they watched the shark regurgitate "the iconic" Australian animal.

Former James Cook University student Dr. Nicolas Lubitz and his team of students reported they "got the shock of their lives" after witnessing a Tiger Shark throw up an echidnas, a dome-shaped mammal covered in quills, found in Australia and New Guinea

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'What the hell is that?'

Former JCU PhD student Dr. Nicolas Lubitz and his team reported after they caught the shark, it threw the dead animal up - all in one piece.

鈥淲e were quite shocked at what we saw. We really didn鈥檛 know what was going on,鈥 according to Lubitz, who said in the release he could only assume the shark had snatched the echidna as it swam in the shallow waters off the island.

A tiger shark cruises near the ocean floor in this image provided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

鈥淲hen it spat it out, I looked at it and remarked 'What the hell is that?' Someone said to take a picture, so I scrambled to get my phone."

The echidna was fully intact

Lubitz said the dead echidna was whole in its entirety when it was regurgitated, suggesting a recent kill by the 10-foot long shark.

鈥淚t was a fully intact echidna with all its spines and its legs,鈥 the scientist said.

"It鈥檚 very rare that they throw up their food but sometimes when they get stressed they can,鈥 Lubitz said. 鈥淚n this case, I think the echidna must have just felt a bit funny in its throat.鈥

What do tiger sharks eat?

Tiger sharks are one of the most fierce species in its genus, measure about 15 feet long and .

The apex predators are known for their dark, vertical stripes, considered dangerous to people and have been implicated in attacks on humans over the years.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for 91影视. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

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