Octopus are crawling out of the sea and walking up a Welsh beach.
Brett Stones, a town councillor who runs dolphin tours in Cardigan Bay, saw as many as 25 curled octopuses on Harbour Beach as he returned from a day at sea.
He said: “They were coming out of the water and crawling up the beach. We don’t quite know what’s causing it.
“They looked pretty vulnerable so I experienced an overwhelming urge to protect them by returning them to the sea.”
Marine experts say that the numbers of curled octopuses, which measure about 20in (0.5m) in length, have increased off the Welsh coast due to the decline in cod populations.
They are also preyed upon by dolphins and there is speculation that a herd of dolphins out in the bay led the octopuses to seek refuge dry land.
Mr Stones, 39, who runs tours for SeaMôr dolphin watching, said: “Maybe they are getting confused by the bright lights in New Quay harbour and maybe they are dying off after summer or getting knackered after the recent storms.
“Whenever I see and octopus in shallow water it’s at this time of year. Because they’re nocturnal they may be coming ashore more often than we think because there aren’t as many beach walkers around at this time of year.”