A brutal attack that left a puppy decapitated could be the work of the mythological Australian beast known as the Yowie, a researcher says.
The seven-month-old puppy's head was ripped off in the attack, which occurred recently in a rural area south of Darwin.
Although the dog's owners believed dingoes were behind the attack, Top End Yowie investigator Andrew McGinn told the Northern Territory News a Yowie could be the culprit.
"The way the guy's dog was killed was typical of a Yowie," Mr McGinn was quoted as saying.
"I know it sounds fanciful but over the past 100 years, dogs get killed or decapitated and people report feeling watched, having goats stolen or seeing some tall hairy thing in the days beforehand."
The Yowie is purported to be a hair-covered beast, similar to the legendary Bigfoot of the Himalayas.
The Northern Territory News said there had been several other sightings of Yowies in the area around Acacia Hills, south of Darwin, in the past decade.
In one instance, a mango farmer named Katrina Tucker claimed she had been metres away from a hairy, human-shaped creature.
She took photos of the creature's footprints to the Northern Territory Museum, which decided she had been hoaxed.
But Mr McGinn told the Northern Territory News he had no doubt Ms Tucker's story was true.