Fishermen in Indonesia were left shocked to find a rare baby albino shark that only had one eye, reports The Mirror.
The horrifying creature was found inside an adult shark that had been caught in their nets and later died. The fisherman had been out to sea off the coast of Maluku province in Indonesia on Oct. 10, according to Yahoo News Australia.
The fishermen had sliced open the adult shark’s stomach to remove the gut when they were startled to find the slippery, one-eyed monster inside.
The baby shark’s single eye was in the middle of its head while the rest of the shark, including its fins, had already been formed.
A fisherman named Andy told media the small white cyclops was not alone inside the larger shark’s gut. “We found three babies inside its stomach, but one of them looked strange with only one eye. Its color was strange too, like milk,” he said.
The baby shark was already dead when the fishermen discovered it, but they still reported it to a local marine wildlife office and then turned over the strange fishy corpse.
Cyclopia is a birth defect that causes an embryo to form only one eye instead of two. The baby shark also appears to have had albinism, which forces an embryo to produce low amounts of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin, hair, and eye color in many animals.
Although extremely rare, this is not the first time a one-eyed shark had been discovered by fishermen. In 2011, a US fisherman pulled in a shark with a similar deformity off the coast of Mexico.
Enrique Lucero Leon hauled in an adult female dusky shark and discovered a female albino cyclops shark inside along with nine fully-developed siblings. Scientists says such sharks usually do not survive long outside the womb due to their freakish deformities.
Earlier this month, a fisherman off the coast of the UK reeled in a rare, three-foot-long albino tope shark, according to The Mirror.
That ghostly swimmer was discovered near the Isle of Wight by a 50-year-old shop keeper named Jason Gillespie. It was one of the first-ever albino sharks discovered in the waters around the UK. He brought the pale creature onto his boat to snap a few photos before releasing it back to the water, according to Leicestershire Live.
Speaking to local media, Gillespie said: “I think generally if they lose their color they struggle to survive because they don’t have the same camouflage and they can’t hunt as effectively and they get picked up by predators.”
Both cyclopia and albanism occur across the animal kingdom. In humans, cyclopia occurs in about one per every 100,000 births but the babies usually do not survive long outside the womb. The condition usually occurs alongs several other defects incompatible with sustaining life.
In 2017 a cyclops goat was born and made headlines, surviving for several days after birth, reports Live Science. That goat had only one complete ear, lacked a true nose, eyelids and eyelashes, and had jaws unusually small and was missing teeth, causing the tongue to stick out on one side.