Wales: Dog turned orange after rubbing against ‘whale vomit’

The mystery object washed up on Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, in Wales (Picture: Ian Carmichael)

A mystery object found on a beach has turned a dog ‘bright orange’ and there are questions over its origin.

Ian Carmichael was walking his pet on Boxing Day when he discovered it on Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, and then came across another similar piece on the same Welsh beach on New Year’s Eve.

People think it could be solidified palm oil or potentially valuable ambergris, or ‘floating gold’ – a rare lump of vomit produced in the intestines of a sperm whale, which is used as a raw ingredient in expensive perfumes.

Mr Carmichael tweeted: ‘No idea what this is washed up on Porth-y-Post beach this morning.. but the dog ran straight to it and rubbed herself on it leaving her bright orange! Dog walkers beware!’

It prompted replies on Twitter from people including Phil Taylor, who wrote: ‘Bath your dog and contact the vet as its palm oil and very toxic to dogs.’

Michelle dw i said: ‘We’ve gone and picked loads of this up of Porth-y-Post and think it’s palm oil. Too much of it scattered about to be ambergris but we will test it. Currently in the blue bin.’

And Fiona Owen agreed: ‘Palm oil, yes. Your dog mustn’t lick it or eat it! Very dangerous to dogs!’

Mr Carmichael reported the debris to Holyhead Coastguard and it was almost all gone the following day before washing back up on New Year’s Eve.

Frankie Hobro, director of Anglesey Sea Zoo, told the Daily Post it was palm oil.

She said: ‘This is a palm oil berg and it is common for large numbers of them to be washed up on beaches in the same area at the same time as they are produced by a ship washing out its ballast tank.

‘The resulting oil bergs get carried off to shore and wash up on beaches, so large numbers of these could appear anywhere along the North Wales coast over the next week or so.

‘Due to their high bacterial loading and smell, dogs find them extremely interesting and are immediately attracted to them, which is what happened to the dog owner who posted this photograph.’

Palm oil has been blamed for the death of birds such as gannets and while not hazardous, it is contaminated with fuel waste, diesel oil and other toxic products, so harbours germs and diseases through the bacteria which grow on it.

Ms Hobro urged dog walkers to look out for them as any contact can be extremely hazardous and cause sickness, diarrhoea, dehydration and, in extreme cases, pancreatitis and blockages in the gut.

If people come across palm oil, Ms Hobro warned they should wash it off using normal soap or shower gel and then wash their clothes thoroughly.

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