Experts believe the animal's head had been sawn off
A dog walker has described his shock at finding the severed head of an alligator on scrubland in Huddersfield.
Peter Lumb, 59, found the skull and a section of the reptile's jaw while he was walking his two border collies on a hillside in the Crosland Moor area.
The bones were checked out by experts at Manchester Museum and found to be that of an American alligator.
Mr Lumb said: "I was a bit shocked to find them... I was thinking 'what the hell are they doing there'. "
According to experts, marks at the back of the skull suggest the animal's head had been sawn off the rest of the body, probably after it died.
Fragments of skin found with the bones indicated they had not been there long before the discovery.
Mr Lumb, who made the discovery on 3 November, said he took the jawbone home for his wife Linda to have a look at and later went back to retrieve the skull.
They then passed on the remains to Manchester Museum, where the couple's daughter works.
Experts confirmed the remains belonged to an alligator, which is usually found in the south-eastern United States, and could have been 6ft long without its tail.
Rebecca Machin, curatorial assistant of natural environment at Manchester Museum, who examined the bones, said: "What's odd about it is the back of the head is sawn off, and it looks like someone sawed it off after it died.
"It looks like it's been butchered really."
She said that without forensic tests she could not know how the animal had died.
"I imagine it was kept by someone rather than living in the wild.
"Someone must know something about it. I can't imagine anyone has stumbled across an alligator before."
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: "Kirklees currently has no dangerous animals registered and we can only assume that somebody has been keeping the alligator which grew too big to be looked after safely."