The mystery of a porpoise found dumped in a village alleyway a mile from the sea has been solved after experts revealed it probably died as a result of too much sex.
The 4ft mammal was found in a housing estate alleyway in Tarring, West Sussex. Its body was still warm and it was lying in a pool of its own blood.
Experts say the elderly male porpoise is likely to have died from starvation and hypothermia as a result of burning too much energy mating.
The creature is thought to have washed up on a beach from where it was carried by revellers a mile inland and left in the alleyway in a yellow bag.
Stunned locals rang the RSPCA who contacted the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) team.
Rob Deaville, from CSIP, carried out an examination of the porpoise corpse on after it was discovered on Saturday night.
He said: "The male porpoise was in a pretty poor way. Its body was fairly fresh, which would indicate it had died up to a couple of days before it was found.
"The cause of death seems to be starvation and hypothermia.
"This appears to be an elderly porpoise, who would have had to expend most of his energy reserves to mate - leaving him deathly hungry and cold.
"Harbour porpoises live on a knife edge, and if they don't get enough food, their fat reserves deplete, meaning they don't have enough energy to catch food.
"Their health spirals downward, and they die as a result of both starvation and hypothermia."
Rob added: "It is impossible to tell where it washed up on the beach, because it was moved.
"I strongly suspect it alcohol was involved with whoever decided to carry it from the beach and take it a mile inland to the alley.
"Sadly, it's not the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last.
"We got a call once about a dolphin that was stuffed inside a phone box in Kent."
Defra-funded CSIP monitor as many of the 600 marine mammal strandings that happen on British shores annually, about half of which are porpoises.
The male porpoise is believed to have been nearing the end of its natural, 20-year lifespan, but finding a definitive age can only be carried out by cutting through a tooth and counting the rings like on trees.
In 2009, another porpoise was found covered in bin bags in the middle of a forest in Goring-By-Sea, West Sussex.
Porpoises live around 20 years in English waters, and up to the age of about 25 in less-polluted Scottish waters.