A lucky woman found a huge lump believed to be expensive whale vomit washed up near her beach house.
Siriporn Niamrin was walking along the beach after a rainstorm when she noticed the strange mass in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Thailand on February 23.
She walked up closer to the substance to have a look and found it had a fishy smell.
Thinking that it could be something she could sell, the 49-year-old dragged it back to her house which was around 500 metres away from the beach.
The oval-shaped lump weighed 7kg and was about 12 inches wide and 24 inches long.
Based on previous sale prices, the weight would give the vomit – also known as ambergris – an estimated value of around £186,500.
Siriporn said: “If I really have the genuine ambergris, I can help my community once I find a buyer for it.
“I feel lucky to have found such a large piece. I hope it will bring me money.
“I’m keeping it safe in my house and I have asked the local council to visit to check it.”
The woman asked her neighbours for help identifying the object and was shocked when some of them told her that it could be the rare substance.
To further check whether the lump was actually ambergris, they held a naked flame to some of its parts which caused it to melt.
It then hardened again after it cooled down.
The waxy lump also had a fishy smell – another indication, according to neighbours, that Siriporn had found a genuine piece of ambergris.
She is now waiting for experts to visit her house to confirm that the lump is ambergris, which has been valued for its use in perfumes for years.
Ambergris is produced by sperm whales when bile ducts in the gastrointestinal tract make secretions to ease the passage of large or sharp objects.
The whale them vomits the mucilage which solidifies and floats on the surface of the ocean.