Octopuses have started emerging from the ocean and washing up on a beach in west Wales and no one is sure why.

More than 20 octopuses – alive and dead – have now been spotted on the New Quay beach in Ceredigion with the phenomenon leaving both local residents and businesses confused.

Brett Jones, owner of SeaMôr Dolphin Watching Boat Trips, was returning on one of the company boats after a sunset trip when he first spotted one of the creatures on dry land.

He told Wales Online: "They were coming out of the water and crawling up the beach. We don't quite know what's causing it.

"Perhaps it's because the sea has been quite rough recently, but I've never seen anything like it before. They were walking on the tips of their legs.

"A friend of mine said it happened the night before and there was about 20 last night."

The dolphin watching company has said they are still finding octopuses on the beach and are advising people to pick them up and return them to the sea if they find one.

In a Facebook post, they added: "We went down the beach yesterday [27 October] to watch the octopus that are coming ashore at night.

"We collected the ones that were totally out of the water, and plopped them back in at the end of the pier, hopefully saving them from getting stranded. If you're around over the next few evenings, get in touch and we'll let you know where to go."

A video of one of the octopuses been found on beach has been viewed tens of thousands of times since it was shared by the SeaMôr Dolphin Watching Boat Trips.

James Wright, curator at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, also suggested the recent unsettled weather could explain the octopuses behaviour.

He told the Telegraph: "As the areas where they are exhibiting this odd behaviour coincides with the two areas hit by the two recent low pressure depressions and associated storms of Ophelia and Brian, it could be supposed that these have affected them.

"It could simply be injuries sustained by the rough weather itself or there could be a sensitivity to a change in atmospheric pressure."