Bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose dolphinReuters

A lethal attack claimed the life of a young pilot whale, who was found stranded on a beach in Skye, Scotland this Tuesday - but experts have a lead as to who was behind the dastardly deed.

Vets were forced to put down the three-year-old female whale calf, who was discovered at Dunvegan, reports BBC Friday.

An investigation by the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme and Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has turned up suspected culprits, however - bottlenose dolphins.

The crafty maritime mammals were suspected given evidence at the scene, where teeth marks were found on the whale's body, flippers and dorsal fin. 

According to Charlie Phillips, a Whale and Dolphin Conservation field officer, the dolphins may have wounded the whale by accident while at play - or else it may have been an open assault.

"Dolphins and whales do interact in the marine environment and this is part and parcel of their natural behavior. Dolphins are wonderful creatures but people should remember that they are not these fluffy cartoon characters, they have a dark side too," he revealed.