THERE’S a rustle in the grass. A brief flash of straw-coloured mane.

Then silence.

A gust of wind, and a faint cry from further ahead, at the edge of the cliffs.

“Baa! Baa! Baaaaaa!”

The beast slowly rises from its hiding place, then starts lightly trotting towards its unsuspecting prey. Focus your binoculars and you should be able to make out the distinctive pattern just below its rump, resembling the outline of a stag’s antlers.

The creature has adapted to its environment by covering its flesh in custom-printed 88% performance polyester, 12% spandex.

READ MORE: Fury over pictures of goat hunt on Scottish island

A predator quite like this one is rare in Scotland. While there are other species native to the UK that kill for sport rather than for food, this one can be easily distinguished from them by its black-rimmed eyes, small brain and inexplicably popular Instagram account.

The Larysa Switlyk (Latin name: troglodytes cowardice) selects its prey on the basis of beauty, because there’s no more beautiful animal than a dead one.

After each kill, it manipulates the corpse, or “trophy”, into a lifelike pose to take photographs before fleeing the scene. If it were a killer of humans, the tabloids would doubtless dub it something like the “Selfie Slaughterer” and the police would be obliged to warn the most beautiful members of the public to go into hiding.

Readers hoping to spot one of these animals in the wild may be out of luck – the only known living specimen is currently “disconnecting from this social media-driven world” due to “ignorant people out there sending me death threats”. The huntress has now become the hunted, apparently. And isn’t enjoying it very much.

Death threats are never acceptable, of course, so anyone who sent any to Switlyk should be strongly condemned. Not least for their lack of originality. Would death not come as sweet relief compared to living in constant fear that at any moment an angry Scot might appear, draped in a bed sheet topped with a sheep mask and bleating about its bereaved relatives on Islay?

Imagine the scenes this Wednesday if the local trick-or-treaters staged a mass ovine haunting on her doorstep. It’d be like The Purge meets the Shaun The Sheep Movie – and if that’s not enough to give you nightmares, what is?

Perhaps the new Beast of Bruichladdich is auditioning for the next series of Celebrity Hunted, which sees famous faces go on the run pursued by a crack team of police, spooks and star-struck members of the public. It would certainly boost the ratings if weapons were introduced – or at least discourage Kay Burley from “hiding out” in her own luxury holiday home.

There’s no law against shooting sheep or goats in the Scottish wilderness, whether for the purposes of population control or to brag on social media about how it took you a mere two days to put a bullet in a ram.

There’s also no law against dressing up as a clown and standing in the rain outside a primary school handing out paper boats to unsuspecting children, but I’m not planning to give that a go (If this happens, good luck proving it was me under the grease paint and curly wig– it’s just as likely to be you, misguidedly taking inspiration from me).

Sometimes your guiding principle shouldn’t be “is this legal?” but rather “will this make me seem like a psychopath, and is that a price worth paying it if means I might shift a few Hyprtech bamboo cap sleeve tunic tops at $59 apiece?”

Perhaps Switlyk has actually done us a favour. Up until now there hasn’t been a huge pushback against the hunting industry in Scotland, with the debate usually shut down by the assertion that it is worth £155 million a year to the economy. The Greens may be completely opposed to bloodsports but the SNP don’t share that view and the Scottish Government’s plans to toughen estate licensing laws appear to have stalled, despite widespread concern that birds of prey are being deliberately killed in order to protect prized grouse.

Powerful lobbyists are paid to protect the interest of the country’s richest landowners, and lawyers are quick to pounce on any allegations of wildlife crime.

But Nicola Sturgeon has added her voice to those condemning the “upsetting and offensive” images shared by Switlyk this week, and says her government will “review the current situation and consider whether changes to the law are required”.

There are many reasons why tourists flock to Scotland, from golf and Munro-bagging to visiting distilleries and the backdrops to films and TV shows.

For every visitor who is lured here by the chance to kill prey animals for a lark, how many more might be deterred by the idea of bullets flying in areas where they might otherwise wish to roam, or the prospect of bloody cadavers being paraded around by camouflage-clad cretins?

Look beyond the dead-eyed animals in Switlyk’s photographs (and their grotesque “trophies”) and you’ll spot some spectacular autumnal landscapes. Who wouldn’t want to get away from it all by exploring the island’s hills, rugged coasts and freshwater lochs? I certainly would. But I’m not sure I’d risk it wearing a fleece.