I haven't seen this strange thing in our yard for a couple of years. But today there were several. They are about 6 inches tall, bright orange and the tips look like they have been dipped in chocolate syrup. For some reason they attract large flies. These things crop up overnight and by afternoon they totally disappear. I think they must be some sort of alien creature. Weird and scary to have in your yard. Click on the picture to get a good view.
Give up? I just searched to find the answer. Great website-www.mushroomexpert.com. These things are stinkhorn mushrooms, also known as mutinous caninus. I don't think I would eat one or even touch one, but the mushroom guy says they are not dangerous. The brown chocolate tip is actually a slime that carries the mushroom's spores. It gives off a four odor that attracts flies. The flies slurp up the slime, ingesting the spores and also get the spores on their feet. They carry them off to other locations and that's how the fungus reproduces. Fascinating, isn't it?