Shark Beachings Baffle Experts
September 4, 2007 (WPVI) -- There was quite a commotion on the beach in Atlantic City when that 8-foot thresher shark was pulled out of the water by lifeguards.
For many, it was the first time they had seen or heard of a thresher, so named for its long tail used to stun and scoop in its prey.
Experts at Adventure Aquarium in Camden, where sharks swim just inches away on the other side of the glass, said although thresher sharks are usually found in deep ocean water, their presence here is no surprise.
"They're in our waters pretty much for the entire summer season, they do come in and pup in our back bay areas," said biologist Ashley Hartness.
The shark was first spotted early Monday afternoon just off the shoreline. Beach patrol followed the shark north as it headed to Atlantic City. The shark beached itself and died shortly afterwards.
But why would this shark have come so close to shore? It was found in knee-deep water. And it's the second thresher found in the last week. Another one washed up on New York beach this past Saturday.
We asked Stan Waterman, the president of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton and an award-winning filmmaker who's photographed sharks for decades.
"I can only guess that they must have had some malaise, wounded in some way, maybe sickened," said Waterman.
There was concern, of course, about seeing the sharks where people were swimming, but both experts minimize the actual danger.
"They are no danger to human beings, to swimmers, not even swimmers out in the open ocean," said Waterman.
"Everybody thinks shark attack, Jaws, they're gonna come and get you. Sharks are by nature very lazy and do as little effort as possible to get food. These sharks are not designed to even attack large prey," said Hartness.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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