Mystery Looms as Rare Crocodile Shark Spotted in UK for the First Time
Experts were left completely shocked and baffled after a crocodile shark (Pseudocarcharias kamoharai), usually found in deep tropical waters, was discovered in the U.K. coast for the first time.
The shark was already dead when it was found by a family on a beach at Hope Cove near Plymouth.
Realizing that it is not something that they regularly see on the beach of U.K., the family immediately contacted the local aquarium and sent photos of the carcass.
James Wright, curator at the National Marine Aquarium, said as quoted by The Guardian, "On first inspection of the photos we thought the animal could be a juvenile porbeagle shark, which is found in UK waters. However, we identified numerous traits that suggested it was not any shark usually recorded in UK waters."
The curator added that there are several theories surrounding the unusual sighting. But the most possible one is that the shark might have reached the U.K. coast after following a warm, deep water current.
He explained that the crocodile shark species is normally found in tropical climates such as Brazil and Australia but not in the U.K. They are prevalent in deep waters during the day, then comes shallower at night to find food. Wright said that the crocodile shark could have died from traveling and shock to cold waters, which is different from what it's used to.
Paul Cox, Managing Director of The Shark Trust told The Independent that the crocodile shark which is known for its spiky teeth is near-threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Although they are not really hunted, they are often caught in fish nets. Because they are small and are of no value to fishermen, they are often discarded on shores if they are accidentally caught.
Meanwhile, the experts are urging the public to report similar cases so they can identify whether the case of the crocodile shark is just an isolated case or is a trend to be worried about.