Australian beachgoers were shocked to see a shark make its way into the shallows of Collaroy’s Fisherman’s Beach, and watched as the predator thrashed about, right on the edge of the surf.
Michael Dingwall, from Wheeler Heights, was able to film the shark as it approached the beach, according to The Daily Telegraph. Dingwall was unsure how long the shark had been lurking in the ankle deep waters, and was astonished to see it so close to shore.
“I wasn’t going to get too close,” he noted, adding, “When it came up the beach everyone took a step back… I’ve been walking up and down the northern beaches for the past 30 years and I’ve never seen a shark come that close to shore.”
Rob Townsend, life sciences manager at the Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, suggested that the five-foot-long shark may have become disoriented while chasing fish. After viewing the footage, he noted that it wasn’t clear enough to determine the exact species of shark involved. Townsend did point out that he believed the animal to be either a blue or mako shark.
RT @michaelodonova7: Blue Shark Pup, Harbour View, Killbritain, swimming in shallow water and less than 1m in lenght. pic.twitter.com/JgAjMPQFT7
— Wildlife Sightings (@wildlife_uk) September 13, 2014
As AOL Travel points out, blue sharks are a species of requiem shark that prefer cooler waters and migrate long distances. Noted for having large litters of pups, blue sharks can also move very quickly when attacking prey, which primarily consists of small fish and squid. Blue sharks are rarely dangerous to humans, with only 13 attacks occurring between 1580 and 2013, four of which proved fatal.
Mako sharks, on the other hand, are a far more dangerous species that prowl Australian waters. Growing to nearly 10 feet in length, mako sharks are also the fastest species of shark, reaching speeds of 46 mph in bursts. The International Shark Attack File lists 42 attacks on humans between 1980 and 2013, three of which were fatal. Although mako sharks are regularly blamed for human attacks, the majority of incidents are considered to be provoked through fishing or harassment. Mako sharks do not generally treat humans as prey.
— PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE (@Protect_Wldlife) October 7, 2014
Australia has recently been embroiled in a debate over shark attacks, and a proposed cull to stop the predators from approaching public beaches. In early September, a surfer was killed in Byron Bay by a great white shark, while more recently, a surfer lost parts of both arms to a white shark attack off Esperance. Although Western Australia instituted a trial cull that used baited drumlines to catch sharks, a planned three-year expansion was cancelled by the EPA, citing an uncertain impact on Australia’s shark population.
[Image: Michael Dingwall via The Daily Telegraph]