A wildlife warden in England was astonished to observe a school of around 50 sharks earlier this week, circling just a few yards off the West Sussex coastline.
RSPB warden Peter Hughes managed to film the massive gathering of sharks, documenting the unusual sight of nearly 50 fins breaking the surface, according to the Daily Mail. The sharks were spotted off the coast of the Medmerry nature reserve, located near Chichester, and were likely drawn so close to shore in order to feed. Identified as a species of smooth-hound shark, the animals can grow as large as five feet long and prey upon crabs and other invertebrates. Though they appear to be dangerous, the sharks are, in reality, a toothless species that has not been known to attack humans.
“It was astonishing — there were just these huge fish everywhere in knee-deep water,” Hughes recalled. “We knew in time that Medmerry was going to be a great place for wildlife, but I don’t think anyone expected this. We assume they were coming in to feed on the crabs and other marine life that have made their home at Medmerry.”
Hound sharks are a fairly common sight in the waters around England, and while they are known to travel in groups, to see such a large school remains unusual, as the Telegraph reports. Two of the sharks were spotted in the same region last month, while a larger group of six were sighted in RSPB Pagham Harbour recently.
— Environment AgencySE (@EnvAgencySE) July 17, 2015
Earlier this year, large schools of sharks were spotted just a few hundred yards from the East Coast of the United States, as the animals migrated northward. A yearly occurrence, the sharks’ movement nevertheless results in an astonishing series of visuals as thousands of the predators swim in unison toward warming waters. A worker at an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana was able to capture footage of one such migration, as the Inquisitr previously reported, revealing hundreds of sharks as they made their way out of the Gulf of Mexico.
— Alastair Driver (@AliDriverEA) July 14, 2015
The Medmerry reserve is considered the largest open-coast managed realignment scheme ever constructed in the UK. It was established by the Environment Agency between 2011 and 2013, and it is thought that the group of sharks filmed there may have taken up residence in the area.
[Image: RSPB via the Daily Mail]