Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shark alert! 100,000 sharks filmed swimming off Florida coast

Article first published as Shark Alert:100,000 Sharks Filmed Swimming off Florida Coast on Technorati.



An estimate of 100,000 sharks invaded the inshore waters off the East Coast of Florida, according to reports by WPTV.com and the UK Daily Mail.

Steve Irwin, a helicopter pilot with Island Marine Services, was flying 300 feet up and about 100 yards off the beach Sunday when he saw the incredible sight below. Tens of thousands of sharks spread out over a 20-mile span of water. He took out his iPhone 4 and started filming near Palm Beach. That's what you see in the video, though from so far up they actually look more like tens of thousands of tadpoles.

According to WPTV, a year ago a shark attacked and killed a man who was kiteboarding off Stuart Beach, so these swimming creatures probably aren't tadpoles.

Actually, they are believed to be spinner sharks between 3-7 feet, and they were most likely swimming parallel to the beaches between Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter Island in search of baitfish and warmer water, according to the Daily Mail. Their name comes from the spinning leaps they make as part of their feeding strategy. 

"It was a truly amazing sight," Irwin told the Daily Mail. "I've been a fisherman for 20 years and I also kayak out there and it's common to see them twist and turn and shoot through the air.

"They're prevalent at this time of year, but what amazed me was the sheer numbers of them. There were tens of thousands of them -- I'd say maybe 100,000. I kept on flying for about 20 miles and they just kept on coming.

"It's common to see large predatory sharks come in and feed on schools of baitfish [but] the odd thing was, I didn't see any baitfish at all!"

WikiPedia says that spinner sharks are not usually dangerous to humans but may become belligerent when excited by food -- whether human or baitfish, we assume. Definitely not worth trying to find out, however.

Thanks to UnderwaterTimes.com for the tip!

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A Great White Shark you definitely don't want to encounter
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