Ten Weird Things Found Inside Sharks
August 13, 2012 | Lists
Greek historian Herodotus wrote of “monsters” that plagued Mediterranean shorelines that had “seized and devoured” many a Persian seafarer and there are many fisherman accounts of shark encounters, like this one from 1595:
“This fish doth great mischiefe and devoureth many men…As our ship lay in the River of Cochin, a Sayler being made fast with a corde to the ship, hung down with half his body in the water…and there came one of those Hayens and bit one of his legs to the middle of his thigh, clean off…” (Sharks, by Lee Server)
While there are nearly 400 species of shark, few of them are known to feast on humans but one species in particular, the tiger shark, is the kind of indiscriminate eater that would shame the most crass return visitor to a buffet – and will eat pretty much anything in its path.
In Jaws, Oceanographer Matt Hooper (“this is not a boat accident! And it wasn’t any propeller; and it wasn’t any coral reef; and it wasn’t Jack the Ripper! It was a shark!”) and local cop Martin Brody pull a Louisiana state license plate out of one of the beasts and think their problem’s solved but that was small taste of what was to come, both in the movie and in real life as well.
Here are Ten Weird Things Found Inside a Shark:
1. 16th Century Portuguese Medallion
And this was just a baby shark. A Malaysian woman was filleting one and came across a medallion believed to be worn by Portuguese soldiers for divine protection during their conquest of the New World.
2. Polar Bear
Luckily, at least for the purposes of being able to sleep at night, according to a Greenland shark education centre expert, “There’s no possibility a Greenland shark could predate a live adult white bear unless it was injured or seriously ill.”
This was downstream of an abattoir as herds of cattle tend not to venture out onto the world’s beaches. It’s a good thing, as sharks will occasionally go after a live horse as well, as witnessed in this Brisbane river attack by a bull shark on a gelding.
4. Copper wire; bundles of cotton
5. An unopened can of salmon inside a tiger shark
(source: The Natural History of Sharks by TH Leneaweaver and RH Backus)
6. Head and forelegs of a bulldog with a rope tied around its neck; a full grown spaniel
7. A bottle of Madeira wine
This was apparently found inside a blue shark by a French fishing trawler in 1942. Apparently, the vintage tasted great. Lab tests reveal that sea wine such as those found in shipwrecks, undergoes a different process of osmosis, giving it a mellower taste than that of a traditionally aged barrel. No word re: a shark’s formidable stomach acid though.
8. Three overcoats and a nylon raincoat
(source: Shark!: Killer Tales from the Dangerous Depths by Robert Reid)
(source: The Jaws of Death: Sharks as Predator, Man as Prey by Xavier Maniguet and Aquatic Community)
10. White rain boot and a sheet of cardboard
(source: Great White Sharks: The Biology of Carcharodon Carcharias edited by A. Peter Klimley, David G. Ainley)