Experts are puzzled how the shark, normally found near equator, could have reached UK
Thursday 2 March 2017 17.10 GMT Last modified on Thursday 2 March 2017 22.01 GMT
A crocodile shark, a marine creature normally found in deep tropical waters, has been discovered washed up on a beach in Devon.
A family found the shark at Hope Cove beach on the south coast and, thinking it was still alive, braved its sharp teeth to try to return it to the water before realising it was dead.
Experts are puzzled how a shark normally found in and around the equator could have reached the British coast. One theory is that it followed a warm, deep water current before reaching cold water in which it could not survive. Another possibility is that it was caught in fishing nets further south and discarded near the British shore.
Steven Greenfields said he was walking with his family at Hope Cove when he spotted the dead fish.
“We regularly visit this beach and have never seen anything like this before,” he said. “My whole family was stunned as the animal had really unusual features but was unmistakably a shark.
“I have experience with sharks whilst swimming and diving overseas, but, despite a fair amount of fishing and swimming in the UK all my life, have never seen any shark in UK waters other than dogfish.”
Photographs of the find were sent to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. The curator James Wright said: “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.