The Idaho Department of Fish and Game suspects someone left the creature by the Salmon River as a prank
Officials suspect something fishy happened along the Salmon River in Idaho.
According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), a strange creature that turned out to be a shark was recently spotted on the banks of the Salmon River, which runs through the landlocked state.
“Calls and e-mail came pouring in yesterday claiming they found a shark washed up on the shores of the Salmon River near Riggins.” the department shared in an Aug. 16 news release. The numerous calls prompted the agency to investigate.
IDFG officials found an odd dead creature at the sight referenced in the calls and later determined the animal was a salmon shark, per the Idaho Statesman.
IDFG shared two photos of the find on the department’s Instagram.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, salmon sharks can grow over 10 feet long, but their average size is usually between 6.5 and 8 feet, and their maximum weight is more than 660 pounds. They are typically found in “coastal and oceanic environments of the subarctic and temperate North Pacific Ocean,” and their maximum age is 25 years. The salmon shark’s diet consists of salmon, squid, birds, and herring.
IDFG doesn’t believe this salmon shark came from the Salmon River and suspects the creature was placed on the riverbank as a joke. The department’s social media post assured Salmon River visitors that no sharks are swimming around in Idaho.
“Seeing no sharks have been observed swimming up our fish ladders lately, and the only known shark that can live in freshwater is the bull shark, we think it is safe to assume that somebody dropped this on the shore for a good laugh. Our Clearwater regional fisheries manager certainly had a good laugh about it. This would have been a great April Fool’s joke,” IDFG wrote.
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While sharks in Idaho are almost unheard of, they are common in other parts of the country and have been responsible for attacks on humans. According to the Tracking Sharks website, there have been 31 shark bite attacks in the U.S. so far this year.
To avoid a shark attack, experts recommend that beachgoers swim in front of lifeguards, do not swim during dawn and dusk, avoid swimming shortly after stormy conditions, don’t swim in the ocean alone, and stay calm if you spot a shark in the ocean.
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