Flooding in 1996 carried six juvenile bull sharks into a golf course lake, where they survived for 17 years.
A new study uses this case to argue that bull sharks can survive extended periods of time in low salinity waters. Indeed, during their time in the Carbrook Golf Club’s lake they became the unofficial mascots of the club.
While stranded in the lake, the sharks ate fish and were occasionally fed by employees.
Despite the fact that bull sharks are considered a dangerous shark species (due to their aggressive nature and penchant for living near high population areas), club members were delighted by the fearsome species presence according to the club’s general manager.
Over time, the sharks have disappeared. The last reported sighting of one of the Carbrook bull sharks was eight years ago.
One of the sharks was illegally fished, and it is believed that the others were carried into other bodies of water by flooding.
The Carbrook sharks are scientifically interesting because they are the longest recorded instance of bull sharks surviving in low salinity waters.
A study published by Peter Gaussman in Marine and Fishery Science claims that the sharks could have lived up to 24 years in the lake.
Despite being the longest instance, this is not the first time that bull sharks have survived for an extended amount of time in landlocked bodies of water.
Due to this, Gaussman recommends that people avoid swimming in bodies of water that have been connected to the sea by flooding.
Realizing the fears of many, there may actually be sharks there.
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This article by Willow Lynn was first published by One Green Planet on 19 September 2023. Image Credit: Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.