There are plenty of places you might expect to find a shark in the United States. Florida? Sure, they lead the country in encounters with sharks at 22 or so a year.
Cape Cod? Certainly. According to reports, researchers collected nearly 3,000 videos of shark sightings from 137 trips to Cape beaches.
IDAHO? No, definitely not. But that’s what the landlocked state’s Fish and Wildlife agency found on the side of the Salmon River.
According to the news release, Fish and Game was inundated Tuesday with calls and emails reporting the toothy creature near Riggins, writes The Idaho Statesman.
The agency identified the animal as a salmon shark, a compact species that can grow up to 10 feet long. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, salmon sharks can occasionally be caught off the Washington coast and are often mistaken for great white sharks. Their name is a reference to their diet, which includes salmon.
Idaho Fish and Game officials said the state’s struggling salmon are not at risk from sharks, though.
“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,” Clearwater Region fisheries manager Joe DuPont wrote in the news release. “I think it is safe to assume that somebody dropped this on the shore for a good laugh. I certainly have laughed about it.
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.
Salmon sharks typically inhabit the cold waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Named for their strong affinity for salmon, these sharks are apex predators that play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. With a streamlined body and a striking appearance, salmon sharks are known for their efficient and swift swimming capabilities, making them adept hunters.
Salmon sharks are notable for their migratory behavior, often covering extensive distances in search of prey. They primarily feed on a diet of various fish, including salmon, herring, and sardines, as well as squid. Their unique adaptations include a network of specialized blood vessels known as the rete mirabile, which helps maintain their body temperature higher than the surrounding water. This ability to regulate their temperature allows salmon sharks to thrive in cooler waters, and it contributes to their agility and predatory prowess. Despite being a lesser-known species compared to some other sharks, salmon sharks are a crucial part of the marine food chain and play an important role in the dynamics of the North Pacific ecosystem.