SULLIVAN’S ISLAND — Bank teller Steve Colman was out for an early morning jog on the beach Wednesday when he saw something unusual.
“It wasn’t moving,” he said. “I thought it was a sand sculpture.”
Instead, it was a dead 5-foot-long shark.
The shark may have been trapped in a gully that runs a long way down the beach, said Fire and Rescue Chief Anthony Stith.
Colman took photos of the shark that showed it resting on the beach side of the gully near Station 18. He too wondered if the shark became trapped. He found it about 6:15 a.m., some three hours before low tide.
Stith said the shark appeared to be a blacktip.
The town brought a backhoe to the beach, dug a hole and buried the shark, he said.
When he first found the shark, Colman texted the news to a friend, who called police. The state Department of Natural Resources also was contacted.
“DNR said they weren’t interested in it,” Stith said.
The wildlife agency said it was OK to go ahead and bury the shark, said Town Administrator Andy Benke.
Colman said the shark appeared pretty fresh, and it didn’t smell. He wanted to take a picture of the teeth, but he couldn’t get the mouth open.
Stith said he didn’t see wounds on the shark, which he said might have been tossed from a boat.
The average adult size of a blacktip is 5 feet long, although blacktips up to 8 feet have been reported. Blacktips are found in warm, coastal waters around the world. They frequent bays, estuaries, coral reefs and the shallow waters off beaches and river mouths, according to nationalgeographic.com.
The sharks are caught with many types of fishing gear, including hook and line, gill net and trawl. They are frequently hooked by recreational anglers fishing from the beach, said the Florida Museum of Natural History.