Shark Found in Tennessee River

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. — According to multiple reports, wildlife officials in Northern Alabama responded to a call this week of a 3-foot shark in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. 

Upon arrival at the scene, officials told Huntsville’s WHNT that they did indeed find what appears to be a spiny dogfish (mudshark) on the banks near Talucah Landing—a popular recreational swimming location between Wheeler Lake and Lake Guntersville.

And though some species of shark have been known to frequent freshwater, officials say this particular fish find is likely the result of a prank.

WHNT reports that Thom Demas, Curator of Fishes at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, notes that spiny dogfish have never been recorded in freshwater.

However, this would not be the first time that an unusual, saltwater-dwelling species has been found in the southeast. In March of 2010, several sharks and octopuses were found in Watts Bar Lake, just up the Tennessee River from Chattanooga. And in 2007, a manatee was found swimming in the Mississippi River near downtown Memphis.

Bull sharks have been known to swim as far north on the Mississippi, of which the Tennessee is a tributary, as Illinois.