In Australia, Sharks Can Walk

No Australian is safe.
In Australia, Sharks Can Walk

Last week, you might have seen a viral clip being passed around, showing a shark on some Papuan island walking on land. This was no weird anomaly or recent phenomenon. Some types of sharks regularly do walk on land, particularly on that terrifying land known as Australia.

They’re called epaulette sharks and include such species as Hemiscyllium ocellatum and Hemiscyllium halmahera. They don’t go walking into town and then go for a jog, but they do find themselves on coral after the tide goes out and then use their fins as legs to move somewhere they like better.

The most obviously weird part here is, holy walking shark, that’s a fish with legs. In a way, however, we’re all just fish with legs, aren’t we? So, the really impressive part is that this shark walks on land for such a long stretch of time without having previously evolved any method of breathing air. It got its last bit of oxygen from the ocean water before it went out, and it’s able to make that last a whole hour until it returns to the water. 

If you do find yourself stranded in Australia, coral isn’t the only unexpected place where you might find sharks. For example, sharks infest one golf course in a town south of Brisbane. 

It’s the Carbrook Golf Course in Loganholme, and it has a lagoon. Despite being quite close to the Logan River that flows to Moreton Bay five miles away, the lagoon is cut off from the ocean. The river too is generally safe from invading sharks, since sharks only occasionally travel against the flow of rivers to enter freshwater. In 1996, however, Brisbane flooded, and an unknown number of sharks found their way into the lagoon and never left.

Today, people estimate that 12 sharks lurk in the lagoon. No one knows the exact number for sure. Golfers just see the occasional fin peek out of the water and keep their distance. Sometimes, of course, errant golf balls land in the water. No enterprising youngsters dive into the lake and retrieve these balls ... or, at least we have no records of any doing so and then surviving to tell the tale. 

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For more animals doing what they shouldn’t, check out:

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Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see. 

Top image: Mrpbps/Wiki Commons

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