Southbound lanes of I-65 shut down in Morgan County because of damaged bridge

Shark found in Tennessee River near Talucah Landing

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

EDITORS's NOTE: This story is from June 2015 -- we see it's gaining new traction in June 2016 -- we just want to make sure you see the original publish date. 

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)-- Summer vacation is in full swing in the Tennessee Valley and many families are cooling off in the Tennessee River. You'll see plenty of fish, maybe a few snakes-- but a shark?

It happened to one family at Talucah Landing near Valhermoso Springs Tuesday.

"[Tuesday] we had a call that came to our district office-- we were kind of a little skeptical at first," said Wildlife Conservation Officer Jay Lowery.

As soon as Lowery got out to investigate what had washed ashore at Talucah Landing, he realized what was in front of him. "Sure enough there is a three-foot shark," he said.

Thom Demas, Curator of Fishes at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, says the creature looked a little like a spiny dogfish shark.

It was clear right away that this little guy didn't end up in the Tennessee River on its own.

"We noticed on one of the gill slits where it had been bleeding," said Lowery. This and other injuries lead officials to believe someone either captured or killed the shark while on vacation somewhere and brought it back "to mess with the neighborhood."

Demas noted, "the spiny dogfish isn't recorded to have ever been found in freshwater."

The only shark in our area to have ever been seen in freshwater is the  bull shark, and "there's no way anybody could confuse this little guy we saw the pictures of with a bull shark," said Demas.

Lowery was candid about what he thought had happened. "This is a prank; [this is] someone's maybe not-so-elaborate hoax that they're working on."

Both Lowery and Demas emphasized there is absolutely no reason to be worried about getting in the water.

"It's just something to talk about," Lowery remarked.