A half-eaten baby dolphin washed up onto a North Wildwood beach in New Jersey over the weekend, frightening beachgoers ahead of the twin shark attacks in North Carolina.
On Saturday, Karissa Kerns of Philadelphia walked her son over to a fisherman who appeared to be reeling in a sea turtle, but the 44-year-old woman quickly realized the dolphin was no sea turtle.
"The lifeguard flipped it over and you could see a shark had grabbed it and chomped right out of it . . . You could see the teeth marks and everything. Its spine was completely severed,” she said, according to NBC Philadelphia
Kerns removed her 4-year old from the scene and said, “I ran back to get my phone and when we got up to the shoreline I saw it,” PressofAtlanticCity.com reported.
Although the carcass frightened her son, Kerns said the incident will not keep her away from the beach.
“I've been going to this beach for a lot of years, never seen anything like this. I, in no way, am trying to scare people from the beach. It's beautiful and I will be back there very soon, in the same spot, in the water. I will, however be very aware and probably will keep my son very close,” she said, according to PressofAtlanticCity.com.
Robert Schoelkopf, director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, claims that the event is not so unusual. Last week, for example, the Center reported a similar incident with a dead large-fin whale.
“I don’t think anything’s different other than the fact someone snapped a picture and put it on Facebook, and that’s why it went viral,” he said.
Often when half-eaten sea critters wash ashore, Schoelkpof’s marine center performs necropsies to determine what creature made a meal of the washed-up animal. But in this case lifeguards disposed of the carcass.
“One girl grabbed it and she carried it where the trashcans are near a sand dune,” said Kerns.
The North Wildwood Beach Patrol said the dolphin was eaten by “something big.” Schoelkopf told NBC that the culprit was most likely a sand tiger shark. He also suspects that the dolphin was already dead when another creature took a bite out of it.
“Dead floating animals are very likely to have shark bites. Live healthy animals usually stay well away from sharks," he told NBC. “That’s what sharks do, they clean the ocean up. We’d have a lot more dead critters washing up on the beach if it weren’t for sharks."
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