Shark attack in Minnesota? Who woulda thought? Fortunately, the victim was another shark, and that shark survived. But not before a tunnel full of aquarium visitors experienced a true, raw display of nature.
Jessie, the nine foot, 300 pound sand tiger shark is the biggest shark in the Underwater Adventures Aquarium at the Mall of America. On Friday, she chomped down on a four and a half foot, 50 pound white tip reef shark.
Workers used a pair of feeding tongs to grab the tail of the reef shark, pull and eventually free the little shark from Jessie's death-grip.
The little shark then swam to the other end of the tank where a couple more workers yanked her out just in time. Experts say a bleeding, flailing fish like the reef shark would not have lasted a minute in a tank full of other sharks.
"They key in on sick, weak and old animals and when there's one that's compromised, you never know what can happen," said Craig Atkins, the Animal Care Team Leader at Underwater Adventures.
He continued: "In the case here it was the smallest shark in the exhibit, this is what happened after several months of no problems, all of a sudden there's a problem."
Fortunately, the female reef shark will survive, albeit with scrapes and bite marks along her back. Her caregivers expect she'll need some time to recover. Meantime, they don't plan on returning her or the other white tipped reef sharks to the aquarium.
The aquarium opened back in 1996. The only other attack was in 2003. In that attack, Jessie again went after a smaller shark -- a black tipped reef shark. That shark did not survive, and in fact, Jessie swam with his tail in her mouth for a couple of days.
By the way, workers learned of Friday's attack when a little boy asked whether it was feeding day for the sharks. It wasn't supposed to be, they said.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)
(Copyright 2008 by KARE11. All Rights Reserved.)