GULFPORT – Over 150 frozen sharks have surfaced on beaches across the gulf coast region due to the impact of Winter Storm Leon on Tuesday according to wildlife officials.
The largest area of concentration appears to be around Gulfport, Mississippi, which has seen at least 67 of the frozen animals. Wildlife officials say that the sharks, who migrate to this area during the winter, were caught off guard by the most severe winter storm in several decades.
“Like many of us, I suspect the sharks did not believe that the area would actually receive any winter weather,” Mississippi Department of Wildlife spokesperson Matt Shepherd tells us. “It is like a Shark-slushy out there. The animals all appear to be alive, so please do not approach any frozen sharks. They will probably thaw later in the week and swim back out into the gulf.”
The number of frozen sharks are expected to increase as the temperatures drop across the region. Officials hope poor driving conditions will reduce the number of onlookers who might otherwise approach the sharks.
“Sharks are remarkably adaptable, they have entered a hibernation like state while frozen,” Shepherd tells us. “They can come out of this state and will become incredibly irritated and possibly violent due to the extreme cold surrounding their body. We have already seen one fatality from an individual trying to take a selfie with a frozen shark. We hope to recover his head later this week.”
The winter storm is expected to clear out of the area tomorrow and area schools hope to reopen sometime in April.