Saturday, 13 February 2010

One Shark the Sun can't shame...

The Sun newpaper, yes that international bastion of coherent, believable and upstanding journalism (cough cough) is usually the first paper to print the same old picture of a great white shark with its gaping teeth poking out at the reader every time there is a shark incident, however mild, pretty much anywhere in the world.
If there is a basking shark seen off of Cornwall, they print it, if there is an unfortunate surfer or kiteboarder bitten anywhere on the planet, the sun prints the picture. They would probably loosely connect the picture to a young boy stubbing his toe whilst paddling in a scottish brook; such is the Sun newspaper's childish and unrepentant fascination with great whites and the jaws mentality.

So, the guys at the paper (or are they young boys with runny noses flicking elastic bands at each other?) were probably really dissapointed when a shark 'attack' at Mona Vale beach off the coast of Sydney this week proved not to be by a Great White, but a docile Wobbegong instead.

Wobbegongs are of the order Orectolobiformes or Carpet Sharks. They lie well camouflaged on the seabed, sometimes in very shallow water and catch prey when it swims close to them. They are an ambush predator, usually hunting by night.
It is likely that surfer Paul Welsh stepped on the wobbegong as he and his ten year old son prepared to surf in the area. The guilty species was identified by a tooth that was removed from the surfers leg in hospital.

It is not the first time the sun newspaper has been unable to print their favourite great white photo. A wobbegong attacked a different water user back in 2007. Backpacker Scott Wright received wounds requiring 40 stitches whilst swimming at Bondi beach.

Wobbegongs can grow up to 3 metres in length. Sun reporters have been rumoured to reach a mental age of 12, but only on rare occasions.
image: "oh no..we can't print it...??"

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