A YoVenice blogger on Saturday posted two photographs showing what he identified as a baby great white shark, which he helped rescue after the shark had stranded itself on the shore in Venice Beach, Calif.
However, shark expert Chris Lowe says the fearsome-looking junior predator, which sort of resembles a white shark, is a salmon shark.
Asked how he could tell the difference, Lowe replied via email: "Really dark back, sometimes splotchy. White above the pectoral fins (key ID characteristic). Short, pointy nose. Large eyes. Double caudal fin keel."
The blogger, Robert DM, stated that he encountered the shark near the breakwater during an early-morning walk, and that he managed to "throw" the shark back into the water.
A surfer then "took it on his board past the rocks and let it swim away."
Salmon sharks prey largely on salmon, but also eat squid and other fishes. They typically range in Alaskan waters from spring through fall, but there have been sporadic sightings recently off Southern California.
They can measure to about 10 feet and weigh nearly 1,000 pounds, and though they boast a fearsome appearance salmon sharks have never been positively identified in attacks on humans.
Lowe, who runs the Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach, said salmon sharks that strand themselves on beaches typically suffer from brain ailments caused by bacteria.
The biologist added that the shark rescued in Venice "probably won't survive."--Pete Thomas