Half-Eaten Shark Washes Up in Daytona

Forced perspective made a photograph of a "half-eaten shark" appear more mysterious than it was in real life.

  • Published 6 September 2016

Claim

Image depicts a huge, inexplicably half-eaten shark found on a Florida beach.

Half eaten shark washed up on Daytona beach half eaten shark

Collected via e-mail, September 2016

Rating

What's True

Swimmers discovered a dead shark on a Florida beach in 2015.

What's False

The image distorted the size of the animal to suggest a much larger shark was killed.

What's Undetermined

The shark's cause of death.

Origin

In early September 2016, photographs of a half-eaten shark began circulating along with captions saying that it was an enormous dead shark pulled out of the water in Daytona Beach, Florida. Going by images alone and without context, it was easy to believe that a large, crudely bisected shark was dragged from the waters.

An 18 August 2015 article reported of the find (which was on Butler Beach, not Daytona):

People taking surf lessons on Butler Beach were in a for big surprise when they entered the water Saturday.

At around 12:30 p.m., Dakota Dodson, a surf instructor for the St. Augustine Surf School, noticed a fin sticking out of the water and went to investigate.

“At first, I only saw the fin, so I just assumed it a live shark. But then I realized it was only half of one,” he said.

The half-eaten carcass, measuring about 2.5 feet, was found floating in knee-deep water, Dodson said.

The circumstances of how the shark died remain unclear, but experts believe it was likely eaten by another shark.

“It’s most likely it was bitten in half by another shark — sharks have to eat, too,” said Tara Dodson, environmental supervisor for St. Johns County.

The shark carcass was reportedly around 30 inches long, and wasn’t the massive predator the viral photos suggested. An additional image illustrated the size of the half-eaten shark more accurately:

half eaten shark beach

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes