Tourist's eyes bulge at bizarre beach discovery

This is a bigeye thresher shark and it was probably the last thing a Czech man expected to see on a New Zealand beach.

Martin Stehlik was visiting his uncle George Plesky at Whangarei when they happened upon the peculiar looking creature washed up on the beach over the weekend.

The bigeye thresher shark is generally harmless, even if it isn't the prettiest animal in the ocean. Photo: George Plesky/Northern Advocate

The Northern Advocate reports the pair were not entirely sure what to make of the bug-eyed carcass.

"It was just so strange and we'd never seen anything like it before, with its long tail and it's big, black eyes,” Mr Plesky told the paper.

“It was very unusual. Martin thought it might be a shark that isn't seen here often.”


Martin was correct. The bigeye thresher shark is usually found in tropical waters and not often seen washed up upon the shore.

But while it looks like something from a science fiction movie, the creatures are not usually dangerous to humans due to their small teeth.

Department of Conservation shark expert Clinton Duffy told the Northern Advocate it was exciting to see the photos of the shark because, while they were quite common, they rarely inhabited the same environments as humans.

“They're quite common but rarely seen due to their offshore habits. They feed on small schooling fishes and squid,” he said.

“Very little is known of the species' biology in New Zealand.”


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