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Shark Week: Five Shark Stories and Facts

Five things worth knowing about sharks as the nationwide craze continues.

Shark in the pond! Luckily, that's not the case in Avon, but it is Shark Week again on The Discovery Channel until Aug. 5. The annual series has everything from footage of sharks and scientific research of whether sharks can "go rogue" like in Jaws to Andy Sandberg's interludes as chief shark officer, not to be confused with Saturday Night Live's Land Shark skit from the '70s. In honor of the week, here are five shark related stories, facts and more.

  1. Michael Brennan, of Avon, will be getting his doctorate's degree in archealogical oceanography in 2012 at the University of Rhode Island. He is currently chief scientist on the Nautilus with Robert Ballard in the Black Sea doing research for six weeks. They might have some shark sightings out there. A previous research team on the Nautilus in October saw this shark swim up to the ROV Hercules, which is equipped with an underwater video camera, as shown on the Nautilus Live website. 
  2. The last shark attack in Connecticut, according to a July 2010 report from NBC Connecticut, was at Seaside Park near the coast of Bridgeport on Aug. 24, 1960. A Stratford man claimed he was bitten by a shark and was treated, the television station reported after examining records from the Ichthyology Department at the University of Florida. Shark attacks are a rare occurrence near the Connecticut coast.
  3. A Milford man caught a big fish in August 2010 – a four-foot, 30-pound sand tiger shark, according to WHDH-TV, a Boston television station. Sand tiger sharks do swim on Long Island Sound, but representives from Mystic Aquarium told the news station that it is unusual for those sharks to be found as far out as the fisherman was – 100 yards from the shoreline. In a video on WTNH, Bob Wilson interviews the fisherman and holds the shark.
  4. One of Mystic Aquarium's featured species of the month is the bonnethead shark, which is two to four feet and weighs up to 24 pounds. They look like a smaller version of a hammerhead, and are found in shallow water, like estuaries and bays, as well as aquatic areas with grass, sand and mud, according to the Mystic Aquarium website. Crabs, snails small fish and clams are in the bonnethead's diet, and humans are actually predators to the species, as well as larger sharks. The aquarium has a shark tank for viewing, as well as a shark touch pool, though the small, docile sharks sometimes are sleeping and not available for petting.
  5. Humans are more likely to get bitten by another human than a shark, or be killed by "hornets, wasps, bees or dogs" than by sharks, as listed in The Discovery Channel's top 100 facts about sharks

The Shark Week television schedule is available on Discovery's website, and starts at 9 p.m. every night until Aug. 5.

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