Two dead sharks were found in a parking lot and on a driveway in St. Augustine, Florida, in the last week.
Workers at a Walmart found a 5-foot dead shark in a shopping cart in the store’s driveway Friday, the St. Augustine Record reported Wednesday. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call from one of the store’s assistant managers and found the shark near an RV parked in the lot. The RV’s owner told deputies he heard noises outside his vehicle early in the morning, but assumed they came from Walmart employees moving carts. When he woke up, he found the shark on the hood of his RV. Not sure what to do with the dead animal, he moved it to a cart.
The deputies then called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which sent officers to remove the shark for disposal.
Then on Wednesday, the St. John’s County Sheriff’s office took another dead shark call. This time deputies found a dead shark in a driveway in Vilano Beach, across the Tolomato River from St. Augustine.
Florida has a long history with residents struggling to dispose of exotic animals. In 2004, the New York Times noted that “more imported animals are flown to Miami than any other American city but New York and Los Angeles.” Many of those animals are then abandoned, and in tropical Florida, they often survive.
For example, thousands of Burmese pythons, which are native to Southeast Asia, are now believed to populate the Everglades. The pythons, which can grow to 26 feet, are causing havoc on the ecosystem and have spread to the Florida Keys. The invasive predators are breeding so far from their native habitat because exotic animal collectors began abandoning them in the Everglades in the 1980s.