Written By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — I always thought “swimming with the sharks” was just an expression. But the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium invited me to celebrate Shark Week with a swim in a tank populated by five sand tiger sharks.

Aquatic curator Dwayne Biggs assures me that they’re relatively friendly, for sharks.

“They’re not like a great white shark. Great whites have those large, razor sharp teeth that are real good at taking chunks out of large prey. These guys are good at just grabbing small things, snagging them, and swallowing them whole.”

Wearing a wet suit and snorkeling gear, I enter the tank. Biggs says sharks have more to fear from us, than we have from them.

“Sharks aren’t doing too well. There’s over 100 million sharks harvested from the ocean each year. A lot of that is through fin fishing. They basically cut the fins off. They throw the sharks back in to die. And that’s not good. These guys are vital to the ocean. They’re a vital component. They’re predators. And they keep things in balance.”

Best of all, I emerge from the tank without a scratch.

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