PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It is “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel.
A lot of you may be watching, thinking you’re going to skip heading into the ocean on your next beach trip.
However, most sharks aren’t as big and bad as you think.
KDKA-TV’s Sarah Arbogast took a dip in the shark tank today at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.
When you think about sharks does your mind automatically go to “Jaws” and rows of giant teeth?
Movies and other television shows often paint sharks to be aggressive, man-eating creatures, but that isn’t exactly the case.
“Sharks do have a bad rap and we do occasionally hear of shark bites or attacks on the coast. Very few of those happen. I think less than one person, every two years is actually killed by a shark,” Curator of Aquatic Life Dwayne Biggs said.
The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium has five sand tiger sharks. The largest is named Large Marge, who weighs in at over 300 pounds.
Sand tiger sharks are mostly found up and down the east coast. The predators play a vital role in the ocean’s ecosystem.
“They have a lot of nasty looking teeth, but they actually feed on things on the bottom. They’ll feed on crabs, they’ll feed on fish, but they are relatively non-aggressive sharks,” Biggs said.
Feeling a little daring, Arbogast decided to get up close and personal with the sharks.
While she was nervous to start, she felt a little calmer once she got in the water.
The sharks came close, but mostly because they were curious.
She was told to keep her hands and arms still because the animals are attracted to a lot of commotion.
Two divers from the zoo were also there to guide her and to make sure the sharks didn’t get too close.
“They do serve a purpose. They are not out to get humans and they are beautiful animals,” Biggs said.