Father-Son Duo Reel In Shark With Odd Feature. Wildlife Expert Reveals Explanation Behind Apparent Deformity

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Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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A father-son duo reeled in a shark with a tail deformity while fishing in their backyard in Titusville, Florida.

Brian Tittle and his son were fishing June 3 when they reeled in a bull shark with a squiggly tail, according to Fox 35.

“It took us an hour to reel it in,” Tittle told FOX 35. “As soon as I seen [its] tail, I knew something was wrong.”

“The shark appears to have some form of scoliosis or spinal deformity affecting the vertebral column,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Research Institute (FWCRI) said in a Facebook post. “While the condition is rare, our team has encountered similar anomalies in other shark and bony fish species.”

The FWCRI dubbed the juvenile fish “Squiggley Shark” in their post. The Facebook post also included images of a seatrout with an oddly shaped vertebral column similar to the condition of the shark. (RELATED: Catch Of A Lifetime: Instant Legend Of A Fisherman Reels In 12-Foot Tiger Shark Off Florida Coast).

Tittle believed at first the shark might have been injured from a boat propeller or had a broken tail, Fox 35 reported. He then took a few photos and sent them off to a friend at the FWCRI, later finding out it was due to scoliosis.

The father-son duo released the rare shark back into the water after taking a few photos, according to the outlet.

“I feel bad keeping this one,” Tittle told Fox 35. “I figured it had a tough life already.”

Though bull sharks are not long creatures, they typically tend to be “very thick and stocky,” according to the Shark Guardian. Bull sharks are typically found within shallow waters along rivers and coastal areas.