This Bites

I’ve been perusing my National Audubon Society Field Guide to California. Lots of very interesting stuff. With any organism (plant or animal) that needs warning, the entry for that organism usually comes with a “caution.” For example, in the entry for Black Bear there is a caution that reads “Caution: do not feed, approach or get between one and its food or cubs.” Good advice, I say. For the Mountain Lion there is a caution that reads “Caution: usually shy of humans, but fatal attacks have occurred.” Again, sound advice. So I was amazed at the entry for the White Shark; not for what it read, but for what it didn’t read. I shall recreate it entry for you below:

Carcharodon carcharias

12-15′. Snout bluntly pointed. Pale gray above, white below. 1st dorsal fin tall, thick, pointed; pectoral fins long; tail fin’s upper lobe notched below tip. Teeth highly serrated, triangular. Feeds on seals, sea lions, porpoises, other small cetaceans, large fish, crabs. Young born alive, about 5′ long. CAUTION Bites; will attack boats if nearby waters contain discarded fish parts. HABITAT Coastal Waters.

There are two things to note. First – five foot babies! Holy mackerel!

The second I will repeat because you may have passed right over it without noticing – “Caution: Bites.” Bites. Like a flea or mosquito might bite you. A mountain lion has been know to cause fatalities, but this may only bite.

Also, don’t bob around in fish parts, but I think that goes without saying anyway.

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