Sharkansas! Are There Really Sharks in Arkansas?
It's July and that means we are going to start hearing a lot about shark sightings again. The National Geographic channel has just begun its traditional Sharkfest month and I got to thinking, I wonder if there have ever been sharks found in freshwater in Arkansas?
Did you know that bull sharks can actually survive in freshwater for quite some time? According to National Wildlife Federation, bull sharks have actually been found in the Mississippi River. Bull sharks are euryhaline and can thrive in both salt and fresh water, according to Wikipedia.
It's well-documented that bull sharks could travel more than 1,000 miles up the Mississippi River. The river does run through Arkansas so it's not out of the possibility that a bull shark could be found in the natural state.
In 2017, several beaches at Norfork Lake reported seeing a large shark fin swimming through the water, the report states that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission captured a 6-foot bull shark 50 yards from the beach. It was later determined that the shark could have made its way down from Table Rock Lake in Missouri where numerous sightings were occurring at that time. The bull shark had swimmers on edge with the thought "Could there be more? After further investigation into this story, it was determined to be a hoax.
There was even a report in USA Today in 2021 from a Facebook post that claimed that after an accident in Hot Springs dozens of bull sharks were dumped into the murky Ouachita River including a 15-foot-long shark named, Jaws. Unfortunately, that whole story was dismissed as false or fake news as we call it today. I'm thinking the dead giveaway was the shark named, "Jaws." C, mon really!
So, while there have been shark sightings in freshwater in other states, most of the stories have been just a hoax up to now in Arkansas but the possibility is still there. In my research, I couldn't find any credible stories of shark sightings in Arkansas.
Forget Sharknado, I already have a name in mind for a new shark movie, Sharkansas! Maybe we could film it in Shark, Arkansas in Yell County.