Why Kentucky Appears on a List of States That Have Reported Shark Attacks
Did any of you visit Florida or any coastal state in the summer of 1975? Well, my family did. It was the summer of Jaws, a movie that arguably gave birth to the concept of the summer blockbuster.
It was also the movie that gave birth to the idea (however briefly) of "Uh, no I don't think I'm going in the water today...or ever." That's right. 46 years ago, Steven Spielberg's masterpiece (among many) manipulated us right out of frolicking in the waves.
It seems that within the last 15 years, reports of sharks approaching populated beach areas or actually attacks have increased to the point where the headlines don't pass us by. And if you've wondered if there is an actual database that records such encounters, well, there is. And it is administered by the Shark Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. Yes, I would've guessed central New Jersey, too.
But I suppose it's inappropriate, in the context of this story, to poke fun at that location since we're here to examine and reveal why so many landlocked states pop up on the institute's list of shark attacks.
One such state is Kentucky. The incident in question occurred at the Newport Aquarium, the only location IN the Commonwealth where such an encounter could occur. And no, the shark didn't jump out of its massive tank like some bad SYFY Channel movie; guests were bitten, according to CBS News, when they were at an exhibit where you were allowed to touch the sea life. And the shark was a small catshark. This took place in 2006. I don't know if the Newport Aquarium STILL allows people to pet sharks, but I'd beg off, just the same.
See? It's one of those "there's nothing to see here" moments, but it dinged my curiosity enough that I had to check it out. It seems even a BITE is enough for the institute to label it an "attack."
But again, petting sharks? Wasn't there a nice goldfish somewhere?