Fact check: Story about bull sharks in Arkansas river started as satire
A bull shark. (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The claim: After an accident in Hot Springs, Arkansas, dozens of bull sharks were dumped into the Ouachita River, including a 15-foot shark named Jaws
A March 25 Facebook post, that shows a screenshot of a Google search “bull shark in hot springs arkansas” with an excerpt from an article by Spa City Chronicle in the results, claims there was a highway accident that resulted in over a dozen bull sharks ending up in the Ouachita River.
“Highway Accident Leads to Over a Dozen Bull Sharks Being Dumped in Ouachita River Hot Springs, AR – An early morning accident on Airport Road led to the accidental release of over a dozen Bull Sharks into the Ouachita River, one being 15ft in length,” reads the screenshot in the post.
The post received more than 16,000 shares and more than 900 comments. USA TODAY reached out to the user who made the post for comment.
“Spa City Chronicle is Arkansas’ most reliable source of media garbage,” the site states. It’s “fake news” section is described as home to “Satire articles also centered around central Arkansas.”
This article falls in the section described as “fake news.” It details 34-year-old Matthew Tucker swerving in an attempt to miss a deer in the middle of the road. His truck then “left the roadway close to Paradise Cove Marina” and fell into the Ouachita River, where the claimed release of sharks happened. It adds that a shark named Jaws is the priority for capture because of “his extremely aggressive behavior.”
But the viral Facebook post shared the article’s description without identifying it as satire.
A look at bull sharks
Bull sharks are hardy, stout fish with aggressive tendencies, and they'll try to eat just about anything. Of the 20 or so species of sharks common in Florida waters, the bull shark is often the culprit in attacks on humans. (Photo: Getty Images)
According to National Geographic, bull sharks are found in the shallow, warm waters of all the world’s oceans. They are fast and agile predators that will consume almost anything they see: fish, dolphins, and even other sharks.
Although humans are not exactly on their menu, they will often, out of curiosity or inadvertently, attack people when they are in muddy waters of estuaries and bays.
Our rating: False
The claim that there are bull sharks in an Arkansas river is FALSE, based on our research. The article that details the supposed event was posted on a website that describes itself as satire and posts sharing the story do not note that.
Our fact-check sources:
- Facebook post, March 25
- Spa City Chronicle, Feb. 25, Highway Accident Leads to Over a Dozen Bull Sharks Being Dumped in Ouachita River
- National Geographic, accessed March 30, Bull Shark
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