Sailors left stunned after discovering ‘pig-faced’ shark in Italy

Sailors discovered a shark with the body and face of a pig while floating in Italian waters. Naval officers dredged the monstrous-looking fish near the town of Portoferraio on the Italian island of Elba. Experts have explained that, while the catch is unusual, the shark is an ordinary deep-sea fish that drifted to the surface.

The naval officers’ discovered the specimen while floating in the Darsena Medicea marina and initially suspected the “pig-faced shark” was a mutant.

But experts have said the species is reportedly common and shared other details that deepen the shark’s uncanny resemblance to a pig.

Speaking to local media following the discovery, Yuri Tiberto of the nearby Elba Aquarium said the shark was an angular roughshark.

He said the fish also “emits a kind of grunt” as it emerges from the water.

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The breed, known by its scientific name Oxynotus centrina, traditionally lives several hundred metres below the ocean’s surface.

Mr Tiberto said it has earned the name “pig fish”, and added that he often receives calls from startled fishermen who have found it snagged in their nets.

He said: “I can safely say that I often receive reports telling me of ‘pig fish’ that have ended up in local fishing nets.”

While he has tried to study the fish by keeping it in a tank, he said it is a shark species that “does not adapt to captivity”, given it is traditionally acclimated to living in depths of up to 2,300 feet (700 metres) below the surface.

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The species is most commonly found in the East Atlantic Ocean and some parts of the Mediterranean Sea.

When they made the startling find in early June, the sailors posted a picture online, and it quickly went viral.

Hundreds of people flocked to social media to discuss the fish, with people split over whether it was cruel to pull it from the water.

The shark was taken to the Harbour Office, studied, and disposed of by officials.

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