Four frozen thresher sharks have been found in the waters around Cape Cod

By Kelli Bender
January 08, 2018 03:00 PM

The weather has not been kind to Massachusetts.

According to the Cape Cod Times, four frozen thresher sharks have been discovered in the water near Wellfleet, with the most recent turning up on New Year’s Eve.

Shark researchers from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy have not had a chance to take a closer look at the latest victim due to high tides and ice conditions near the shark’s body.

Thresher sharks stand out for their scythe-shaped tails, which experts believe help the species stun its prey. Unfortunately, these sharks were not built to handle the frigid temperatures recently plaguing the Cape Cod area. Shark researchers told the Cape Cod Times that threshers likely don’t have the ability to generate enough heat to keep vital organs healthy in water below 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperatures in the area where the four frozen sharks were found have been less than 41 degrees Fahrenheit for more than one week.


Usually thresher sharks swim south in the winter to the warmer waters of the Carolinas. Based on satellite tagging information, experts know that many thresher sharks have already moved south for the season. They believe that the dead sharks found near Cape Cod could’ve gotten lost or confused during their travels, leaving them stuck near Massachusetts when the brutal weather blew in.

While Michelle Wcisel, program director for the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, understands the prospect of seeing one of these frozen apex predators up close might be tempting for some, she warns against any attempts to get close to these dead animals.

“It’s dangerous, really dodgy,” she said. “We really don’t want people to try and go out there.”

If you are interested in helping the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy save stranded sharks, check out this online wish list full of items that can help the organization rescue sharks stuck in icy waters in the future.