There may be something mysterious in the water in Cabo San Lucas.
Illinois teen Scott McLaughlin has quite the fishy story to tell after a fishing trip ended with a really odd looking catch that some believe belongs in outer space rather than in the depths of the sea.
McLaughlin, 18, was fishing with his dad in the Sea of Cortez off Cabo San Lucas when he reeled in a bewildering catch. This creature was small with raspy skin, three gill slits on each side of its head, three rows of tiny teeth, and was light in color with a puffed up belly.
The teen and his dad asked their guide what the fish was but he replied he had “never seen anything like it in 25 years,” reports The San Diego Union Tribune. The group kept the weird-looking creature out of the water for about 10 minutes and then threw him back in, thinking he was rare endangered species.
It turns out he was an albino or leucistic shark. According to David Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, swell sharks are common in that area, but of the identified 520 species of sharks, he has never seen an albino or leucistic one before.
Swell sharks expand with water when they feel threatened, explaining the creature’s puffy appearance. Leucism is a condition where there is partial pigmentation loss in an animal’s skin, which is why the shark had an uneven, patchy look.
While catching an albino shark may be a rare occurrence, Cabo San Lucas offers near perfect weather that gives tourists the ability to do any outdoor activity they’d like. With hot sunny days, low humidity, and an expected 350 days of sunny weather a year, visitors have plenty of chances to make their own unique wildlife discoveries.