(SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif.) — Employees at San Juan Hills Golf Club got a huge surprise this week when they found a live, 2-foot-long shark on the 12th hole.
“One of our marshals saw something flip-flopping near the 12th hole tee box,” the club’s director of operations Melissa McCormack told ABC News. The marshal’s job, McCormack says, is usually to ensure the proper pace of play on the course and provide assistance to customers who need it.
“It was absolutely the weirdest thing we’ve seen here,” McCormack said.
An unusual sight on land anywhere, the little leopard shark’s presence at San Juan Hills was made even more startling by the course’s location four miles from the Pacific Ocean in San Juan Capistrano.
The marshal tossed the shark into the back of a golf cart and quickly drove to the club house, where he was joined by McCormack and fellow employee Bryan Stizer. They placed the shark in a bucket of salt water and Stizer drove it to the ocean where, McCormack said, things were not looking good for their young friend.
“Bryan put it in the water and it just floated there for a minute,” McCormack said. However, proving that it was not a true land shark, the creature came around. “Then it just took off and swam away.”
So how did the lucky shark wind up four miles inland?
Eagle puns aside, a bird of prey probably gave it a ride. According to McCormack, they noticed puncture wounds near the shark’s gills, hinting that a large bird, perhaps an osprey, wanted to make it into a meal but lost its grip somewhere along the way. She said the osprey is common bird in the area, one often known to prey on large fish.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Josh Friesen, Idaho State Journal
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com