Search icon


10th Nov 2021

Venomous sharks discovered in the River Thames

Kieran Galpin


Anyone up for a swim with the sharks?

64 years after the River Thames was pronounced ‘biologically dead’ it has been revealed that sharks are not only living in the river – but thriving.

Not just one but three shark breeds were found in the dark and murky waters, reports the Evening Standard.

First off, we have the critically endangered tope shark, which can grow to 6ft long and is renowned for its powerful swimming and particularly aggressive presence.

The houndshark has also been seen in the waters, which comes in at an adorable length of between 37 to 220 cm.

Finally – and perhaps most shocking of all – spurdog sharks are known for being particularly venomous and though their poison cannot kill, it does create intense discomfort and swelling. If that weren’t enough, they can also curl their back spines to defend and attack creatures who swim too close.

“This report has enabled us to really look at how far the Thames has come on its journey to recovery since it was declared biologically dead, and in some cases, set baselines to build from in the future,” said Alison Debney, of the Zoological Society of London.

Debney also said that the Thames now supports more than 115 species of fish, 92 species of bird and has almost 600 hectares of saltmarsh.

She continued:” “[In 1957] there were long stretches of the Thames that had such low oxygen concentrations due to all the pollution that entered it, that much of the river was devoid of life.

“There were certainly no fish living within those parts. A few hardy eels were found.”

If sharks are not the creatures you were hoping to find in the capital’s rivers then you will be pleased to know that seals, seahorses and eels were also found in promising amounts.

Related links: