Deep water predator washes up on North Saanich shore

A strange creature that washed up in Coles Bay in North Saanich is creating some excitement amongst the curious.

It's a rarely seen deep-water predator -- a bluntnosed sixgill shark, with comb-like yellow lower teeth, a single dorsal fin, and a very long tail.

The dead shark is a pregnant female nearly 4 metres (13 foot) long.  The species can reach up to 4.8 metres -- or over 15 feet long -- and is one of the largest sharks in the world.

Area resident Sang Nam rushed to see it for himself:

" So amazing. It's awesome. I have never seen something like this one here." 

For Nicole Wilford of Sidney it's both fascinating and sad: 

" You know why it's here and what it died from is kind of sad. But to be able to see it is pretty cool."

The sixgill shark is known to come closer to shore to give birth, if that's the reason the female was here it's possible she suffered complications during birth.  But DFO scientists aren't sure how far along the pups were. 

They have taken tissue samples to see if they can determine the cause of death, what she was eating, and if there are any microplastics in her system.

The carcass will be left for nature to take care of.

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