PHOTO: Receding Hurricane Ian Floodwaters Reveal Grotesque Dinosaur-Like Fish Trapped in Fence

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Win McNamee / Staff

The remnants of Hurricane Ian left mountainous piles of debris and other catastrophic damages to Florida’s gulf coast. However, its receding floodwaters are also revealing something genuinely bizarre. Recently, news photographer Ulen Hodges captured an interesting photograph while surveying the flooding.

While visiting Orange County’s Orlo Vista neighborhood, he spotted an animal that looked like something out of a science book. According to Hodges, he found a seemingly ancient fish known as the Florida gar.

As it turns out, the flooding caused the fish to become trapped in a homeowner’s fence during the hurricane. According to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, this prehistoric fish has scales that create a type of hard armor. They typically live in streams, canals, and lakes with mud or sand bottoms near underwater vegetation, per the FWC.

“(Gar) uses an airbladder to breathe air in low-oxygen water,” the agency said. “Adults primarily feed on fish, shrimp and crayfish.”

In addition, the largest-ever Florida gar captured in the state weighed nearly 10 pounds.

However, this prehistoric-looking fish isn’t the only animal going viral, thanks to the devastation of Hurricane Ian. Recently, photos and videos of sharks swimming in suburban floodwaters have made rounds on the internet.

Shark pops up in Ft. Myers area following Hurricane Ian

A recent video showed a large, dark fish with dorsal fins moving around a flooded Fort Myers backyard, which has now racked up more than 12 million views on Twitter within a day. Many users responded with astonishment and comparisons to the “Sharknado” franchise.

Dominic Cameratta, a local real estate developer, filmed the clip from his house on Wednesday morning when he saw something “flopping around” in his neighbor’s yard. Check out the video of the apocalyptic moment below.

“I didn’t know what it was. It just looked like a fish or something,” he said about the shark surprise. “I zoomed in, and all my friends are like: ‘It’s like a shark, man!'” He thinks the fish was about four feet long.

However, after he posted the video, some experts were conflicted over whether the viral video showed a shark or a similar-looking fish. George Burgess, the former director of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s shark program, said it “appears to be a juvenile shark.”

However, Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, the director of the University of Miami’s shark conservation program, said that “it’s pretty hard to tell.”Regardless, some users named the fish the “street shark.”

However, according to Cameratta, the flooding in his area had only just started when he shot the video. He also believes fish may have swum from a nearby into a retention pond, which then overflowed, spilling the reptile into his neighbor’s backyard.