FORT MYERS, Fla. - A video of what many suspected to be a small shark swimming in a flooded neighborhood of Fort Myers went viral on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian began hammering southwest Florida, causing major flooding and devastation.
Many who viewed the video thought it might be a hoax, recalling a fake photo of a shark swimming on a submerged highway that circulated widely when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017. However, the video is indeed authentic, but whether it shows a small shark or another type of fish, such as a cobia or an armored catfish, has not yet been determined.
The source, Dominic Cameratta, told Storyful he captured the video on Wednesday morning at his house in Devonwood as he watched floodwaters filling up his neighbor’s property. Storyful geolocated the video and confirmed it was filmed at his property. The metadata on the footage indicated it was filmed at 8:04 am.
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Cameratta’s house backs onto a small lake about half a mile east of Hendry Creek, a tributary that empties into Estero Bay and which rises and falls with the tides.
Storyful spoke to local marine and wildlife specialists for their thoughts on the video. A spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said its staff were "unable to identify the animal."
Rick Bartleson, a marine scientist at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), was also uncertain but, based on the shape of its dorsal fin, said he was doubtful that it was a shark or sawfish.