Girl, 12, bitten by shark while she was feeding stingrays in touch tank at a zoo

A 12-year-old girl was bitten by a shark while she was feeding stingrays in a touch tank during a visit to a zoo.

The child, who has not been identified, suffered an injury to her finger while at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey, on April 9.


Essex County Executive Joseph N DiVincenzo Jr said in a statement to McClatchy News: “Staff responded quickly and provided the girl with a band-aid and antibacterial cream.

“When EMS arrived, the cut was covered by the band-aid, bleeding had stopped and the family declined care from the technicians.”

The type of shark that bit the girl wasn’t specified but DiVincenzo said epaulette sharks swim inside the 1,600-gallon tank along with the stingrays.

According to the Aquarium of the Pacific, epaulette sharks are small and can be identified by the numerous spots dotted along their narrow bodies.

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The sharks are native to the coasts of New Guinea and Australia while their “teeth are small, with broad bases”.

Turtle Back Zoo gave the girl’s family free passes for a return visit as a result of the shark bite, DiVincenzo said.

“We pride ourselves on providing our visitors with an educational and fun experience and all efforts are made to keep our visitors and animals safe,” DiVincenzo added.

Feeding the touch tank’s marine animals costs $3, according to the zoo’s website.

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East Orange is approximately 60 miles northeast of Trenton.


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