WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Shark washes up on Alki

(Photo sent by Chemine)

11:59 AM: Thanks for the photos and tips. A sixgill shark washed up on Alki this morning. Wildlife experts tried to save it – Kersti Muul was there, as was SR3, but Kersti tells us they couldn’t.

em>(Photos sent by Kersti Muul)

Kersti says it was a juvenile male, seven and a half feet long. (According to this species-info page on the Seattle Aquarium website, that’s about half as long as they grow to be.) Here’s a look at its namesake gills:

And its teeth:

The state Fish and Wildlife Department was going to come get it.

ADDED 4 PM: If you didn’t already see the link in a comment below, wildlife photographer Jamie Kinney has a gallery here.

22 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Shark washes up on Alki"

  • anonyme May 4, 2023 (12:24 pm)

    What a beautiful animal.  I’m so sad he didn’t make it.

  • KD May 4, 2023 (12:27 pm)

    Kersti, is this type of shark native to our waters, or was it off course? 

    • waikikigirl May 4, 2023 (1:03 pm)


      Take a look at the Seattle Aquarium page the one the WSB attached above, it’s pretty informative. We also saw a program that talked about these 6 gills in Puget Sound…makes you think about what’s lurking below you! 😉

    • Kersti Elisabeth Muul May 4, 2023 (1:33 pm)

      Absolutely! We have around 10 or so sharks here. 6 Gill used to pup locally 

    • HS May 4, 2023 (1:39 pm)

      They’re native to our area. They’re bottom feeders, helping to clean our waterways.

    • WS resident May 5, 2023 (10:49 pm)

      They are very much local to Puget Sound waters. Scuba divers encounter them at deeper depths at times. They’re pretty tame, most of the time. One attacked a diver years ago.

  • Jamie Kinney May 4, 2023 (12:31 pm)

    I was able to stop by for a few minutes and took some photos from a safe and respectful distance:https://www.jamiekinneyphotos.com/collection/sixgill-shark-alki-beach-wa

    • DW May 4, 2023 (1:00 pm)

      Thx for the interesting pix!

  • Kate May 4, 2023 (12:54 pm)

    KD – sixgills are native to this region 

  • Brooke May 4, 2023 (1:44 pm)

    Wow! Seems rather unusual. I read these kind of sharks usually prefer very deep and more temperate waters, but do migrate for the Spring/Summer. Thanks for the story and photos WSB!

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul May 4, 2023 (3:12 pm)

    Absolutely stunning creatures 

  • Joe May 4, 2023 (3:31 pm)

    I saw one of those washed up on Alki years ago (90’s). They’re definitely around.

  • Leigh Kenner May 4, 2023 (4:05 pm)

    Saw them this morning trying to save it, I’m so sad they couldn’t :(

  • Higginshere May 4, 2023 (7:21 pm)

    Does anyone know if F &W intend to have a necropsy performed on the little guy? Would be good to know the cause of death.

  • David Hutchinson May 4, 2023 (9:52 pm)

    Yes. The crew from WDFW, who removed the shark, told Seal Sitters on site that a necropsy would be performed. We hope to be able to share the results.

    David Hutchinson, Seal Sitters MMSN

  • BriGuy May 5, 2023 (8:51 am)

    There was a six-gill shark that washed up on Vashon/Maury Island just this past March:

    • waikikigirl May 5, 2023 (5:41 pm)

      BriGuy—–Thank you for the Vashon Nature Center story, though it was discouraging but had a lot of information and concerns for these 6 gills!

    • AJ May 6, 2023 (12:19 am)

      Really interesting and informative article! Thank you for sharing. 

  • Danielle Johnson May 5, 2023 (2:49 pm)

    Sure wish he could have been saved, so sad he was just a little guy. I’m so thankful for all the workers who tried to do what they could!

  • A.M May 6, 2023 (9:48 pm)

    Whoa, what a rare sight! Sorry to hear that this guy didn’t make it, hopefully they figure out why.

  • Scarlett May 7, 2023 (2:29 pm)

    A diver encountered one of these critters in the Bahama’s.  https://www.livescience.com/65985-encounter-with-sixgill-shark.html

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