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Westerly — A 28 1/2 -foot-long male basking shark weighing several tons washed ashore in Misquamicut this morning.
The shark, located near 521 Atlantic Avenue, which is east of the state beach, has been attracting curious onlookers today who took photos and touched it.
A Misquamicut homeowner reported the shark to police about 7:15 a.m. this morning. Police then contacted the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management which then asked Mystic Aquarium to investigate.
The aquarium sent a staff member to the beach who took photos of the shark. The aquarium said this afternoon that the Northeast Fisheries Science Center is expected to have a shark biologist perform a necropsy.
While their body shape and size resemble that of great white sharks, basking sharks can be differentiated by their massive jaws and gill slits. They feed by filtering water to catch zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates.