Baby Shark Saved From Death as Man Takes Washed-Up Egg Home to Hatch

A man was amazed after finding a live baby shark egg washed up on the beach, which he's taken home to hatch.

Xander de Beer was walking along the sand in South Africa when he spotted the egg on the shore, which wasn't a novel sight. But this time, the creature inside was still alive.

De Beer explained to Newsweek that it's a shyshark, officially Haploblepharus edwardsii, which is often referred to as Happy Eddie.

De Beer, who runs a fishing guiding/charter company, instantly knew what he was looking at as he filmed the incredible find against the sun, clearly showing the shark embryo moving around inside.

Shark egg washes up on beach.
Shark egg washes up on beach. A man was walking along the beach when he found the unhatched shark egg on the shore. Xander de Beer

He shared a clip to his TikTok page, @zoo_look_fishing, as he explained the baby shark would have died if he'd left it.

De Beer, who also runs a YouTube channel dedicated to all things fishing, told Newsweek: "I knew it was a shark egg, most likely a shyshark egg, I didn't expect to find live baby shark in it though, usually they are dead by the time you find them.

"I often find the eggs on the beach but this is the first time I've found one with a live shark in it. I was surprised and amazed at what I have found."

Two Oceans Aquarium confirmed the empty egg cases of the species are a common sight, saying: "The sharks' egg cases are often found on beaches, after the baby shark has hatched already, and are commonly referred to as mermaid's purses."

They live on the seabed and are only found in the waters along the South African coast.

Shark egg washes up on beach.
Shark egg washes up on beach. The man has taken home the egg and created a makeshift tank for it to live until it hatches. Xander de Beer

De Beer continued: "It is a shyshark there are a few different shyshark species, this would most likely be a puffadder shyshark.

"Named after the puffadder snake found in South Africa because of the patterns on the shark and snake being similar."

Two Oceans Aquarium claimed the Puffadder shysharks are a small catshark that grows to roughly 24 inches long.

There are four Haploblepharuses shark species, with Happy Eddie and two others—dubbed Plain Happy and Happy Chappie—classed as endangered, the aquarium said.

Adults taking seven years to reach sexual maturity is one factor dampening the species reproductive efforts, along with other obstacles.

The aquarium explained: "The reason why almost all of the shysharks are in trouble is that they often end up as bycatch of trawling and shore fisheries.

File photo of puffadder shyshark.
File photo of a puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) swimming on the ocean floor. Madelein_Wolf/Getty Images

"Local fishermen, who catch fish from the shore, are not too fond of them either, regarding them as bait-stealing pests that are killed rather than released.

"These sharks are also increasingly falling victim to ghost fishing gear, as their favourite hiding spots are often also prone to snagging fishing nets and line."

Luckily for this shark, de Beer is helping look after it during its nine-month gestation period, the same timeframe as a human.

De Beer shared his parenting plan, telling Newsweek: "I brought it home and made a little ecosystem for it, if I threw it back it would've just washed out again and it would've surely died.

"I am planning to look after it and constantly replacing the seawater with new seawater. It takes up to 9 months for it to hatch but this one is a few months in already, I am not sure.

"If I can hatch it successfully I would really love to return it to the ocean!!"

The TikTok video was captioned: "Found this little fella in his egg on the beach! Brought it home to put in in a tank with the hopes of it hatching and to release it again. He would've dried out and died on the beach!"

The on-screen text says "found a shark egg with a live baby shark inside," with the video, posted last week, racking up an impressive 22 million views.

Numerous people remarked on the find, as Coquette_wonderland said: "I can just imagine you saying to your grand kids 'ye I held a whole shark in my hand'."

Okayishmama wrote: "Whoa, this was a whole science lesson for me - I had no idea!"

While Angel Beaudry added: "This is my first time finding out about shark eggs. I thought everyone was all in on the joke. Sharks are so amazing."

A followup video, posted the day after the original, showed the egg in its new home, as the caption assured it was "alive and well."