The star of Shark Week this week is the hammerhead shark that’s been talked about for more than a century. Stories of Old Hitler suggest that he’s the meanest and largest shark ever to exist, and some suggest that the shark is nothing but Florida’s Loch Ness Monster. Now fans of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week will get to hear all about the massive shark.
Nothing but fish tales?
J. Scott Butherus will be sharing some of the stories about Old Hitler that he’s heard for much of his life. According to the Bradenton Herald, the hammerhead is 25-feet long and has a head that’s as wide as a pickup truck. It supposedly can gulp down other sharks in just one bite and can drag a Jeep right off the shore. Fittingly, reports of sightings indicate that his body is covered in scars. Fisherman have apparently tried to catch the massive shark, but to no avail.
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The legendary shark is said to swim in the waters between Tampa Bay and Everglades City. Families share stories about Old Hitler, a shark that seems to get bigger and bigger every time a story is told.
Old Hitler on Shark Week
It’s been more than a century that people have been talking about the shark known as Old Hitler. During World War II, the stories began to really take shape. During the war, German U-boats and the U.S. Coast Gard and Navy patrolled the coast using dirigible blimps. They apparently saw many giant hammerheads swimming around Tampa Bay, including a 20-foot shark.
That shark was said to be very dark and covered in scars. The reports indicated that the hammerhead’s dorsal fin had a notch, possible the result of the shark’s encounter with a commercial fisherman in the 1960s. That fisherman was said to have hit the massive shark with a machete after it began bumping his ship. He said the hammerhead swam away with his knife still embedded in its fin.
One of the scars was said to be shaped like a swastika. Some sources suggest that a propeller caused the scar, while others said it a group of youth carved it into the shark. One historian has said he remembers many stories of a giant hammerhead spotted every year with a harpoon spear head embedded in its back.