by Josh Gross
Looking for a good hands-on way to send Shark Week out with a bang? Try plunging your hand into a tank full of dozens of the little killling machines so they can pluck pieces of fish from your fingertips.
"It's easy," the woman standing next to me said. "Just hold it below their mouth and they'll grab it."
She and several children were feeding them like old pros. I, on the other hand, wanted to keep my hand. And the best way to do that seemed to be to keep it away from the swarm of sharks, not to mention the stingrays. Those things took out the Crocodile Hunter. What chance would I have?
How many sharks are there?
"Hundreds, if you include the babies," said Idaho Aquarium Director Ammon Covino.
And though they were mostly less than a foot—big enough to tear your fingers open pretty severely but too small to swallow you whole—Covino said that some like the Black Tips and the Zebra Shark would grow to around 8 feet. A tiny hammerhead being giddily petted like a puppy seemed especially suspect. As they grow, the sharks will be transferred to larger tanks, which are currently under construction in the exhibit space.
Also on display are a number of shark eggs, which can be examined up close with a magnifying glass to see the fetal sharks moving around. Creeptacular.
The only tie-ins to Shark Week that the Idaho Aquarium is offering are coloring and trivia contests. But if there's a better way to immediately put the bad ideas you get from watching TV into action this weekend, we don't know about it.
The Western Idaho Fair is also offering a traveling shark exhibit. But most of that is happening next week, at which point Shark Week will be over and we will be into Minority Enterprise Development Week, which is actually a part of Psoriasis Awareness Month, and getting eaten by a shark then would just be silly.
The Idaho Aquarium is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. every day. Admission is $4-$9.