Winter months bring different shark species to the Emerald Coast

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As the waters around the Emerald Coast grow colder, many of the shark species that are common across the region head down south towards warmer waters.

A Mako Shark that washed ashore near Sunnyside (WJHG/WECP)

However, some more recognizable species of shark make the northern Gulf their home for the season.

This is the time of year where more cold water sharks, such as Great White and Mako sharks, are more often spotted across the region. Earlier this year a large Mako shark washed up on shore in Sunnyside, demonstrating the sharks' willingness to move closer to shore. The sharks are often coming here to take advantage of new food sources.

"What they're doing a lot in this time of year is feeding on many of the marine mammal species that are found in our area that are starting to calf," said NOAA research biologist Dr. John Carlson. "They're trying to take advantage of that prey base by feeding on young or injured marine mammals that are migrating."

While larger species of shark may be more common in our waters this time of year, the good news is it isn't any more dangerous to go into the water than it is at any other time of year.

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