All fishermen have at least one catch they'll never forget. For a group in Venice, Florida, it was a 12-foot hammerhead shark that turned out to be pregnant.
According to Tampa's WFLA, Devon Fritch, Noe Campos, Danny Rosenbalm, and Coty Steffanni caught the expectant mother after a two-hour tug of war with the fishing line.
When the line became tangled around a pole, Campos jumped into the water to untangle it, and the group then dragged the catch to shore for further inspection.
That's when they realized the hammerhead had a large bite mark in her stomach -- probably from another shark. The fishermen were even more surprised, Campos said, when they saw a tail inside of the stomach and realized the shark was pregnant.
"They were trying to push their heads out," he told WFLA, "so I'm guessing the mom tried to give birth but she didn't have the strength to push them out."
In the full video, taken by Ashley Travis and posted to Facebook, you can see how the pups, 20 in all and each about the length of a forearm, were pulled from the bite mark, "wiggling and squirming," as a witness described it. (Warning: the full video is pretty gruesome and contains graphic language.)
"I stood in the water for a couple of seconds to make sure they swam off good," Campos said, but conservationists, such as Dr. Bob Hueter, the vice president of the Directorate of Marine Biology and Conservation at Mote Marine Laboratory, warn that hammerhead sharks are endangered and should be cut off the line if caught.
The group's behavior toward the injured shark (in the full video, you can see someone kicking the shark) has also come under criticism.
The mother succumbed to her wounds, and unfortunately, according to Hueter, the pups aren't likely to survive either. The pups were born too early and too close to shore, he said, and, although they swam away, they still may not have been ready or strong enough to survive on their own.
Four types of hammerheads are listed as either endangered or threatened and are considered protected in the U.S.