ROME — Christmastime Nativity scenes usually feature donkeys, cows and sheep. That could help explain the interest generated when divers mounted a creche in the shark tank of the aquarium in the Italian Adriatic city of Cattolica.

The sharks who call the Cattolica Aquarium home — a 3-meter (10-foot) -long sand tiger shark named Brigitte and her fellow tank-mates, closely inspected the work this week as divers installed the ceramic tiled Nativity scene on an underwater column. At one point Brigitte got too close and was poked to stay away.

With its 3,000 sea creatures representing 400 species, the Cattolica is the largest aquarium on the Adriatic.

Italy is famous for its “presepe,” the hand-crafted Nativity scenes that often take over entire Italian living rooms at Christmastime.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.