HOUSTON - Have you heard of something called the 'Bass Pro Challenge'?
In a nutshell, teenagers jump the aquarium railing at some Bass Pro Shops, then go for a swim in the marine habitats.
It’s an illegal prank that’s gotten hundreds of thousands of views online. A teenager in Denver reportedly did it over the weekend and wound up with a head injury. Denver police say he may also be facing criminal charges.
During KHOU's visit to the Houston-area location, Bass Pro’s corporate headquarters wouldn’t confirm or deny if there had been any incidents at the local location.
The outdoorsman’s paradise in Pearland has a 30,000-gallon freshwater aquarium specifically tailored to the gulf coastal waterways, teeming with large-mouth bass, catfish and redfish. Each aquarium at Bass Pro's stores is individually designed to replicate local habitats.
“I think it’s important that we respect nature and that we respect these animals, and not cannonball into the aquarium and scare them,” said Mike Senske, president of the Aquarium Design Group.
Senske says each time a teen takes the plunge, fish inside the aquamarine habitats are at risk of dying. He says it's risky for the pranksters, too.
“You have the rock structures, many of these aquariums have large pieces of driftwood, so it’s very dangerous to the person who would consider this," Senske said. "There is a high percentage you’re going to hit your head or injure yourself severely.”
There are a handful of the videos online and Bass Pro Shops says “such occurrences are extremely rare and highly discouraged.”
KHOU has not learned the condition of the teenager hurt in the recent Denver incident.