IT'S LUNCH TIME FOR OUR SHARKS
SHARK TALK & FEEDINGS
It's lunch time for our sharks! Come check out the unique feeding behaviors of these magnificent (and often misunderstood) creatures. Learn fascinating facts about these incredible predators from one of our experts and meet our mascot, Sherlock the Shark!
Monday, Wednesday & Friday
He's everyone's favorite shark! Meet him during our shark feedings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:30 pm
MEET OUR SHIVER (what a group of sharks is called)
ZENON THE ZEBRA SHARK
When they are born, zebra sharks are dark brown with yellowish stripes—this is how they get their name! As they mature, their skin lightens, and the stripes are replaced by small dark spots. Because of this, zebra sharks are mistakenly called leopard sharks.
Zebra sharks are nocturnal and hunt at night for crustaceans and small fish. During the day, they are sluggish like teenagers getting ready for school and like to rest on the sandy sea bottom which Zenon does a lot.
Zebra sharks have slender, sensory organs that look a little like cat whiskers at the front of their snouts to help them seek out prey.
Adult zebra sharks are non-aggressive toward humans and have few predators other than larger sharks and humans.
Zebra sharks are considered an Endangered Species everywhere in the world, except Australia, so we must do what we can to protect them! Samples of Zenon’s blood and tissues have been donated to studies seeking to learn more about the species and how to better help zebra sharks throughout the oceans!
WHITETIP REEF SHARKS, BARRY AND BLAZE
These two sharks are easy to spot, with their slender shape, pronounced gills and white-tipped fins. Whitetip reef sharks appear grumpy because of their down-turned mouth and protruding brow ridges. They are calm during the day but transform into efficient hunters as they scour reefs at night.
The whitetip reef shark is highly responsive to the electrical cues given off by potential prey. It is especially sensitive to natural and artificial low-frequency sounds, like a struggling fish.
Barry and Blaze will often rest on the sandy bottom because this species of shark does not need to move to breathe like many other sharks. They use a method known as BUCCAL PUMPING to pump water into their mouth and over their gills, enabling them to spend long periods of time resting in caves or on the seabed.
Blaze was purchased from a pet store 16 years ago by a private citizen and she spent 15 years in a small 1000-gallon home aquarium, until the owners realized they could no longer care for her. Our husbandry staff was able to transport and rehabilitate her, so she now is able to join the other sharks in our roomy 30,000-gallon ocean tank. Buying exotic animals from pet stores is discouraged and typically leads to rehoming, unlawful release into the wild or death.
GRAY REEF SHARKS, BONNIE AND CLYDE
Gray reef sharks can be quickly identified by the dark lining along the back side of their tail fin. As their name suggests, this species prefers to stalk prey along coral reefs that are typically located in shallow waters near coastlines. They often stay within 200 feet of the ocean’s surface but are sometimes known to plunge to over 3,000 feet. They tend to lurk around rugged terrain, particularly around continental shelves, in relatively clear and calm waters.
Many people mistakenly think grey reef sharks are babies because of their size- but that small size makes them perfectly suited for the tight twists and turns you must navigate to hunt in a coral reef.
While overall population numbers for these sharks is unknown, they are considered near threatened due to habitat loss. Their preference for coral reefs is a significant vulnerability due to the continued destruction of these habitats around the world.
Epaulette sharks are named for the large black and white circles behind their pectoral fins, which resemble military epaulettes. These markings can be confusing for predators as they look like a large eye.
The epaulette shark is a type of shark that has a few incredible abilities. Unlike any other shark, the epaulette has ability to uses its fins as legs to "walk" over reefs to look for prey. In addition, the epaulette shark can breath out of water! It can actually survive 60 times longer without oxygen than humans. In order to do this, the little shark slows its breathing and heart rate and powers down its brain.
The young epaulette sharks at the aquarium hatched in Fall 2019 from egg casings called called MERMAID PURSES. Mermaid purses are tough, leathery pouches with hooks and tendrils that protect a shark embryo. As with most sharks, epaulette sharks have very low reproductive rates and are vulnerable to population decline if overfished.
WHITE SPOTTED BAMBOO SHARKS
Whitespotted Bamboo Sharks are small carpet sharks that grow to about 3 feet long. These small, mostly nocturnal species are harmless to humans and can be found in our Contact Cove touch tanks with our stingrays.
At night these sharks will scour the bottom for food, sucking in what they find. Like other sharks, they also have ELECTRORECEPTORS along their snout to help them locate prey that is buried in the sand and mud. Electroreceptive animals use the sense to locate objects around them. They can detect the electrical impulses of other animals, allowing them to sense an animal’s heartbeat.
You will most likely spot Louis as he is our albino bamboo sharks. Albinism is a very rare occurrence for sharks, and has only occurred on a few occasions. There is no exact statistic, but it is estimated that 1 in 10,000 of this species are born albino. Albino animals have a very poor chance of survival in the wild.
SWELL SHARKS, LUCY AND ETHEL
Swell sharks are a type of cat shark that live the eastern Pacific Ocean, often found over algae-covered rocky bottoms where they hide in crevices during the day. They grow to about 3 feet long and have flat, broad heads with large gold eyes.
When threatened, the swell shark has an unusual response. It bends its body into a U-shape, grasps its caudal fin in its mouth and swallows a large quantity of sea water, which makes it swell to twice its normal size. This behavior makes it difficult for a predator to bite or pull a swell shark from its rocky crevice. When letting the water out, the shark makes a dog-like bark!
Another highly unique ability swell sharks possess is they can absorb sunlight temporarily and then re-emit a green glow! Scientists believe that this BIOFLUORESCENCE potentially functions in communication and assists camouflage.
HORN SHARK, STELLA
The horn shark gets its name from its short, blunt head with pronounced ridges over the eyes that look just like horns. While sleeker sharks rule the open waters, the horn shark hides out in the shadows of the seafloor. It is not a graceful swimmer and doesn't move around like its streamlined kin — in fact, sometimes the horn shark uses its strong pectoral fins to crawl along rocks.
Horn sharks, like Stella, lay spiral-shaped egg cases and wedge their eggs into rocky crevices to protect them from predators.