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09 Jul 2019 12:03:11
Thanks to hyped-up media coverage, many people are terrified of sharks. In reality, sharks are beautiful and intriguing creatures who deserve to be better understood. To prove our point, here are some specifics about our incredible sharks.
These beautiful sea creatures are also known as Carpet Sharks because they hang out on the ocean floor where they’re incredibly camouflaged on the sand. Unlike other species, Wobbegongs don’t need to move to breathe; they breathe by letting water in their mouth and forcing it to their gills with their superstrong cheek muscles. When they do move, they use their bottom fins, which makes them look as if they’re ‘walking’ along the floor. These nocturnal day sleepers get their hunt on at night and rely on their barbels (or beard) to feel their way around as their eyesight isn’t up to scratch. ‘Wobbies,’ as they’re affectionately called, like to take it easy; you could say they’re the couch potatoes of the shark family.
As one of the most populous sharks in the Indo-Pacific, you’ll recognise these beauties by their white fin tip, white belly, grey-brown body and blunt snout. These sharks cut a slender shape; growing up to 1.7 metres long; as sleek swimmers, their tough skin is perfectly suited to the coral environments they hang out in. Able to stay still on the seafloor and pass water over their gills, when they are in motion, they’re easy to identify by their irregular, waving way of swimming. Their large, oval eyes and robust chemosensory and electroreceptor systems help them find prey in the dark; helpful when you’re nocturnal! Whitetips are social, and prefer to spend time in large groups, which is why scuba divers often say they look like log piles!
The introverts of the shark family, these guys are shy and easily frightened; it’s hard to get close to these beauties. On top of this, they also love their home, with one of the smallest territorial spaces of any shark species. Easily identified by their black tipped fins, these sea creatures also sport a white band on their dorsal fin and a light streak down either side.
These sharks can look quite imposing, growing up to 3.2 metres long and boasting a mouth full of sharp teeth that stick out even with their mouth shut. These are the only sharks that need to surface to take in air to regulate their buoyancy. Because of their sizeable set of teeth, these beauties can hunt and eat prey that’s nearly half their size! Hanging out in rocks and caves during the day, Grey Nurses emerge at night to hunt, and like to choose from a wide range of fare including fish, crabs, lobsters, rays, squid and even other sharks! Incredibly, when these sharks are pregnant, the largest pup in-utero eats the other eggs to help it gather strength and size before it’s born.
The best way to debunk your misconceptions about sharks is to come and spend time with them at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Get up close to our Grey Nurse, Wobbegong, and Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks to familiarise yourself with these beautiful creatures. And if you feel comfortable enough, take the plunge with our Shark Dive Xtreme experience; go underwater with our sharks, fish, stingrays and more to see their splendour for yourself.
Sharks suffer from a lousy reputation; in reality, these beauties are lovely, clever, and an integral part of our ocean ecosystem.