Nurse Shark

The nurse shark is a large and very sluggish shark that lives on the bottom of the ocean.

Usually Nurse Sharks are harmless, unless they are provoked to anger.

Nurse sharks have extremely strong jaws and a very wide head with barbells protruding from it. (A barbell is a whisker looking protrusion that is made of flesh.)

Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark

Behind each of the nurse sharks eyes there is an organ that is called a spiracle that takes in water when the shark rests at the bottom.

The skin is dark greyish brown on the top and some nurse sharks have spots.
They are smoother skinned than most other sharks.

Nurse sharks are nocturnal, and rest during the daytime in small groups.
They seem to respond very well to captivity.

How the nurse shark was given its name is uncertain, however they do make a sucking sound that is reminiscent of a nursing baby.

Nurse sharks can range in lengths from about two feet up to 12 feet, with the largest found about 14 feet.

Nurse sharks have literally thousands of teech which are fan shaped and are used to crush shellfish.

They teeth are arranged in symmetrical rows that rotate into position if a new one is needed.

They eat bottom fish, shrimp, octopus, sea snails and lobster, as well as sea urchins.
Most of their hunting is done at night, and during the day they congregate into schools sometimes piling together on the bottom.

Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark

They live in very warm water, and are what is called a shallow shark. They generally don’t go deeper than about 200 feet.

The nurse shark will reproduce by letting her eggs develop inside her body after being fertilized and hatch inside her.

Her litter has about 20 or 30 young sharks, called pups that are mirror images of the adult nurse shark in every way.

They are not mature enough to mate until about 15 or 16 years old.

Nurse sharks do not migrate as many others do. When the weather grows cooler they decrease their activity, but stay in the cooler waters.


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