Coral World Releases Four of Their Sharks
We recently released two lemon and two nurse sharks as part of the Head Start Program here at Coral World Ocean Park. Just like any newborn, baby sharks are susceptible to predators out in the wild. Our Head Start Program houses juvenile sharks in our Shark Shallows exhibit which provides a safe living environment for them to grow and mature. After about two years the sharks are tagged released back into the ocean.
The lemon sharks get their name from their lemony-yellow coloration of their skin. But this is just one characteristic that makes these sharks so unique. Most sharks have pointed snouts, while Lemon Sharks have very rounded snouts. Another difference is on the dorsal fins (the fins on the shark’s back). On most sharks the first dorsal fin is significantly larger than the second one. On the Lemon Shark both of their dorsal fins are approximately the same size. To compensate for their flatter faces, the second dorsal fin acts like a second tail. It is used for greater acceleration through the water.
Nurse sharks are nocturnal, meaning they are more active at night. During the day, they are usually found in caves or resting under ledges. At night, they hunt. These bottom-dwellers spend most of their life on the bottom of the ocean, finding food such as lobster, squid and conch shells. To locate a food source, they use two long skin protrusions called barbels, attached to the end of their snout. Barbels act as sensitive tongues and search the ocean floor to find food. Once found, they place their large, thick lips over the opening and create a suction using their powerful throat muscles to suck out and consume their food.
With the Head Start program at Coral World, we are able to give newborn sharks a better chance of survival. In the last 20 years, we have lost about 90% of the world’s shark population. It is important that we all do our part. For more on sharks look at our other shark blogs.