So these three species present no threat to humans. Commonly the nurse shark returns to the same location to rest during the day. But they “have very strong jaws filled with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth, and will bite defensively if stepped on or bothered by divers who assume they’re docile.” Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. The only time an Angel Shark has been known to attack is when they’ve been stepped on. Nurse sharks that live near marinas are fed by local fisherman and have grown accustomed to … These bottom dwellers many swim along the ocean floor hunting crabs and small fish. During the day they are going to be virtually inactive. Nevertheless, lightning strikes kill more people in the United States than sharks. The barbell structures on the face of the nurse shark are what help it to detect prey items as it moves along the ocean floor. One of the more distinctive features of the nurse shark is the tail fin, an elongated and pointed fin that can grow to be as much as 1/4 the total body length of the shark. Between their smaller size and non-aggressive temperaments, these sharks pose no threat to humans. Usually when they encounter a human they will swim away, rather than investigate. Though there are many myths about sharks being violent predators hunting and eating humans, the reality is most sharks do not ever attack humans. Though impressive hunters, Bamboo Sharks have never attacked humans. The ability of this shark species to endure captivity has led to the sale of juvenile nurse sharks in the saltwater aquarium trade. It is not uncommon to see cannibalistic behavior in the nurse shark even in the womb as the stronger of the pups vie to compete for food against other siblings. A newborn nurse shark measures in at approximately 12 inches long. But provocation may lead to a sharp bite. Unlike migrating shark species however, the nurse shark copes with dips in water temperature in a different way. So considering how many opportunities they have to attack humans, Leopard Sharks present zero threat to people. The natural territory of these sharks is the Western Atlantic Ocean running from Rhode Island down to South Brazil and the Eastern Atlantic from Cameron to Gabon. Being slow-moving dwellers at the bottom of the oceans, nurse sharks are also harmless to humans. The conservation status of the nurse shark is globally assessed as being data deficient in- the IUCN List of Threatened Species owing to the lack of information across its range in the eastern Pacific Ocean and eastern Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Thomas Males. This system of replaceable teeth ensures that the nurse shark does not starve due to tooth loss which is a common occurrence even for a shark that prefers to feed on smaller fish and crustaceans. Nurse sharks are officially capable of reproduction at some point between the ages of 15 to 20 years old and much like with humans, this age varies from individual to individual. Also they prefer extremely cold and deep waters, so humans very rarely encounter them in the wild. Amy Brannan The ability of this shark species to endure captivity has led to the sale of juvenile nurse sharks in the saltwater aquarium trade. The dorsal fins of the nurse shark are nowhere near as large as the tail fins but the two dorsal fins that can be seen on the back of the shark are approximately the same size. Have you ever seen or swam with a nurse shark? Nurse shark attacks are uncommon, but they’re certainly not unheard-of—and humans are usually to blame. Many people believe that all sharks species are a huge threat to people. This doesn’t affect rankings. Measuring between 11 and 21 feet, it can propel itself at over 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour). Though they are ferocious predators, they mainly just hang out along the bottom of the ocean in shallow waters and wait for prey. They are a long lived, late maturing species with a very low reproductive rate (maximum of 2 pups every 2 years). Each tooth is built-in a fan-shaped structure with a number of serrated ridges. (For licensing or usage, contact email@example.com) My husband and are in the Caribbean on our honeymoon. While most sharks have a rough texture similar to sandpaper, the skin of the nurse shark is much more like that of the dolphin and has a smooth texture to it. There have been reports of Greenland Sharks attacking kayaks, but there are no known attacks on humans. In fact, Whale Sharks have been known to not only be tolerant of divers, but some will even interact and play with humans. Nurse sharks are easily identified by the small mouth located forward of the eyes and just under the broad snout. Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Family name: Ginglymostomatidae (nurse sharks) Order name: Orectolobiformes (carpet sharks) Sub-order: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) Common name: Tawny nurse shark Scientific name:Nebrius ferrugineus This unassuming shark is the only surviving member of carpet sharks in the family Ginglymostomatidae. Aplacental viviparity refers to a process where eggs develop inside the female of the species after fertilization. Nurse sharks are a bottom dwelling species of shark that humans often don’t give a second thought. Nurse Shark One of the better known species of shark, nurse sharks are usually the first species that comes to mind when people think of non-aggressive sharks. Model swims NAKED with sharks to prove the creatures are not dangerous to humans Warning: Graphic content. As mentioned before the nurse shark prefers to swim along the bottom of tropical and subtropical waters. They have been observed be protective and show displays of dominance around humans who are spearfishing underwater, but these have never lead to an attack. … Releasing a captive bred nurse shark in to the wild is another solution that many aquarium hobbyists turn to but it is one that generally results in the death of the shark in question. So while the nurse shark may not yet be an endangered species, it is our responsibility to ensure that overfishing and fear of these creatures does not lead to its eradication. The downside is that the nurse shark's small mouth is attached to a large pharynx that enables it to suck up food and latch onto it. Our review process. No, they are not an aggressive species. Nurse Shark One of the better known species of shark, nurse sharks are usually the first species that comes to mind when people think of non-aggressive sharks. Though there are sharks like Tiger Sharks, Bull Sharks, and Great White Sharks that tend to be more aggressive toward humans, even these sharks do not really present much of a threat. Unlike some other oceanic creatures, the nurse shark is able to remain stationary and continue to breathe underwater by sucking water in through the mouth and releasing it out of their gills. To sustain this free service, we receive affiliate commissions via some of our links. Most nurse sharks range in color from light to dark brown, though rare albino nurse sharks also exist. A human fear of sharks is not without reason, but it just so happens that nurse sharks are laid-back and mostly harmless. Though the nurse shark is generally considered not dangerous to humans, it can still bite and its grip is so tight that in some cases surgical instruments have been needed to remove it. They only attack when provoked or when they mistake you for a seal or prey. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. Of all 375 shark species, only about 12 are considered potentially dangerous to humans. Where many species of shark are fished intentionally, there is not a particularly wide trade for commercially fishing the nurse shark. The nurse shark is something of a large shark and while they more commonly grow to be anywhere from 7 1/2 feet to 9 3/4 feet long, some individuals in the species have been seen as large as 14 feet long. In the wild, Thresher Sharks are extremely shy around humans, preferring to steer clear of them. Nurse Sharks are a great shark for new divers and snorkelers to swim with because they present no threat to humans. Even then, there’s only been 5 Nurse Shark attacks and all have been non-fatal. Nurse Shark Description. Though Whale Sharks are the largest shark in the ocean, Whale Sharks present no threat to humans. “Nurse sharks have smoother skin than most sharks. As mentioned before the body length of these sharks can range from 7.5 to as long as 14 feet long making those long tail fins anywhere from 1.9 feet to 3.5 feet long! The nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, on the other hand, can be quite the asshole if threatened. Basking Sharks, like Whale Sharks are another incredibly large filter feeder. but I am sure that you are not aware of the different types of sharks and how dangerous they can be. When salted the flesh of the nurse shark is consumed and the liver of the shark is used for the oil that it produces. This harmless shark species can grow as big as 14 feet with strong jaws filled with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth. With its 300 sharp teeth, the great white has the most powerful bite of the animal world - 18,000 Newtons (1,835 kilograms force). Even though they are ferocious predators, there have been extremely few cases of Nurse Sharks ever attacking humans and even when they did, it was when they were directly antagonized and provoked. In many cases these unprovoked attacks have elements that could explain the attack as being self-defense since often they take place at diving sites where sharks may see foreign invaders as a threat. Nurse sharks are a grayish brown color and their skin texture is somewhat unique for a shark. To date, there are no documented cases of a Goblin Shark ever attacking a human. There are a number of problems that occur when this species is kept in a personal saltwater aquarium however, the largest of which being the size of the shark once it has matured. Selling a nurse shark poses difficulty in that there are few saltwater aquarium owners who have the resources to take on such a large shark. Reproduction in the nurse shark is a particularly interesting process and is referred to by biologists as aplacental viviparity. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Otherwise, even though they are incredibly prolific, they are not aggressive. Watch this minute and a half video to see the nurse sharks in action. So why is the nurse shark called a nurse shark? Updated: March 15, 2016 Fish Sand tiger sharks, Carcharias taurus, also known as grey nurse shark, spotted ragged tooth shark, or blue-nurse sand tiger, are generally not a threat to humans. In addition, the nurse shark can be found in the Eastern Pacific from Southern Baja California to Peru and in the islands of the Caribbean. Thresher Sharks are impressive hunters. North American nurse sharks have been known to be rather irritable and can deliver a nasty bite when annoyed. Even then, there’s only been 5 Nurse Shark attacks and all have been non-fatal. Sign Up for More Earth-Friendly Tips and Advice! As the eggs develop within the female nurse shark they eventually hatch and the mother gives birth to small live nurse sharks. Young nurse sharks have little black spots along their backs. More common than not, humans are to be blamed for nurse shark attacks; which are not a common occurrence. actually, u should be more hapy than worried to see sharks cos they are very rare. While adult nurse sharks can be found in depths of up to 250 feet, juvenile nurse sharks, like this growing guy, tend to stick to shallower water, frequently keeping themselves hidden in … Biology. The scientific name for the nurse shark is Ginglymostoma cirratum, placing it within the Ginglymostomatidae family of sharks. YouTube is loaded with videos of scuba … They have powerful retractable jaws, lined with sharp teeth, that jut out and quickly snag their prey. Information About Sharks, For Shark Lovers, Sharks Of The World Have Added Some Strange Items To Their Diet, Blue Shark Facts That Will Not Make You Blue, 5 Interesting Locations That Different Types Of Sharks Have Been Found. There has never been an account of a Basking Shark attacking a human, and because of their passive attitude, they also make a great swimming partner for divers. Fortunately, even in the rare instances when a nurse shark does attack a human -- so far, 52 times, with no recorded fatalities -- the bite isn't powerful enough to be lethal [source: International Shark Attack File]. Nurse shark behavior differs, depending on where in the world they are. Image Source: Wikimedia. Even though they are ferocious predators, there have been extremely few cases of Nurse Sharks ever attacking humans and even when they did, it was when they were directly antagonized and provoked. In fact, even in cases with aggressive sharks like Bull Sharks, Tiger Sharks, and Great White Sharks, who have the most documented attacks on humans, most sharks only attack humans out of either curiosity or because they feel directly threatened. Nurse sharks have particularly strong hinged jaws which contain thousands of small serrated teeth and they will not hesitate to bite humans in an attempt to defend themselves when threatened. They use both their long tails to beat and whip their prey and their shark teeth and powerful jaws to take them down. The thing that swimers and divers should notice is that nurse sharks … The only times they have ever attacked humans is when they have been directly antagonized and are protecting themselves. So to help dispel the myth that all sharks are bloodthirsty, human hunting predators, we have compiled a list of the 10 least dangerous sharks. Grey nurse sharks form aggregations, generally in sand … Nurse sharks are typically harmless to humans. They are also one of the most social sharks of the ocean and tend to spend time in groups just lounging on the ocean floor. Copyright © 2020 Welcome To SharkSider.com!. The jaws are particularly powerful and in an undisturbed habitat they are utilized to crush shellfish and coral and shred squid, shrimp and fish. Nurse Sharks are a wonderful, docile species that are nicknamed the “couch potatoes of the ocean.” They are a favorite shark among divers to swim and snorkel with because you can get up close to them and still be very safe. The nurse shark pups resemble the fully grown nurse sharks with the exception of, of course, their size. One can go near a resting individual without much fear. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Shark belongs to that species which prey on other fishes and human, and they have been rated deadly predators among fishes. The teeth are arranged in rows and as one tooth breaks or is lost during a struggle, a fight or during feeding, another of the teeth rotates in to take its place. While there are many species of sharks that thrive in our oceans, each have different hunting and feeding habits that keep other marine life populations in check. The family name Ginglymostomatidae is of Greek origin and also characterizes these sharks as having a hinge-like mouth with “gynglimos” meaning hinge and “stoma” meaning mouth. Let’s learn about them. They hunt alone at night but return to the same comfortable resting place during the day where they enjoy dozing in piles. Like any other animal that is raised in captivity, nurse sharks are unable to adapt to life in the wild because of a lack of the skills demanded to survive. These dorsal fins are much more rounded than they are in other species of shark and this fact along with the length of the tail fin can help significantly in shark species identification. Those who live in areas where the nurse shark inhabits the waters are generally familiar and on the lookout for the species but for those unfamiliar with the shark accidental interactions are more likely. They are bottom dwelling, slow moving, and mainly hunt smaller food. Where many other sharks possess a sandpaper like texture to their skin, the smooth texture of the nurse shark gives it a leather like quality that is utilized in the textiles industry. Nurse sharks are one species of shark that tend to be able to thrive in a commercial aquarium setting where many other shark species have been noted for their inability to thrive in captivity. A nurse shark can be dangerous if you try to catch it with bare hands. Ginglymostomatidae sharks are found most commonly in tropical and subtropical waters due to their preference for warmer waters, and more often than not they are found in shallower areas of the ocean. The grey nurse shark, Carcharias taurus, also called the your dad or ragged-tooth shark, is an elasmobranch and belongs to the odontaspididae (ragged-tooth) shark family.It can easily be recognized by its characteristic conical snout and under hung jaw. Since most hunting is done at night, the nurse shark feels along the bottom of the ocean floor for prey items and attacks them with its thousands of serrated teeth when an item is located. What is very interesting about Nurse Sharks is that they are nocturnal so they are active at night. Nurse Sharks are a wonderful, docile species that are nicknamed the “couch potatoes of the ocean.” They are a favorite shark among divers to swim and snorkel with because you can get up close to them and still be very safe. These beautiful, docile creatures are not dangerous at all. As the waters become colder, the nurse shark simply becomes less active requiring less energy to function. There are many people who understand the importance of any animal species to the ecosystem in which it lives, but for those who have a fear of sharks the question of the importance of these creatures is often raised. Grey nurse sharks also had a bad reputation as being dangerous due to their fierce-looking appearance, but they are actually quite a timid animal and have often been described as a ‘labrador of the sea’. When you see them active during the day there are threats around them or they are struggling to find enough food for survival. Nurse sharks are “for the most part, harmless to humans,” according to National Geographic. The nurse shark can weigh in at anywhere from 200 to 330 pounds which puts an awful lot of power behind those serrated jaws if they should lock on in a defensive bite. All sharks are actually very friendly and do not attack humans. The average nurse shark mother gives birth to around 20 to 30 pups in a single birthing session. Not only does the fully grown shark require an extremely large tank but it also requires a significant amount of food to remain healthy. This docile behavior is made possible through the ability of the nurse shark to breathe through its mouth and out of its gills. Underwater model Irina Britanova, 27, tailed tawny nurse sharks … They also live in large groups that can have up to 40 members. Greenland Sharks are a variety of Sleeper Shark, so they also swim at a very slow pace of 0.76 mph (0.3 m/s). Whale Sharks are filter feeders, so like Whales they just eat zooplankton. However, even though these are an aggressive species of shark, there have only been 5 total Thresher Shark attacks on humans, all have been provoked, and four happened when a Thresher Shark was brought aboard a boat. What happens in most cases is that a saltwater aquarium keeper will purchase a juvenile nurse shark and when it becomes too large for its tank will attempt to sell, donate or release the shark in the wild. When it comes to feeding, the nurse shark is limited by the size of its mouth and as such it cannot take in large prey items due to the risk of them becoming lodged in the mouth. Were the nurse shark species to become extinct the smaller marine life that these sharks feed upon would soon begin to grow out of control and put other species in danger as they succumbed to large populations of these creatures. The Ginglymostomatidae family of sharks are characterized for their habit of living and feeding on the bottom of the ocean floor, hence the term “carpet sharks.” Sharks within this family are recognized not only for their bottom dwelling habits but also for their sluggish and docile nature. Be warned though, they grow to be huge. The nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, on the other hand, can be quite the asshole if threatened. The nurse shark is something of a large shark and while they more commonly grow to be anywhere from 7 1/2 feet to 9 3/4 feet long, some individuals in the species have been seen as large as 14 feet long. As many as 40 nurse sharks have been noted in particular resting locations at any one time, piled on top of each other. However, not only are they not a particularly aggressive shark, they hunt in very deep ocean waters at a minimum of 330 ft (100 m) so very few humans ever encounter them in the wild. The individual tooth structure of the nurse shark is particularly interesting but also particularly damaging. The Nurse Shark. There are multiple theories that abound in reference to how this shark species got its name, the most favored of which is that it is derived from the old English word “hurse” which translates to “sea-floor shark.” Others believe that the name derives from the Archaic word “nusse” which translates to mean “cat shark.” The third theory states that the nurse shark got its name from the sucking sound that it makes when hunting prey, a sound that is likened to that of a nursing baby. These sharks are used to being fed on a daily basis by humans. Even though they are a lamniformes shark, so they are related to and often are mistaken for Great White Sharks, their temperament could not be any different from their predatory cousins. They also tend to avoid larger animals like humans. They are considered to be a species of least concern in the United States and in The Bahamas, but considered to be near threatened in the western Atlantic Ocean because of their vuln… Captive bred nurse sharks are not given the opportunity to learn how to hunt for themselves, nor are they able to distinguish natural predators or other naturally occurring threats to their existence in the ocean. It feels like sandpaper.” Sometimes called the couch potatoes of the sea, nurse sharks are large, peaceful fish that slowly drift along the bottom of the ocean in shallow water, sucking up food as they go. Nurse Sharks are a great shark for new divers and snorkelers to swim with because they present no threat to humans. With that said however, the nurse shark is easily fished due to its slow movement and often becomes the target of local fishermen. Attacks: 64 Fatalities: 2 Many people are familiar with the sand tiger (Carcharias taurus) as the large sharks you see when visiting an aquarium.They go by a number of names including grey nurse shark, ragged-tooth shark and blue-nurse sand tiger and are found in warm waters around the world. Younger nurse sharks often can be recognized from small spots on their skin. These small sharks measure around 48 in (121 cm) in length. Goblin Sharks are one of the scariest looking sharks in the ocean. Image Source: Wikimedia. In some cases the nurse shark can grow to an amazing 14 feet in length and it is not common for a saltwater aquarium keeper to have a tank that is capable of holding a shark of this length. The nurse shark won’t hesitate to give a defensive bite though and at as long as 14 feet they can leave a significant wound behind. Sand tiger sharks, Carcharias taurus, also known as grey nurse shark, spotted ragged tooth shark, or blue-nurse sand tiger, are generally not a threat to humans. The long and short of it is that unless you have a commercial sized aquarium and a budget large enough to keep a nurse shark fed healthily through its potentially 25 year long captive lifespan, this is not the “pet” for you. Model swims NAKED with sharks to prove the creatures are not dangerous to humans Warning: Graphic content. So they do not hunt and kill prey the way some other species of sharks do. Like these ten sharks, the vast majority of shark species are not a direct threat to humans. Most commonly the nurse shark, due to its nature as a bottom dweller, is pushed to defending itself when it is stepped upon in shallow waters. Written by Smrutica Jithendranath - Marine Biologist, Reethi Faru Resort, the Maldives.
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