Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)
Three cool facts about Nurse Sharks!
- Most fish and sharks need to keep moving to breathe. But Nurse sharks can pump water through their mouth and out their gills and remain still on the ocean floor!
- They have small mouths and can’t devour large fish so they typically suck their prey from the sea floor! They will make a unique slurping sound when sucking their prey into their mouths. So tell THAT to your mom the next time she lectures you at dinner for slurping your soup! 😀
- Nurse sharks can be up to 14 feet long and 330 pounds!!
I have been lucky enough to encounter nurse sharks in a few different countries. These photos are from Beqa Lagoon in Fiji; Cozumel, Mexico; and Jupiter, Florida. The nurse sharks we encountered in Fiji and in Florida were the results of specific shark dives where the waters were chummed. In Cozumel, Mexico, however, we encountered many nurse sharks in their natural habitat. My favorite experience was coming across nurse sharks feeding by using their special mouths to suck small animals, octopus, or crustaceans out of the rocky sea floor! It was quite a sight to see these large animals tail up digging around the rocks, while lazy groupers waited patiently for scraps!