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25 Jul 2019 10:35:04
Grey Nurse Sharks are critically endangered along the east coast of Australia. Despite their rarity, there’s one fantastic way to see Grey Nurse Sharks in QLD.
SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium (formerly Underwater World) is the only place in Queensland where you can see Grey Nurse Sharks. We’re lucky enough to care for three Grey Nurse Sharks in our spectacular Ocean Tunnel! Meet Pallas, our cruisy lady shark. She loves to hover in the current, where it’s most relaxing. Patches is our cheekiest shark. He’s easy to spot because his jaw is a bit lazy. You’ll see him swimming around with his jaw open a little wider than the other sharks. And then there’s Huey, cool as a cucumber, watching life swim by. From our 80m long Ocean Tunnel, you can look up and see all our sharks swimming overhead!
Did you know Grey Nurse Sharks often have spots? Juveniles have the darkest spots, which can fade as they age. Scientists can use these distinct patterns to identify different individuals in the wild. Grey Nurses have a broad body, pointy snout, small eyes and lots of teeth! And while they might look fearsome, they’re often referred to as the ‘labradors of the sea,’ due to their gentle nature. With all those spots, ‘dalmatians of the sea’ might be a better title!
Rest assured, Grey Nurses don’t snack on people! These sharks are very relaxed and don’t pose a threat to humans. They like to hang out in the shallows where the bottom is sandy and adore a good underwater rock cave. These are the sorts of areas their favourite foods like to live; squid, rays, fish and crustaceans are on their menu. Despite their rows of scary-looking teeth, the way Grey Nurses feed is less ‘frenzy,’ more ‘zen.’
If you want to see their nocturnal behavior, why not book a Sleep Under the Sea and see what happens when the lights in the aquarium are turned off?
Feeding might be easy, but breeding is fraught with difficulty. Grey Nurse Sharks only breed every two years, which is one of the reasons their population is so small. No matter how many embryos are fertilised, only the two strongest juveniles survive to be born. Our Ocean Tunnel is a safe environment for these threatened sharks. That’s why we’re the perfect Aquarium to conduct a Grey Nurse Shark breeding program, to increase their numbers. It’s important work, and we love making a difference in this way. Plus, we get to sing the baby shark song. Baby Shark, do-do-do-do-do-do! Parents of young kids will agree, it’s the catchy song we love to hate!
Grey Nurses aren’t the only sharks at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium. We also care for different types of reef sharks – you won’t believe their size when you get up close. And, can you spot our Wobbegong Shark? He looks like he’s hiding under a rug. That’s because he’s otherwise known as a carpet shark, thanks to the mottled coat he wears as camouflage. In the wild, it’s so effective most predators swim right over the top of him. Here one minute, Wob-Be-GONE the next!
We’d love you to meet all our fascinating sharks here at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium, so come and ‘sea’ us soon!
If you would like to learn more about our sharks, please click below: