Zebra Sharks | SHARK ACADEMY

Zebra Sharks | SHARK ACADEMY

January 6, 2020 71 By Kody Olson


Is it a Zebra or a Leopard? Wait, don’t Leopards eat Zebras? I’m confused, and this is Shark Academy! If a whale shark shrank down to normal shark
size and then mated with a Nurse shark, the offspring would probably look like this: the
Zebra shark. The Zebra shark has 5 ridges running down
the length of its body, and a bunch of spots, like a whale shark. But it definitely has the face and habits
of a Nurse shark, spending most of its time resting on the bottom. Because of the Leopard-like spots, the Zebra
shark is sometimes called a Leopard shark. It certainly looks more like a Leopard than
a Zebra, so what gives? It turns out that in the juvenile phase the
Zebra shark has definite Zebra stripes! As it gets older, the stripes fade to spots. Like a nurse shark, the Zebra shark has a
small mouth with powerful muscles, that allow it to create very strong suction. It uses the suction to feed primarily on shelled
mollusks, like whelks and conchs, by sucking them right out of their shell. At first glace, a Zebra shark may appear to
have only 4 gill slits. Since there is no such thing as a 4 gilled
shark, you have to look closer. The last two gill slits are actually so close
together that you can barely tell they aren’t a single gill slit. This shark has a really long, flexible tail. This is not a tail designed for speed. My guess is that the long tail allows the
shark to swim backwards and wiggle out of the holes and crevices in the reef where it
hunts. The Zebra shark is totally docile and not
dangerous to people. Most of the time, they are terrified of divers
and swim away when we get close. If you love sharks, check out our other exciting
Shark Academy episodes! Join my adventures exploring the underwater
world at BlueWorldTV, and don’t forget to subscribe!!