Joining up with Marcy over at Ben & Me for “Blogging through the Alphabet”.
Since our family has a general love and appreciation for all the animals the Lord has created…I am going to attempt to “Blog through the Alphabet” using animals. Here is what we have done so far:
A for Alpaca B for Bearded Dragon C for Crocodile D for Donkey E for Elephant Shrew F for Fennec Fox G for Grey Mouse Lemur H for Howler Monkey I for Indian Palm Squirrel J is for Jellyfish K is for Koala L is for Lionfish M is for Monitor Lizard
And now…N is for Nurse Shark…personally I have always loved sharks…always had a passion for them and have always been intrigued by them…so, let’s find out more about the nurse shark…
The scientific name Ginglymostoma cirratum is a mix of Greek and Latin that means “curled, hinged mouth” [to describe this shark’s somewhat puckered appearance].
The name “nurse shark” may come from the strange sucking sounds they make when searching for prey in the sand.
Nurse sharks are found in the warm, shallow waters of the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans. Unlike many sharks, this species is non-migratory—the nurse shark adapts to cold by becoming even less active.
Generally slow and sluggish, nurse sharks spend much of their time resting on the ocean’s bottom. Because this shark can pump water over its gills, it does not need to swim in order to breathe. If it must move, the nurse shark may even use its large front (or pectoral) fins to “walk” along the ocean floor.
The nurse shark has a flattened body and a broad, rounded head with two conspicuous barbels between the nostrils, which are used to help find food.
Female nurse sharks, averaging 7.5–9 feet in length and 165–230 pounds, are slightly larger than males.
They use their strong jaws to crush and eat shellfish and even coral, but prefer to dine on fish, shrimp, and squid.
Nurse sharks are easily identified by the small mouth located forward of the eyes and just under the broad snout. The mouth is bracketed by two sensory barbels. Most nurse sharks range in color from light to dark brown, though rare albino nurse sharks also exist. Young nurse sharks have little black spots along their backs. The ventral surface (belly) is a creamy white. The teeth are small but exceedingly sharp and, like the teeth of all sharks, are replaced by moving slowly forward as if they were on a conveyor belt. Older teeth slough off while the shark feeds and are replaced by sharper, slightly larger teeth.
Unlike most other sharks, nurses are smooth to the touch.
Nurse sharks reach maturity at 18 years for males, and 20–22 years for females. Females produce a litter of about 20–25 pups every other year. Gestation is six months. Once the female lays eggs she will be unable to do so again for 18 months.
Nurse sharks typically are born during the winter. They are about 1 foot in length at birth and grow 4 to 6 inches a year in length, less as they get larger.
They are, for the most part, harmless to humans.
I hope you have learned some fun things about the Nurse Shark! Come back next week to see what interesting facts we discuss about “O for Octopus”!
Here’s praying we all have fun learning!