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The Sand Shark

Family: Sand sharks.

To the family of Sand sharks belongs two main species of sea predators, they are:  Sand sharks and sandy tigers. They look very much alike, thats why only a specialist can tell one species from the other.

Zoologists still argue about Sand sharks belonging to any definite single order. The specialists opinions on this matter differ a lot. Some of them consider, that these sea predators belong to the order of Carchariidae , while the others insist on their belonging to Lamniformes. Thats why we offer to your attention two different descriptions of these sharks where the both of them are right.

The genus of Carchariidae includes three main species of predators: Blue nurse shark, Grey nurse and the Sand tiger shark.

All these sea predators are huge in size and inhabit warm and moderate waters of the World Ocean. You can see them not only in the open ocean, but in the inshore areas as well.

The Sand shark has quite an odd and distinctive appearance for its order: there is a small bulge before its dorsal fin, which looks very much as a hump.

The Sand shark has a rather long head with very sharp and flattened nose and eyes lacking eyelids, so that the sharks eyes are constantly open. This fact indicates the sharks kinship with the family of Lamnidae, commonly known as White sharks. The Sand sharks mouth reminds of a huge hook and it is always open. Thus, it is noticeable, that the predators teeth are very sharp and a bit crooked.

In spite of the fact, that these sea predators are endowed with an awesome appearance, they are considered to be rather nice and inoffensive. The Sand shark never attacks humans unprovokedly.

However, the Sand shark is considered to be a true man-eater in the coastal areas of Southern Africa. Only in this area, the Sand sharks persistently attack surfers and divers and not only inflict severe injuries on them, but often take their lives.

The statistics indicate that the Sand sharks inhabiting the region of Southern Africa are more aggressive and bloodthirsty towards people, than, for instance, the Sand sharks in the waters of America. While catching and cleaning of a shark in Southern Africa, people often find domestic utensils, animals and different parts of human bodies inside its stomach.

There are also frequent occasions of the Sand sharks attacks on people in Australian coastal area. In Russia there are no occasions of the Sand sharks attacks recorded, therefore our resorts are known to be safe from the assaults of the predator.

The whole genus of Sand sharks can be divided into two main types of predators, they are: the False catshark and the Bigeye thresher. The False catshark has tiny and incredibly sharp teeth, and the Bigeye thresher has distinctively wide eyes.

The tiny-teethed predator inhabits nearly all warm waters of the World Ocean. You can find them both at depth of eight hundred meters and almost at surface. This shark attacks people randomly and is considered to be inoffensive.

The False catshark is a rare and disappearing species. It lives at any of the World Oceans waters, except the Arctic Ocean. This wide-eyed shark has an unusual brown color and a penetrating green glance of its huge eyes. Often it remains at deep waters. This sea predators length often exceeds three meters, but, there is nothing to be afraid of. As it has already been mentioned, the shark inhabits deep depths and an opportunity to meet it can hardly be imagined. There are no recorded incidents of the False catsharks attacks on people up to date.

As we are describing all existing species of Sand sharks, we should necessarily mention a member of Pseudocarchariidae order as well. The Crocodile shark is one of its species. The name was given to it due to the loud snapping of its jaws when being captured, which reminds of a crocodile a lot.   

The Crocodile shark is relatively small and it rarely exceeds one-meter length. This shark prefers to settle at warm waters of the World Ocean and it leaves the depth of six hundred meters quite seldom. In water, this fish is absolutely inoffensive, but being meshed, it can cause humans severe injuries.

All predators that have been described above have an identical organization of bodies, fins and even teeth. These sharks dont have eyelids and they are viviparous. The Sand sharks are also famous for eating each other inside mothers uteri. Only the strongest embryos come into the world.

The changing force of buoyancy is another interesting Sand sharks ability. These sharks dont have an airbladder, therefore they swallow a large amount of air in order to manage floating. Underwater the sea predators move very slowly and even lazily. Nevertheless, just as a shark is being captured and taken onto a sea-craft, the air starts coming out of its stomach with a loud and annoying sound.

Newborn Sand sharks are surprisingly large-scale in comparison to other sharks. But due to their peaceful behavior and small size of a grown fish, people often take them to seaquariums. The practice shows that small Sand sharks are easy to train. You can even feed them from your hands.

Though the Sand sharks are known for their inoffensiveness, people shouldnt relax their vigilance, because any shark is a predator by its nature. Being inaccurately interrupted while hunting, a Sand shark may attack a human and injure him. Even the commonly inoffensive Nurse shark may attack a human if he disturbs it.

Unfortunately, the Sand shark has nearly expunged from the face of the earth to the date. Their mildness and complaisance towards people have led to unrestrained slaughter of their species. Sometimes people kill Sand sharks just for the sake of fun.

The Sand sharks are of a little commercial interest to people. Humans fish them out in order to bring sharks to seaquariums. If a shark dies, its teeth, being a perfect material, are usually used in handicrafts. The Sand sharks are very popular among visitors of seaquariums due to their dismaying exterior. 

The sea predators meat is quite popular and its fins are a true delicacy used for the preparation of the famous shark fin soup.

These facts indicate that the Sand sharks should be listed in the Red Data Book. 

***

We have prepared descriptions of several species, which are considered to be the most famous orders of Sand sharks known to us today.

Sand tiger shark.

This sea predator dwells coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, American coastal waters, especially near the Gulf of Maine and Brazil, and African waters near the Canary Islands. Sand tiger sharks inhabit both coastal areas of the western side of Atlantic and the high seas in this region. It is noticeable, that this type of sharks has different names in various parts of the world. In Australia it is the Sand shark, in Africa people call it the Sand tiger and in the USA it is the Sand tiger shark.

This sea predator has a large body and enormously huge and sharp teeth. The whole exterior of the fish is very much aggressive and scary.

Its head is placed low and there is a small hill on its back, therefore the shark looks a little hunchbacked, which makes its exterior still more dangerous. All other sharks have to bend their bodies in a special manner to show their readiness to assault. The Sand tiger shark has an innate pose of hunter.
 
It may sound incredible, but despite its aggressive and fearsome appearance, the Sand tiger shark is a peaceful sea predator, which never assaults humans on its own initiative.

The Sand tiger sharks color with different tints of brown is also notable. There are some large yellowish patches on its sides, which make the predator distinguishing among other deep-sea dwellers.

The Sand tiger is a night hunter living alone or gathering in groups. In groups they are often observed near sandy reefs.

The Sand tiger shark is an active hunter. Its daily ration usually includes shellfish, squid and even sharks of a smaller size. At daylight the shark becomes very lazy and prefers to stay at the bottom, no matter what the depth is.

The Sand tiger shark is viviparous and after a long pregnancy it gives birth to one or two young, but independent species.

It is especially interesting about the Sand tiger sharks pregnancy, that just as the embryos reach five or six centimeters in length, they start to eat their siblings inside the mothers uteri. It almost unbelievable, but after fecundation the female shark may have nearly 24 thousands of embryos inside its uteri. All of them are arranged at separate capsules near the sharks fundament and there are about twenty little pups at each of the capsules. When a little sharks pup reaches 17 centimeters in length it becomes almost identical to its parents. This little intrauterine shark is provided with strong sharp-pointed teeth and a similar digestive system.

Specialists observed pregnant female sharks for a long time and they finally came to a conclusion, that an intrauterine sharks pup of twenty centimeters long could freely move along the amniotic fluid.

To the end of pregnancy there are about twenty little sharks inside the mothers uteri and among them there is always the strongest and most aggressive one which eats the weakest of the rest. This process is called intrauterine cannibalism and is typical of all orders of sharks. After eight or nine months of pregnancy, a shark gives birth to one or two one-meter long sharks.

Adult sea predators reach 4,5 meters at length, but more often they dont exceed 3 meters.

The Sand tiger shark is rather calm and never attacks humans being unprovoked. Usually these predators hunt alone, and you can seldom observe them gathering in hunting groups.

The sole place on Earth where the Sand tiger shark is really dangerous and aggressive is the coastal areas of Southern Africa. The first recorded assault is dated by 1961. The sharks victim was a scuba diver with a ten-year experience. The shark captured the divers arm during its assault on him, but the young man managed to release its jaws and freed himself. People had commonly considered this shark to be an inoffensive sea hunter until the incident took place.

***

Grey nurse shark.

The Grey nurse shark is well known for being one of the most aggressive and dangerous sea hunters all over the World Ocean. An adult species comprises almost five meters at length. The shark has several rows of teeth which can tear a victim to pieces in few seconds.

This shark doesnt have any visible differences from the Sand tiger shark. The sole exception is the Grey nurse sharks bigger size.

A great many occasions of the hunters assaults on people are recorded up to the date. This shark not only injures people, it even takes human lives.

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