If Looks Could Kill: Meet The Cute Baby Sharks That Will 'Walk' On Land
An Australian aquarium has announced the birth of four adorable baby Epaulette Sharks, also known as “the walking shark”.
Currently only 10cm long and small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, these sharks will grow to about one metre in length and are known to live in the shallow waters along the north, east and west Coasts of Australia, Papua and Indonesia.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has added these unique marine creature to its collection of more than 700 species.
The Epaulette Shark is not only a perfectly capable swimmer, but they can also use their fins to “walk” along the seafloor, and even on land when needed.
The environments that Epaulette sharks inhabit are complex, shallow, obstacle-filled coral reef systems.
In order to successfully navigate the cracks and crevices of this habitat while pursuing their prey (including crustaceans, worms, and small fish), these sharks evolved the ability to walk along the seafloor using an undulating, crawling motion.
“Epaulette Sharks are really unique - while they can swim, a lot of their movement is accomplished by “walking” with the use of several of its fins, it’s got a really unique style which helps them to navigate the intricacies of coral reefs and to hunt for food," Shark Expert at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Rob Townsend said.
“When these little guys and girls grow to a larger size, they’ll be likely to move into the Day and Night on the Reef and Dugong Island exhibits here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium,” he said.
Not a threat to humans, Epaulette Sharks feed mainly on worms and crabs, while shrimps and small fish are eaten to a lesser degree. They are very docile sharks and waders and divers can get very close without risk of injury.
They are largely nocturnal and are most active in shallow water when they can crawl between isolated tidal pools.
The name of this shark comes from the very large, white-margined black spot behind each pectoral fin, which are reminiscent of military epaulettes
The shark breed has a stable population and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this species as of "Least Concern", as outside of the small aquarium trade it is of little interest to fisheries.