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9 facts about ragged-tooth sharks

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, recently reopened their renovated shark exhibit with the introduction of nine beautiful ragged-tooth sharks – also known as ‘raggies’.

These ragged-tooth sharks (Carcharias taurus) will act as ambassadors for their species and will remain at the aquarium for up to six years after which they will be tagged and released back into the ocean.

“I am really excited about having some impressive-looking ragged-tooth sharks back, not just because they contribute to a beautiful and somewhat dramatic display with a strong ocean conservation message, but because we can also continue with our shark research. Once again we will showcase our ability to combine art and science to tell remarkable underwater stories,” said Maryke Musson, Curator of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

ragged-tooth shark, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa

©Two Oceans Aquarium

Every care is taken to ensure that the sharks are happy and that they settle in to life at the aquarium seamlessly. Fortunately, ragged-tooth sharks are very tolerant of aquarium life – this is important to note as their well-being is of utmost importance!

releasing a ragged-tooth shark, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa

©Two Oceans Aquarium

As there are nine new raggies in the aquarium, here are nine fun facts about these awesome sharks:

♦ The ragged-tooth shark has other names elsewhere in the world: in Australia it’s the grey nurse shark, and in the USA the sand tiger shark.

♦ Like any other shark, raggies have a cartilaginous skeleton – their skeletons are made up entirely or mainly of cartilage, not bone – and can grow to about 3,2 metres in length.

♦ Raggies stay buoyant in the water by surfacing to take great gulps of air into their stomachs.

♦ They prefer shallow water which makes them easier to spot when snorkeling or diving.

♦ Raggies can look quite sinister with their beady eyes, hump-backed appearance and needle-like teeth, but they are in fact docile, slow-moving creatures, and are quite easygoing around humans.

ragged-tooth shark, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa

©Clare Townsend

♦ Raggies are ovoviviparous. This means that the embryo hatches from the egg within the shark, where it feeds off its own yolk sac until it is big enough to be born.

♦ Baby raggies are called pups, and an adult female usually gives birth to one or two pups after a gestation period of about a nine to twelve months.

♦ As soon as the baby raggies are born they become independent from their mother.

♦ Raggies are threatened around the world and are highly vulnerable to over-fishing.

ragged-tooth sharks, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town, South Africa

©Two Oceans Aquarium

Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium and witness the serene beauty of these marine marvels.

By signing up for a free MySchool card and selecting The Two Oceans Aquarium as one of your beneficiaries you will be helping to raise funds for their educational outreach programme. A programme that brings underprivileged children to the aquarium where they can learn more about the ocean and be inspired to appreciate and conserve the many creatures that live there under the sea.

Get your free card here

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