The Black Tip Reef Shark

Description:
The nurse shark is an ocean bottom dweller, and it hardly ever attacks the human unless it’s provoked. The nurse shark has whiskers coming from the bottom jaw, like a catfish, and these are to help the shark sense it’s surrounding. The nurse shark has gills, just like all other sharks, but the 4th and 5th gill slits are very close to each other. The nurse shark’s skin is a dark grayish/brown color and, when young, they have lighter brown spots on their body, but some older nurse sharks keep their spots. Unlike most other sharks, the nurse shark has rather smooth feeling skin. Other sharks in the ocean have sharp feeling skin, and can cut the human flesh.

Size:
The nurse shark can reach up to 14 feet in length. The average size for a nurse shark is between 2 and 13 feet in length, but has also been found up to 14 feet in length.

Teeth:
The teeth on a nurse shark kind of look like a crown when flipped upside down. They are designed to tear flesh from their prey. The nurse shark has thousands of teeth in its mouth, and when the nurse shark looses a tooth, it will replace it with a new tooth in the same spot. The nurse shark has a never ending supply of teeth in its mouth.

Diet:
The nurse shark usually hunts for its prey during the night time. The nurse shark’s diet includes: octopus, bottom dwelling fish, eels, rays, coral, sea snail, lobster, crab, shrimp, and sea urchins. The whiskers found on the bottom jaw of a nurse shark help it by sensing where to locate it’s prey, this really helps it when it hunts at night.

Habitat:
The nurse shark can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Pacific Ocean. They’re generally in warm shallow waters where it’s sandy and muddy. Since they’re bottom dwellers, the nurse shark will almost always be found lying around at the bottom of a coral reef. Even thought he nurse shark can be seen during the day, they’re usually out more during night time.

Life span:
The nurse shark can live to be 35 years of age. They are classified adults when they reach 10 to 20 years of age.

Babies:
The female nurse shark gives live birth, which means that the pups are born out of their eggs. The baby nurse sharks are called, pups. The nurse shark pup eats scrapes of fish or other marine animals that their parents have eaten. As the pup starts to mature, it must learn to fend for itself. The pup’s parents will begin leaving it by itself and allowing it to wonder away to find its own food. The female nurse shark can give birth to 20-30 pups at a time. The nurse shark pup will leave its parents in a couple months, depending on how fast it matures.

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