CURATOR HELPS DELIVER BABY TROPICAL SHARK

A curator at Bristol Aquarium has helped deliver a baby shark from its protective egg-case.

The bamboo shark egg was spotted in the aquarium’s giant 160,000-litre tropical ocean display and removed to protect it from the unwanted attentions of other sharks.

It was then placed in a separate display and kept under observation. However aquarists became concerned when they could not see any signs of movement within the egg and decided to act.

“Usually the egg-cases of bamboo sharks are relatively thin and transparent so you can see the developing shark wriggling inside,” said Bristol Aquarium curator Dan de Castro.

“However in this case the membrane was much thicker and very dark so we cleaned the egg and although we could see the baby shark inside it did not appear to be moving.

“I was worried the developing shark would not be able to break through the thick egg-case and so I very carefully created a small hole at the top so I could see what was inside.

“Luckily the shark was pretty much fully developed inside the egg, all the yolk had gone and he looked eady to hatch out. We gently enlarged the hole to allow the shark to emerge and he is now being looked after in our quarantine area.

“Now the plan is for us to grow him on before one day returning him to the main display one he is fully grown. He’s already catching worms and other food!

“We’ve spotted a number of other egg-cases in the main tank and we’ll be collecting them as they develop over the coming days and weeks,” he added.

Found throughout the Indo-Pacific bamboo sharks usually live around coral reefs and tidepools. They pose no threat to humans and only reach a maximum of a metre in length when fully grown.

Although born with dark bands across their bodies these will gradually fade as they mature and adults are usually a light brown colour.

Bamboo sharks actually prefer shallow waters, however they regularly become stranded in rockpools during low tide. To combat this they have the ability to survive for periods of time out of water.

Issued by Bristol Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews, picture or filming opportunities please contact David Waines or Tina Patel on 0117 934 0944 or Dan de Castro or Juan Iraola on 0117 935 0943.