A Rare Sighting!
This week on our Southern Lights tour, Eco-Host Heath and his guests got to hang out with this usually elusive Whitsunday resident! Unlike more well-known sharks, the bamboo shark is a small, slow-moving bottom dweller. Their common name is “longtail carpet shark,” and for a good reason. They have extremely long tails which are longer than the length of the rest of their body.
Bamboo sharks eat other invertebrates and small fish that live in the warm, shallow waters they enjoy. They only grow to about 37 inches (1m) and are harmless to humans. In fact, they are sometimes targeted for the aquarium trade.
In the wild, bamboo sharks mainly feed at night. Like their bodies, their teeth are also small and are used for grasping or crushing softer prey. For eating harder-shelled prey, their teeth can literally pivot backwards! This helps to protect the tips of the teeth and provides a continuous hard and flat surface to crunch on crab or clam shells.
- Bamboo sharks lay eggs that are usually about 5 inches long.
- They often live in coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean.
- They can have up to 67 teeth.
- Bamboo sharks, like most sharks, have electroreceptors on their snouts that help them locate prey that is buried in sand or mud.
- Bamboo sharks also have spiracles, which are openings behind the eyes that help them take in oxygenated water.
- Their fins are thin and not very muscular and are mostly used for propping themselves up in the sand.