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Zebra Shark

Zebra Shark

Quick Facts

Genus: Stegostoma fasciatum

Location: Inshore waters of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans

The Scoop

The Scoop:

A Rare and Magnificent Sea Creature

With a leather tan complexion and jet black spots covering its body, the Zebra shark is a magnificent sea creature. Seeing a Zebra shark is rare as they are nocturnal and are now labeled as endangered. During the day they are often found lazily resting on the ocean reef floor. When night falls however, they will be up and at ‘em hunting for mollusks, crustaceans and even some small boney fish. The Zebra shark will squirm its way into cracks and crevices to find its prey.

Zebra sharks are small in comparison to some other sharks like the Great White shark, Tiger shark or Whale shark but still grow up to be quite large. Zebra sharks can reach lengths of up to 7.7 feet long; that’s the same as two 7-year-old boys! These sharks live anywhere between 25 and 30 years in the wild.

Zebra sharks have a unique way of mating: A male shark will bite on the female’s pectoral fin to try and gain her attention. (Ouch!) Zebra sharks will lay around four eggs at a time and can lay many more over the entire gestation period. These eggs are much different than other sea creatures. Each egg has fibrous hairs that keep the eggs attached to the ocean floor for over six months!

Because this species is endangered, Zebra sharks are not allowed to be hunted in many areas of the world. It is important that if you happen to see one of these sharks you do not disturb them and observe them from a distance so that this magnificent animal can continue to amaze.

Quick Facts:

  • Zebra sharks reach their maturity stage at 5.6 feet long.
  • Zebra sharks are harmless to humans and are often seen in aquariums.
  • Baby Zebra sharks have stripes which turn to spots when they reach adulthood.

Other facts:

  • A baby Zebra shark can measure up to 12 inches long at birth.
  • Zebra sharks like to live around 200 feet below sea level!
  • The Zebra shark is often mistaken for the Leopard shark because of the markings on its back although the spots are slightly different.

Resource pages

https://www.sportdiver.com/7-fun-facts-about-zebra-sharks#page-2

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/41878/0

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/fish/discover/species-profiles/stegostoma-fasciatum

https://oceana.org/marine-life/sharks-rays/zebra-shark