Zebra Shark Basic Facts:
Size: 8.2ft (2.5m)
Weight: 45-65lbs (20-30kg)
Life Span: 25-30 Years
Group name: School or shoal
Zebra Shark Photos:
Photography from iStockphoto & Our friends at Thailand Diving Company
Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a type of carpet shark. They are called the zebra shark because when they are young they stripes on their bodies that look similar to the zebra’s stripes. As these sharks become adults, their skin becomes more spotted and are often called a Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata). Zebra sharks are omnivorous animals and are fond of eating small fish, crabs, shrimps, and other small invertebrates. These sharks are hunted by larger species like Tiger Sharks and people who chase them for animal protein, fish oil, and fishmeal.
Zebra sharks have a flattened body shape and a long tail fin. Adults reach a length of 6.6ft to 11.5ft (2-3.5m) and weight between 45 to 65 pounds (20-30kg). They have a great ability to breathe easily while resting on the sea floor. Zebra sharks are oviparous (female produces eggs) sharks. The females usually produce up to 5 purple to brown egg cases at a time. They usually produce this after every four months. The eggs are fixated onto rocks until they hatch. Zebra sharks love the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific oceans and are found at sandy flats near these areas. Bottom-dwelling in nature, the zebra shark is found at a depth of 200ft (62m) over the continental and insular shelves. Adults are frequently found near the coral reefs, rubble and sandy areas. Most Zebra sharks are found in the continents of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Zebra sharks can live up to 15 to 20 years in captivity, while they can survive for more than thirty years in the wild.
Fun Facts About Zebra Sharks:
- The long tail of zebra shark allows it to be more agile in the water. This allows them to swim quickly and catch their prey and run from their hunters.
- Zebra shark is Black, Brown, Grey in color. The dark color allows them to hide from their prey and predators.
- As zebra sharks have intense patterns, they are included in the group of carpet sharks, as the patterns on a zebra shark look like the designs of a carpet.
- They have tail fins on their body that are able to grow as long as their body.
- Zebra Sharks accommodate quickly to captive conditions and can be seen in aquariums due to their attractive appearance. However, these sharks overgrow home aquariums if they are kept.
- Unlike other sharks in the sea, Zebra sharks only bite if they are angered or annoyed. Otherwise they are innocent creatures.
- Zebra sharks have become habitual of being touched and fed by people. They are gaining interest from tourists who usually include them in their travel destinations.
- The mouth and teeth of Zebra sharks are designed for crushing through the exoskeletons and other shells of their prey. Still they are not considered a violent shark.
- Zebra Sharks are classified as vulnerable animals in the red listof IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).