Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!

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Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

ANIMAL UPDATES
FISHES

Bonnethead Shark

Sphyrna tiburo

ON EXHIBIT:  Gulf of Mexico in Ocean Journey

Bonnethead Shark

FUN FACTS

Sharks are often considered the most efficient predators in the sea. They have extremely developed pectoral fins that allow greater stability and maneuverability when catching fast-moving prey. Most sharks swim continuously. Because they lack swim bladders, sharks sink to the bottom when they stop swimming. Sharks breathe by extracting oxygen from seawater as it passes over their gills; if they stop swimming, the water circulation needed for respiration would cease, resulting in suffocation. Other sharks, like the nurse shark and blacktip reef shark, are capable of pumping water over their gills as they rest on the ocean bottom.


CONSERVATION
The Bonnethead Shark is a very abundant species, with early age at maturity, short lifespan and generation time, and high litter size and population growth rates, capable of withstanding much higher removal levels than many other species of sharks. It is thus considered to be of lesser risk because of its life history and population characteristics.  Bonnethead sharks are considered a species of lesser concern with the IUCN redlist.  




Fan Photo

Bonnethead shark
Photo by gypsygirl_photography

About This Animal

SIZE: 5 ft (1.5 m)

RANGE: Western Atlantic Ocean

HABITAT: Bays and estuaries

DIET:  Feeds chiefly on crabs, shrimp, and other crustaceans