WATCHING NURSE SHARKS: BE PATIENT…
I last took a look at nurse sharks nearly 3 years ago HERE. Time to revisit these creatures. Indeed, time for a close-up look. If you want to know more about this fascinating species, just click the link above.
The two strange items hanging down from the upper lip are sensory barbels
This side-view shows the shark’s relatively small mouth (for a shark anyway)
Admire the extraordinary texture of the the skin; and the tiny evil eye. Click or – better – double click on the image and you will see that the skin is in fact tessellated, made up of a mosaic of tiny squares and near-squares**
This one is a baby nurse shark
A juvenile nurse shark with a couple of grunts. Note the youngster’s paddle-like fin
Head, mouth, jaws and teeth
SO, THEY ARE SHARKS – ARE THESE GUYS DANGEROUS?
Not really, no. They aren’t looking to pick a fight; and they are not as territorially aggressive as the ‘bitey’ sharks are (or can be). These slow-moving bottom-dwellers are generally harmless to humans. However, they can be huge—up to 4 metres —and have very strong jaws filled with thousands of tiny, serrated teeth. They will bite defensively if stepped on or bothered by divers who assume they’re docile. [As I said previously, “there are recorded instances of injuries caused to divers who have tried to pull nurse sharks by the tail. And serve them right, I say. Treat them with patience and respect!”]
M.C. ESCHER (the inspiration for Mr Hammer) was the master of tessellation in art. Click the link to explore the dedicated website. Maybe, sensationally, one day a shark will be found with skin like this… (Alert reader: “Actually, I think it most unlikely…”)
Credits: field photos by Melinda Riger, Grand Bahama Scuba; Wiki for the 4 mouth images & the Escher
Treat all wildlife with respect…
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