Shark Facts

Shark Facts

by Alina Smith

Sharks are fascinating creatures. Here are some interesting facts about two of my favorite sharks: Nurse Sharks and Zebra Sharks.

Nurse Sharks

They are part of the Ginglymostomatidae family, moving along the seafloor with two rounded dorsal fins. These sharks are also referred to as “Sleeper Sharks”.

Location: Eastern Pacific, Western Atlantic, and Eastern Atlantic. Commonly found in these tropical and subtropical waters.


  • Female Nurse Sharks average between 7.5-9 feet and are slightly larger than males\
  • Adult Nurse Sharks have a light/dark brown color
  • Newborn Nurse Sharks have spotted colors
  • Nurse Sharks mouth are filled with rows of saw-like teeth that are small

Lifespan: Nurse Sharks are estimated to live up to 24 years

Grey Nurse Shark Facts:

Grey Nurse Shark
  • Grey Nurse Sharks are located in Australia, North America, South America, South Africa, and Japan
  • They can grow up to 3.2 meters and weigh as much as 230 kilograms
  • Baby Grey Nurse Sharks spend around 9 months developing in their mother’s uterus; basically similar to human babies
  • Their diet consists of mainly lobster, crab, squid, or fish
  • In the wild, these sharks can live up to 30 years
  • Grey Nurse Sharks are also known as “Sand Tiger Sharks”
  • Grey Nurse Sharks are not very aggressive and are calmer than people think

Tawny Nurse Shark Facts:

Tawny Nurse Shark
  • Tawny Sharks are between 1.3 to 2 feet in length at birth
  • Adult Tawny Sharks are around 8.2 to 10.5 feet
  • They are commonly found in tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean, South Africa, Australia, and other areas including the Red Sea
  • Tawny Nurse Sharks are nocturnal and usually look for prey at night
  • Tawny Sharks are unfortunately vulnerable due to heavy fishing

Zebra Sharks

Zebra Shark

Their scientific name is Stegostoma Tigrinum, and they are very commonly confused with a Leopard Shark.

Location: Western Pacific Ocean, Japan, Australia, Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea


  • Zebra Sharks have rounded and sandy-colored bodies
  • Zebra Sharks also have whisker-like organs called barbels in front of their snout
  • Adult Zebra Sharks grow up 9 to 12 feet
  • Juveniles are born with dark brown and white stripes which resembles a zebra
  • The stripes they develop fade over time and turn into leopard-like spots which they keep into adulthood
  • Their stripes as baby Zebra Sharks are good defense mechanisms because they make other creatures and predators think they are poisonous
  • This species of shark is nocturnal
  • Zebra sharks don’t have to keep swimming to breathe unlike other shark species
  • Zebra Sharks’ diets usually consist of mollusks and crustaceans; they are mostly known to eat small fish
  • Zebra Sharks have very flexible bodies which allows them to squeeze through tight crevices to find invertebrates to eat
  • Zebra Sharks are endangered mostly because of people overfishing