Nurse Shark Facts for Kids

Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) is a bottom-dwelling shark. It has robust, smooth body surface with gray-to-brown color. The tail fins of these sharks have unique shape. Nurse sharks dwell up to maximum 130 meters in depth. Its scientific name is a blend of Greek and Latin words. ‘Ginglymostoma’ is a Greek word which means ‘hinged mouth’ and ‘cirratum’ is a Latin term that signifies ‘curled ringlets’. They are harmless, solitary creatures that hunt at night.

The size of a nurse shark can range from 7.5 to 9.75 feet and weighs around 200 to 330 pounds. However, the maximum size of a nurse shark ever recorded ranges up to 10.1 feet. At birth, the size of a pup is 30 centimeters in length.

Nurse shark has a lifespan of up to 25 years.

Female shark gets mature at a length of 7.5 feet. It reproduces pups after every two years. Mating season occurs between June and July.

The litter size of nurse sharks is from 21 to 30 pups.

It is a warm-water fish that likes to swim in shallow water. It usually prefers to stay near the sea floor. Off eastern Atlantic, it is present all the way from Cape Verde to Gabon. Off western Atlantic, it is found in southern Brazil, the U.S. and Rhode Island. Off eastern Pacific, it is found all the way to Peru starting from Gulf of California.

Nurse shark likes to feed on stingrays, krill, crabs, squid, octopus, shrimp and other invertebrate organisms.

Due to its docile nature, nurse shark often becomes prey to spear fishing by humans.

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