FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Katie Smith
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Welcomes a New Sand Tiger Shark!
Guests Can Now Visit "Smooth" at the Gulf of Mexico Exhibit
(New Orleans, La.)- Audubon Aquarium of the Americas welcomes "Smooth," our newest resident to the Gulf of Mexico exhibit. The large sand tiger shark weighs more than 200 lbs and measures at 7 feet nine inches. Guests are marveling at the incredible size and smooth gracefulness of the newest member to the Audubon family.
Sand tiger sharks are the largest species of shark displayed at Audubon Aquarium. "Smooth" arrived on September 14, 2011 from the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, SC and is the largest of three other sand tiger sharks on exhibit.
"Smooth is a welcomed addition to the Aquarium," said Richard Toth, the Assistant Director of Husbandry at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. "He is doing great in his new home and we are very excited to have a shark of his size in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit."
Fun Facts about "Smooth" the New Sand Tiger Shark:
Often called "raggies" or "ragged toothed sharks" due to their toothy grin sand tiger sharks are found worldwide in temperate waters, and are a favorite among divers along the Eastern seaboard of the United States. These sharks are heavy-bodied and display a mouthful of sharp teeth that protrude in all directions, even when their mouths are shut. They are grey-brown in color, and typically have spots along their sides. These spots can vary in number by individual, and may fade as the shark gets older. Sand tigers can reach up to 250 lbs in the wild.
In the wild, sand tiger sharks have a tendency to stay close to the shoreline, near the surf zone. This can be rather intimating for surfers and swimmers. Despite this, they are typically docile, non-aggressive animals. They occasionally hunt in groups, and have even been known to attack full fishing nets. Their diet consists mainly of small fish, small sharks, rays, squid, and occasionally invertebrates. Sand tigers have been known to gulp air from the surface and store the air in their stomachs in order to float motionless in the water and wait for prey.
Sand tigers, and all other sharks, do not have a swim bladder like most bony fish to maintain their buoyancy. Because they don't have a swim bladder, sharks have a large liver that makes up about 25% of their body weight.
The sand tiger shark is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List and is a candidate species for the U.S. Endangered Species list. Although sand tiger populations are considered widespread, they have one of the lowest reproduction rates of all sharks, giving birth to one or two large pups every two years. They are also susceptible to minimal population pressure. For this reason, it is listed as vulnerable and is protected in much of its range.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Tickets to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas are $19.95 for adults, $12.95 for children and $15.95 for seniors. Admission is always free for Audubon Nature Institute members. Advanced tickets are recommended and can be purchased by visiting AudubonInstitute.org or at any Audubon Nature Institute attractions. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located at 1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.