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Sharks have lived in our oceans for more than 420 million years! That makes them older than trees!

  • SEA LIFE, Shark Walk

Their brains have evolved to become more intelligent and devoted to their senses – mainly their ability to smell. There are over 500 species of shark in our oceans and you’ll meet lots of them when you explore our Pacific Shipwreck!

SEA LIFE Trust is actively working with the Shark Trust to campaign against unsustainable shark fishing in EU waters. SEA LIFE is also proud to be coordinating the European Black Tip Reef Shark breeding programme.

Sand Tiger Shark

Sand Tiger Sharks look ferocious with a mouth full of pointy teeth, but our divers regularly jump in with them because they aren't dangerous to humans. They are, however, voracious predators of small fish, crustaceans and squid, feeding mostly at night and close to the ocean floor.

Sand Tiger Shark
Sand Tiger Shark

Sand Tiger Shark has a very unique and curious habit.

They come up to the surface of the water to gulp air and hold it in their stomachs. Sharks are naturally negatively buoyant which means they sink if they stop swimming. Holding air in their tummy like a balloon enables Sand Tigers to float motionless in the water without sinking. So they can silently drift up close to their prey and quickly snatch it in their jaws.

They can grow to be over 3 metres long and are found in warm or temperate waters throughout the world’s ocean, with the exception of the Eastern Pacific.

Nurse Shark

To spot a Nurse Shark, look for the shark with the funny moustache! These dangley bits on their top lip are actually useful things called barbels. Barbels are covered in taste buds and are very sensitive, helping the Nurse Shark to find food hidden in the sandy seabed.

Nurse Shark 2
Nurse Shark

Most sharks must keep moving to breathe

That's because they need water to flow over their gills. However, Nurse Sharks can stop swimming and rest because they can pump water through their mouths and gills while they're sitting still.

In the ocean Nurse Sharks can gather in groups of up to 40. They hide together under submerged ledges around coral reefs, often piled up on top of each other. At night, they become more active and venture out on their own to prey on sea snails, crustaceans, molluscs and other small fish.

In our amazing ‘Pacific Shipwreck’, you can see these amazing creatures in action.

We have four Nurse Sharks. Their names are Ashley, Belle, Lady Grey and Dean. Belle is the biggest and Dean is the smallest.

Black Tip Reef Shark

We love our Black Tip Reef Sharks. They’re jaw-some! With the prominent black markings on their fins, they are easy to spot.

Found on the tropical coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Blacktip Reef Sharks prefer shallow, inshore waters.

Black Tip Shark
Black Tip Reef Shark

These sharks are viviparous

They give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. In the first few years of their life young Black Tip Reef Sharks often fall prey to larger fish such as groupers, Grey Reef Sharks, Tiger Sharks or even bigger Blacktip Reef Sharks. Juvenile Black Tips often use mangroves as a nursery ground; Hiding amongst the tightly woven roots where bigger Sharks can't reach them.

Lesser Spotted Dogfish

It might surprise you to see that Dogfish are actually a type of shark. The Lesser Spotted Dogfish is one of the most abundant Shark species in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Rarely growing any longer than 80cm in length, these cute little sharks are opportunistic predators which feed on a wide range of shellfish and crustaceans.

Lesser Spotted Dogfish
Dogfish Babies

They are also known as Rock Salmon

Fish & chips shops often sell this species of Dogfish under the name Rock Salmon. Another small species of shark, the Spiny Dogfish, has been overfished for its use in Rock Salmon and is now Critically Endangered as a result.

Sharks do not cope with commercial fishing pressure as they reproduce too slowly, so we highly recommend that you avoid Rock Salmon or any Shark if you spot it on a menu.

Bite Back Shark & Marine Conservation

Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation

SEA LIFE London is proud to sponsor Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation and their fight to make the UK shark-fin free!

Find out more