Sand Tiger Shark
Sand Tiger Sharks – or Carcharias taurus - look ferocious! And they are! They are voracious predators, feeding mostly at night and close to the ocean floor. They can grow to be over 9 feet long.
But don’t worry. Their diet consists only of small fish, Crustaceans and Squid. They are found in warm or temperate waters throughout the world’s oceans, with the exception of the Eastern Pacific.
The Sand Tiger Shark has one curious habit. They are the only shark we know of that comes up to the surface of the water and takes gulps of air, which they hold in their stomach. This clever trick enables them to achieve neutral buoyancy and float motionless in the water, waiting for prey.
X is a male Sand Tiger Shark who came to the Aquarium (Underwater Adventures at the time) in September of 2005 from Port Judith, Rhode Island. He was collected by a research team from the Maritime Aquarium who found him starving to death in the wild. The research team nursed him back to health, but considered him unfit to survive in the wild.
From the moment X arrived at the Aquarium, many physical oddities were apparent: his body was unusually small, his head was exceptionally large, and he had puffy gill slits. The Aquarium’s vet performed a series of tests to determine the causes of these irregularities, but X appeared to be healthy.
The mystery of X’s “unknown” abnormalities: small size, large head, and puffy gills, earned him the reputation as the Aquarium’s “X-factor”, and eventually the name "X" for short. To this day, there have not been any concrete conclusions as to what causes his strange appearance. Even with his odd aesthetics, X continues to thrive in SEA LIFE Minnesota’s Atlantis exhibit!