Are land sharks real?
As for sharks, the epaulette shark is a rather remarkable animal with a life expectancy of 20-25 years. They are creamy brown in color with dark brown spots covering the dorsal side of the body. Growing to sizes ranging from 27 to 35 inches in length, they reach a maximum length of 42 inches. The caudal peduncle is more than half the length of the shark. Twenty-six to thirty-five teeth in the upper jaw and twenty-one to thirty-two in the lower jaw.
They are thinner and flatter than deep ones, which gives them more area to contact objects on the ground. They can be found on the northern shores of Australia, along the shores of Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.
One of the most fascinating features of the Epaulette shark is the ability to walk on land.
Epaulette Sharks: a shark that can walk on land!
If you are like me, the vision I get from this idea is an upright shark using its tail fins for a kind of walking, like a woman in a long tight dress making her walk with shuffling movements. It’s not like that at all.
When a shark “walks” occurs when it is unintentionally stranded on land, usually due to receding tide. The water is too shallow or not at all for the shark to swim into deeper waters. They have the unique ability to use their pectoral and pelvic fins as legs and feet. The movement resembles the gait of a salamander.
It’s a slow process, but the ability to use fins in this way gives them the ability to get to safety. Another question that comes to mind is breathing. Fish out of water usually do not last long. A shark with an epaulette can also slow breathing, consuming very little oxygen for a full hour. Without water for that hour, they do not experience any lasting effects.
Epaulette sharks are bottom feeders that prefer areas of sandy and coral reefs for food. Nocturnal animals, they often feed during the daytime, and dusk and dawn are their favorite hours. Invertebrates are the preferred food, but juveniles usually choose polychaete worms, and adults prefer crabs. Bone fish and shrimp are the favorites of sharks of all ages, and they will eat other foods if any.
The shark usually does not sink below 50 m, preferring to spend more time in warm, shallow waters with a sandy bottom. People have often observed this food to hunt sharks in water bodies. Unlike other sharks, the Epaulette shark sometimes chews food, moving it back and forth in its mouth until the shark is ready to swallow it.
You can see a video of the epaulette shark walking overland in the embedded PBS YouTube video below.
Epaulet Shark Size: Sexual maturity is measured by length.
Female epaulette sharks reach a mature age of 25.2 inches and males about 23.6 inches. They reproduce by laying eggs, but fertilization is internal. By producing two eggs in one nest, the female can produce up to 50 eggs per year. The male will grab onto the female’s pectoral fin to stabilize her during mating.
Once the eggs are in the water, the egg will become entangled in structures at the bottom of shallow water in coral and rocky areas. Full pregnancy takes about 120 days, but may vary depending on water temperature. Once the egg is left on the reef, the parent sharks do not return to care for the eggs or hatched newborn cubs. Puppies are about 5.9 inches long at birth.
Watching for predators, this shark will find places on coral reefs, under ledges and in other small places to hide. When they hide around corals, they only need to cover their heads. They will also sunbathe on open or sandy reefs facing the current so they can watch for predators. Their coloration helps to disguise them from predators.
Predators are larger fish, sharks, or groupers. People do not pursue these sharks as they are of little value as a food source and catching them is not a problem. This is a common shark that can be kept in aquariums.