The sand tiger shark pups hatch from their eggs within the mother’s body. They are already close to three feet in length when they are born and swim freely.
Where at the Zoo
Where in the World
What They Eat
Where They Live
What They Do
How They’re Doing
The shark tank was constructed in 1996 and holds approximately 200,000 gallons of salt water. Its purpose is to hold large sharks. It is a rough oval shape, 60 feet wide and 30 feet front to back. The front viewing is elevated off the bottom to a 12 foot depth, while the rear portion is deeper at approximately 16 feet. The front half of the viewing area represents a Caribbean tropical reef.
In the past, sand tiger sharks were hunted for food, leather and oil. They are still occasionally hunted for food or sport, particularly in Japanese coastal areas. Some sand tiger sharks become trapped in mesh used to fence off swimming areas and protect beachgoers from other sharks. Many more are caught each year as bycatch, meaning they are unintentionally harvested along with more desirable fish. Sand tiger sharks were given protection in 1984 in New South Wales, and later by the Commonwealth of Australia. These subpopulations of sand tiger sharks are in dramatic decline. In 1997 the sand tigers that live along the Atlantic coast of North America received protection, too.
The Minnesota Zoo is a member of a breeding group set up under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) guidelines that assists in cooperative efforts to gather information and formulate a plan for captive breeding of sand tiger sharks. The goal of this plan is to have a breeding population in aquariums so that the collection of wild caught sharks for display is reduced.