A SUPERVISOR got an egg-cellent surprise when a baby shark hatched in to his hands.
Kico Iraola, displays supervisor at Weymouth’s Sea Life park, was carrying out a routine check on egg cases when a banded bamboo shark made its arrival yesterday.
Adult banded bamboo sharks in the park’s ‘Shark Reef’ lay eggs very often, so when aquarists carry out regular tank cleans, they collect up all the eggs and the fertile ones are placed in a tank in the ‘Nursery Pod’ on clips near the surface until they hatch.
The egg cases are regularly checked by the Animal Care Team who shine a torch from behind the egg case to check that the embryos are developing healthily.
Kico said: “It was a great moment, it’s quite rare that a creature will release itself into your hands so I definitely felt special. We have three egg cases at the moment which contain banded bamboo sharks and we are awaiting the hatching of them in a matter of days.
“In the wild, creatures within egg cases will hatch when they are fully developed, and depending on temperature they will take more or less time to develop; then they will be left to fend for themselves.
“But ours are very much looked after at the park and we look forward to nurturing them into fully-grown adults.”
Banded bamboo sharks are classified as ‘Near Threatened’ on the International Union Conservation for Nature ‘red list’ and threats to them include habitat loss, pollution and hunting.
These sharks will typically stay in their egg cases for up to six months, but when they are born is very dependent on their environment.
Water temperature and quality will affect whether or not the shark is ready to hatch.
Shark eggs and hatchlings are cared for in the Shark Reef, the Bay of Rays and the Nursery Pod display areas.
Empty egg-cases, or ‘mermaid’s purses,’ are a favourite prop of the park’s entertainers during the talks they give visitors at feeding times.