North Carolina

Unusual striped baby shark hatches at Tennessee aquarium during Shark Week

Meet a baby epaulette shark

A baby epaulette shark that hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium this week swims around a plastic tub.
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A baby epaulette shark that hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium this week swims around a plastic tub.

A baby shark hatched at an aquarium in Tennessee, but it’s not like the ones off the coast of North Carolina.

The baby epaulette shark hatched “sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning” at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, making her debut at “the height of Shark Week frenzy,” according to the aquarium.

The striped shark was only a few inches long when it hatched, the aquarium said.

But you won’t see sharks like her off the coast of the Carolinas.

Epaulette sharks are found in the Pacific Ocean around New Guinea and northern Australia and are often found in shallow water coral reefs, according to the Florida Museum.

While babies are striped for camouflage, adults have spots, the museum said.

The species is small and slender with a short snout and has round, “paddle-like” fins that allow it to move in a “walking-type motion,” the Florida Museum said.

The species is nicknamed “the walking shark” and the baby at the aquarium has already started “living up” to this name by “walking” and “gliding” around its tank, the aquarium said.

Females lay about two eggs every two weeks, and the aquarium currently has six adult epaulette sharks, one of which laid the egg that hatched this week in early spring, the aquarium said.

The aquarium has been successful in raising epaulette sharks, it said.

“Epaulette sharks are way cool,” Senior Aquarist Kyle McPheeters said, according to the aquarium. “They’re what got me excited about raising baby sharks to begin with. It’s nice to have one again, and we’ll be able to send it to another aquarium pretty easily when it’s older.”

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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