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Cue the Goofy Song: Baby Sharks Coming to N. Oregon Coast Facility

Published 07/25/21 at 6:45 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Cue the Goofy Song: Baby Sharks Coming to N. Oregon Coast Facility

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(Seaside, Oregon) – Soon, you will actually get to sing “Baby shark, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo” for real on the north Oregon coast. Well, not exactly soon, but in about a year. (Photos courtesy Seaside Aquarium / Tiffany Boothe)

That's when Seaside Aquarium will, perhaps, have a couple of baby sharks, if all goes well. The attraction recently happily declared its “sweet, female Swell shark laid eggs.”

It was just near the end of Shark Week when the aquarium's Tiffany Boothe made the gleeful announcement.

“Swell sharks are bottom-dwelling sharks,” she said. “Females lay two green/amber colored egg casings. There is only one embryo per egg casing. A single yolk sack supplies the embryo with nutrients while it develops. It will be about 12 months before they are ready to hatch.”

She said Swell sharks are in a large family of different types of sharks, with around 160 species in 17 genera (the plural of genus).

“They are all bottom feeders and are not harmful to humans,” she said.

Swell sharks have a lot of remarkable aspects, including the fact some are bioluminescent – meaning they glow in the dark. This is created by a biochemical reaction, not a chemical reaction, so using the term phosphorescence would be incorrect.

This particular brand of Swell sharks off the Oregon coast get 32 to 43 inches long and live some 20 to 35 years, Boothe said.

Normally, they live at a depth of 120 feet up to 16 feet, but have been found as far down as 1,500 feet. At these seafloor regions, they mostly dwell in boulder and rock reef areas with lots of kelp around. There, they live on scarfing down fish – dead or alive – as well as small crustaceans.

Swell sharks feed at night and are not seen doing so during the day. When a meal is within range, you'll see them suck the morsel into their large mouths, often just lying around on the sandy bottom, lazily waiting for lunch or dinner to wander past them.

They are not known for being good swimmers: they tend to be deep ocean couch potatoes and are rather sedentary. During daylight, the Swell shark hides in crevices or holes of some kind, and often are found stacked on top of each other as they lounge around.

It may be as soon as nine months we'll see the shark pups at the north Oregon coast's Seaside Aquarium. That's right, baby sharks are known as pups – not quite as inanely catchy when sung that way. When they hatch, they are an average of six inches and ready to be independent, appearing with tooth-like scales as they first emerge.

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Below: great white in Oregon coast waters, courtesy Tradewinds Charters

Below: shark tank at Oregon Coast Aquarium (courtesy photo)


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