ALERT: Peak crowds are expected this weekend for Dollar Days. Tickets are not available online for 12/7 or 12/8.VIEW EVENT DETAILSabout Dollar Days

Sandbar Shark Pup Born at National Aquarium!

by Holly Bourbon, Curator of Fishes

Published May 30, 2013

We have some exciting news coming from the National Aquarium fishes department - a female sandbar shark pup was recently born to the two adult sandbars in our Shark Alley: Atlantic Predators exhibit!

sandbar shark pup

This is the first pup our female sandbar has had since coming to the Aquarium in 2003!

After the birth was initially observed by staff, the pup was moved behind-the-scenes for immediate veterinary care and further observation.

Baby shark during transport to behind-the-scenes area.

Baby shark during transport to behind-the-scenes area.

Did you know the majority of shark species (including sandbars) give birth to live young?

Female sandbars are known to have a range of 1 to 14 pups throughout their lifetime. This species reaches sexual maturity at around 16 years of age (or later) and their average gestational period is about 12 months. Females also have what’s known as a “biennial reproductive cycle,” meaning they reproduce every other year.

At this time, our Animal Care and Animal Health teams are working closely to monitor the baby shark's health and eating patterns. We hope to increase the pup's overall intake in the next few weeks. Currently, the shark pup only weighs about 4.6 pounds and is only 26 inches in length! Adult sandbar sharks can weigh up to 200 pounds and reach up to 7.5 feet in length.

While the birth of this shark pup is very exciting, we are cautiously optimistic as shark pups have a low survival rate. Our priority is to give the animal the best care possible and consult with partner institutions that have successfully reproduced this species.

Stay tuned for more updates on our shark pup! 

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

Animal Update: Baby Mertens' Water Monitor

Published August 29, 2014

Animal Update - August 1

Published August 01, 2014