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Atlantic Sharpnose Sharks
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|Atlantic Sharpnose sharks are a
small coastal species ranging the east coast of North America from NC to Florida.
They are also found in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana.
They have an interesting migratory pattern that brings them into NC and SC for the pupping season. Unlike the other migrations of sharks running North to South, Sharpnose Sharks migrate East. They head straight offshore and winter in the Gulf Stream. When the waters of South Carolina and Cape Fear warm up, thousands of them fill the near shore waters. They can tolerate very hot water (over 86 degrees F). This allows them to fatten up on easy prey during the summer months near shore before the long winter offshore.
They are voracious pups feeding on fish larger than themselves. This is probably due to their need to reach critical size in three months to increase survival. They do not attack humans despite their constant close proximity to swimmers. What people do not know is that this species is all around them at the beach. However, we have not had a report of a sharpnose bite ever.
They are a fast and strong species for their size. Sharpnose top out around 3 feet and stay a slender light weight. Their teeth are small and slightly hooked allowing for excellent cutting. They have an exaggerated head shake during feeding as they employ their small teeth to saw through thick prey. Pups will take on bites as thick as their own heads, sawing doggedly through the flesh of the prey. They will hang on until they successful cut out a huge chunk to swallow. At times, I will catch a fish with a cookie cutter bite taken out of him that healed up after a sharpnose pup attack.
Sharpnose can be kept in captivity even from newborn size. They do not outgrow aquariums due to their small size. They can cohabitate with other small coastals and even large species of sharks. I have kept them with all small coastals as well as Sandbars. They are fun to feed. Due to their large number of pups in each litter and low fishing pressure, Atlantic Sharpnose are here to stay and excellent as a species for display.