Here Today, Wobbegong Tomorrow

This Fish Uses Camouflage to Survive

A vicious shark, the wobbegong lives around coral reefs, under piers, in sandy bays, and in warm, tropical waters of the Pacific near Australia. This “carpet shark”, as it is sometimes called, gets its name from the aboriginal people of Costal Australia.

The wobbegong camouflages itself so well that it often looks like seaweed as it moves through the water looking for tasty prey. Although it is not a fast hunter, the wobbegong's sharp teeth are specialized for biting through slippery skin. This creature pushes its wide jaws out from its skull to snatch fish from the water and eats them whole. When this malicious hunter grabs onto its prey, it does not let go. Some divers and bathers have even received the wobbegong’s wrath when teasing the shark, thinking it is lazy and harmless.

To move from one place to another, the wobbegong uses its large side fins to crawl along the ocean floor. Pieces of skin that hang from its head help it blend in with its coral-encrusted surroundings. Being very flexible, the wobbegong can easily bite its own tail.

Consuming mostly fish, squid, mollusks, and crustaceans, the wobbegong stands as a fearsome predator at nearly 12 feet. Depending on its needle-like teeth to both defend and feed itself, this shark can live up to 25 years.

[Source: Sharks and other Creatures of the Deep]

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